“Why do you love yoga?” The answers are varied, often moving and always unique. Here is Christy’s response. We thank her for opening up her heart and sharing what lives inside with all of us. We feel SO grateful to provide a space where students can learn, grow, mourn, heal, and learn to love all over again on their mats. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

I am one of the lucky few who can look back on my first love with the purest form of respect and a warm heart. Even after breaking up we remained close friends, kindred spirits I suppose. Through every milestone in our lives, we were at each other’s side; even if the rules of geography said otherwise.

Six months ago I was stopped in my tracks by my most heartbreaking milestone to date. It came to me as a simple phone call. As I heard the words, from my firs love’s fathers broken voice, I knew I was in the middle of one of those defining moments we all experience. “Christy,” Russ stops, trying not to cry “Christy, Sky was killed last night in Afghanistan. “ Even typing those words makes my fingers go numb.

Sky loved me. This much I’ve always known to be true. But it wasn’t until the events that were to follow that I came to realize, he had never stopped loving me. And now, I find myself at a loss for words both eloquent and valiant enough not only to describe the type of man that SSGT Mote was, but the kind of love that my high school sweet heart Skybo embodied.

A month later my Grandpa Al would pass away. Followed five months later by my Aunt Cheri. How can I describe the unrelenting pain I carried with me in my heart, in every breath, in every tear I was simply too heartbroken to shed. Or maybe I was too angry to cry. I was riddled with guilt with the knowledge that Sky died loving me so truly, while I had wasted my own on my affinity for “bad boys”. Chalk it up to the callow of youth. Guilt ridden, I would replay his last request of me before he left, “Promise me you won’t date anymore assholes. You deserve the guy from the Notebook.” And with this he stole a kiss, our last kiss, and drove off with his signature smile on his face and The Cure blasting on his trucks stereo.

However there was one place I felt at peace. And that was LEAP. I could accept, I could cry, I could embrace my intense vulnerability. While my entire family seemed to be falling apart around me, I felt myself growing into the resilient, altruistic, motivated woman Sky always said he knew me to be. I felt love in the midst of death. And it was at LEAP that a smile returned to me, for I came to the realization that Sky and I were still by each other’s side with every milestone we reached, even if the rules of geography said otherwise.

I am an extrovert who is innately shy. So, the next time you see me (the girl who wears the dog tag on her wrist) give you an awkward, quick smile, know that is me saying “Thank You” for being my most reliable source of support.

Christy Perisho

Christy Perisho