Autumn 1986, my neighbor invited me to go with her to a yoga class. I'd heard of yoga but it wasn't the household word it's become today, at least not yet in that neck of the woods. By the end of that first class I knew I'd found what I didn't even know I'd been searching for. I had no idea at the time where yoga would lead me, or even the notion that it would, I only knew I wanted more.
Although yoga compelled me, I was the busy mother of three children, the youngest a tiny nursing babe. I'd signed up for a ten week yoga session but leaving my baby for a couple of hours, even in the capable hands of her father, proved too stressful for me so I dropped out of class. I practiced on my own at home from books, as much as I could. Once my daughter was weaned, I dove headlong into yoga. My appetite for it was voracious. I still pretty much eat, breathe, and sleep it.
Yoga was challenging and confusing, it showed me where weakness and pain existed in my body, but it was fun. I liked the way it felt, the way it made me feel, and I loved the people I was meeting through it. Like true love, the longer we are with it the deeper it goes, and in the beginning I fell simply and hopelessly in love with yoga.
I got an inkling in May 1997 that there was something tucked away, hidden in my body. My friend and I, both busy mothers of three, decided to treat ourselves to a yoga retreat, in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, for the Mothers Day weekend, away from our children. The retreat was, after all, called Mothering Yourself.
I'd learned, as an adult, of the childhood sexual abuse that two of my five siblings had suffered at the hands of our father. One came out of the closet, so to speak, in the hospital after a suicide attempt, and I found out about the other shortly after. One got help. The other succeeded in committing suicide at the age of thirty-six. I don't know if this is normal but I remember an awful lot of trips to the emergency ward so that one child or another could have their stomach pumped after ingesting pills from the medicine chest, or fluid from under some sink. They were never called suicide attempts, and maybe they weren't, but whatever they were they were commonplace in my house.
The possibility that I had been sexually abused as a child existed, but I had no knowledge of it. In fact, I felt guilty, believing that I had somehow escaped a fate so obviously devastating to my siblings