The first time I stepped onto a yoga mat felt like going home. Practicing yoga is the most natural thing I have ever done. I have never felt more connected, grounded, or balanced in my life than when I am on my yoga mat. My journey began merely for physical reasons. I never imagined how similar the practice of yoga would be to the challenges of our daily lives. Discovering the flow of our breath, mind, and body in yoga is no different than trying to find an even flow within our lives. When we find a sense of evenness within our breath, we will find greater ease within our lives!
Yoga continuously teaches me the importance of listening to our bodies. When we take the time to listen to our bodies, we begin to develop physical and mental awareness. This awareness allows us to treat ourselves and others with patience and kindness. Through my yoga practice, I found patience that I did not know I had. The physical postures (Asanas) became an awakening for my soul. I realized that looking beyond "how far can I stretch" or "what difficult postures can I hold," taught me to accept the true benefits of my practice. Physically there are times I feel there is an inner voice that is whispering "slow down, treat yourself with care." But I know this voice is not just referring to the yoga postures I am practicing on my mat. There are times when this same thought should be applied to our daily routines. In today's society, we are constantly pushing ourselves and racing around attempting to fit so many things into one moment. We must remind ourselves to slow down and breathe! When we let go of our expectations, we allow ourselves to enjoy the journey. We can do this if we learn to remain present on and off of our mats!
I am truly grateful for the experience of teaching yoga! It has changed my life beyond anything I can explain. I learn about myself (as a Teacher, Student, and Human Being) from my students every time I teach. I love and appreciate the energy and connection I receive from my students in every class!
For several years, I have suffered from a Chronic Illness. Initially, it turned my world upside down! I took some time off of my Yoga Practice in hopes of giving myself time to heal. I soon realized that I was struggling more without my Yoga. When I returned to my Practice, I noticed it changed me both Physically and Mentally. My first reaction was to be angry that my body had betrayed me and let me down. Why was I so easily fatigued? It made no sense that someone that had prided herself in "staying fit" from a very young age would suddenly be struggling so much? Once I let that Idea go, I began to recognize a deeper side of my yoga practice. Suddenly I was feeling everything I had studied as a teacher. It's so easy to tell your students how to feel in Yoga, in life, but when you actually have to live out those ideas, it's a whole different story!
This has only strengthened me as a teacher and a student. It provided me with a whole new level of compassion to give to both my students and myself. I have become very Passionate about sharing this experience with others that suffer from similar illnesses, whether it be Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, Parkinson's, Cancer, or Endometriosis. Yoga can be a sanctuary for our bodies and our minds. Let go of the pictures of yoga poses we see in books and magazines. Go beyond that! Let the focus be to use our breath to relax our bodies and minds, and to create poses that feel good for us (using props/not) to increase mobility, strength, & balance.