I am Nicole Marie Story, and my passion is yoga. Yoga is my dance. My art. My health. And over the past two years, I lost it. This blog is my 2014 Dear Diary to document the quest. I am Finding My Yoga… again!

Preceded by many years of dance training, yoga entered my life in 2009. It took me to another place. Choreographing movement with breath, yoga awakened my every tissue, my every cell. I felt so alive. Peaceful, even. Nothing else did this for me. Challenged me. Hooked me. I was absolutely positively in love. The pose which sealed the deal on that first class? Sun dial. The twisting. The extending. The memories of ballet school. Now existed the days of pouring my soul, my sweat, and my heart onto the yoga mat. And this existed as such for the next two-and-a-half years.

Yoga became my dance.

But my dance became labourious at year three, each day involving the addendum of one sun salutation to each set of Ashtanga A and B, including my personal creation of C involving Warrior II. Scared of losing my dance, I pushed my body beyond healthy limits.

Imagine jumping from mountain to dog, flowing to a strong plank to chaturanga, to upward dog, to plank, to push-up, flowing to downward dog with headstand variations, arm balances, knee touching elbows, legs flying, side angles, yada yada yada Cirque du Soleil in between. It consumed three hours to accomplish my daily requirement of sun salutation. My life was asana.

Additionally, I was kicked out of two yoga schools. One because I refused to meditate on command. The other because I posted yoga videos to the Internet. I lost my yoga friends. I was obsessed with keeping up my practice. My body. And one day? I just laid on the mat and stopped.

Stopped teaching. Practicing. Learning. And breathing. The physical problems related to quitting were surface level. My knees. My back. My feet. But below the surface? My heart ached because I wouldn’t go back when I needed it.

I wouldn’t go back to Yoga because I was now FAT.

I needed to get thin first.

As I look back on this distressful situation, I feel like I should have swallowed my pride, putting myself into the room again. I tried, really, I did. Attending a few practices with Yoga Bob, the handsome yoga master of Pittsburgh, I just couldn’t find my groove. Most likely, it was because hiding my fat was more important than finding my ujjayi pranayama. Fighting for 90 minutes could not be my yoga. It could not be my beautiful dance. So I quit.

And now I am back. Forever! Yoga must exist in my life. I am healthiest with Yoga. And this time around, I want Yoga to be more than physical. Yoga makes my heart sing, and sing it shall in 2014. This is my resolution. And I share it with you. To hold me accountable. And to perhaps inspire anyone who has ever lost something magnificent.

I am Finding My Yoga… again. Will you join me?