People seek yoga for many reasons: joint issues, lower back pain, depression, anxiety, or perhaps to increase strength, improve balance, coordination and flexibility. However, I sought yoga for a far more profound reason: to find purpose in my life and rediscover myself. If we engaged in a very intimate conversation, I would tell you that I sought yoga to save myself.
Before I came to the practice, I was drowning in a combination of self-condemnation and hopelessness. I knew I had the power to create my life, but I didn’t know how. Self-help books and books written by what we would call ‘spiritual masters’ gave me hope, but it wasn’t until I began to actively take action–moving from the power of the thought to the power of action–that my life began to change. I can’t explain how yoga transforms a life; it just happens. If one becomes vulnerable to the practice, yoga will transform the physical body, crack open the heart, and expand awareness. To sum it up: yoga has taught me to accept myself. Acceptance creates the energy for allowance, and through allowance, there is freedom.
Yoga is like a black salve. It draws out the darkness–exposing our shadows and our physical and emotional pains–so the light can shine brighter, and healing can occur. It’s a beautiful journey and one I yearn for others to experience, and like all journeys, it takes time to change our programming: those habits of thinking and doing and our patterns of response.
We all want to be at the finish line. We all want to live in a state of joy, unconditional love, and peace. The problem is we resist the experience of what many call ‘the struggle,’ but what I have learned to call ‘opportunity.’ Physical and emotional pains want to be experienced and deeply felt so they can move through. This knowledge teaches me that the only way to the ‘finish line’ is through–not over, under, or around.
And so I say to you: come as you are. Every day is a different day on the mat, and that’s what makes it a journey. Without darkness, we would not understand light. Without sadness, how could we possibly fully comprehend the essence of joy? We are here in this dimension to experience, and I find yoga provides the gift of helping us connect with our bodies, our emotions, and our timeless and limitless essence.
As far as my credentials, I earned a 200-hour yoga Certification from Jivan Yoga in 2012. I began teaching immediately in both studio and community settings. Having suffered many injuries during and prior to my certification, I wondered if I was making a mistake in my pursuit. I realized, somewhere mid-way through the 10-month training, that my injuries were a blessing because they taught me the vital importance of not only alignment in a pose but how my ego can very much get in the way of my practice. So, when you come to one of my classes, I invite you to ask for what you need, tell me how you’re feeling, and always honor your inner voice.
Off the mat, I am pursuing a literary career.
In closing, I wish you love and light, joy, peace, and freedom.