By Treven Treece
"Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self." –The Bhagavad Gita
I have never done yoga. I recall doing yoga-like stretches for athletics, but I never
made the time to fully commit to trying yoga. I have always admired yogis and their
enlightening quotes. My friends would say that yoga was hard and that it was more
stressful than peaceful, but when I finally tried it recently, I experienced quite
I worked as an intern for the Rec Center this past semester. During the first few days, my supervisor, Laurie, and I discussed how wonderful yoga is. She has loved yoga for a few years and we talked about how yoga is all about mindfulness and being at peace with yourself. I am a huge fan of mindfulness and inner peace. As the semester continued, she asked me to join her. I would always find myself to be too busy to do so, but I promised her that once the semester ended, I would try it, and I recently did.
My Aha Moment
When I walked into the group fitness room, I noticed how calm everyone was. There
was an abundance of positive energy that saturated the room. The music that Steve
(Black), our instructor, played was mesmerizing. The more I focused, the more I began
to see the beauty in yoga. We started off doing basic stretching and positions. After
some time, the movements became significantly more difficult. At one point, I was
standing on one leg with my right arm wrapped around my back. I was attempting to
grab my left foot. I did not grab it. We then transitioned to the opposite side. I
was hesitant to try this again. I was feeling like I was defeated before I began.
Then Steve said, "What do you have to lose?" I was inspired and determined to try
once more. Again, I was unsuccessful. But it was in that moment that I found inner
All of my life I have struggled with being a perfectionist. I have been held to extremely high standards since adolescence. I have always gone above and beyond in everything I have strived to do. My family, friends, and community pushed me to be the best I could be. Sometimes it is too much. It is as if I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I realize that perfection is not attainable, but I desire it. I want to be perceived as a man with no faults--a man of both immense intellect and strength. However, despite my attempts to maintain a perfect image and perception, I fail. But I am thankful for mistakes and failure. They are inevitable. It is not about how many times we fall; it is about how many times we can get up and keep going. Steve let me know that it is alright to mess up. It is alright to stumble and fall. However, do not let your failures determine your destiny. Take risks, get up, and keep moving forward. In my moment of vulnerability, I found peace.
Overall, I had an incredible experience at my first yoga class! I found that peace begins within. When we take some time to slow down and live in the moment, it can be life-altering. I still have much growing to do, but I am thankful for where I am today. I am grateful that Laurie never stopped asking me to join her. If you have never done yoga before, I recommend that you try it. It does not matter whether you are flexible or stiff. I challenge you to open your mind. Embrace the opportunity to learn something about yourself. Yoga is truly the journey of the self. Namaste.
Treven graduated from The University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies degree. He is now serving in the U.S. Army. At the time this was written, he was serving as a Marketing Intern at The UofM Campus Recreation Department.