Ahlo lovely! Thanks for sharing your time with me. Let’s get groovy in this moment and take advantage of how every moment of experience is an opportunity for an adventure.
Each experience, each moment, contains an abundance of potential molecules, all full of potential outcome~ what a beautiful reality!
So no matter what you’re doing, if you’re in bed, at work, outside, taking a crap– or leaving it– Share a moment here with me.
Inhale. Hold it for 5… (three, two one) Exhale.
4 (three, two, one) Exhale.
3 (three, two, one) Exhale.
2 (three, two, one) Exhale.
1 (three, two, one)
Exhale. Sigh it out. Ahhhh. (Or scream, if that’s how your feelin’)
Now take three regulars breaths, on your own.
Now motorboat your lips, three times.
And why not go ahead and say to yourself, “I’m fucking awesome!”
Yoga Share: One
I am so happy you are here. Once again, I appreciate you sharing your time with me. As I have recently been deepening my sovereign yoga practice, I felt called to share my journey yoga with this community. In this post I share a look into recent past, reflect on my teenage years and ideologies, and speak to where I am currently in my journey. Enjoy!~
But first… How are you? Seriously, I want to hear from you. Head over to my contact page and send me a note. Feel free to tell me anything or share any advice for my page as it continues to grow and bloom.
I wanted to write my yoga story somewhere…
that I could continuously share it. I think it’s always interesting to learn how someone got started and why they kept it going.
Growing up I was a consistent athlete. It’s funny because my older brother played a few sports too, but, when it was my turn I just wanted to give every sport I could a whirl until I found the right fit. Thank goodness for my Dad who ran me all over town for ball (softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball… I even golfed)!
Needless to say, when I went to college I decided to go for academics not sports, and I ended up a little lost.
When you’re used to being on a team, conditioning your body, being active… and then it just goes away… you can only imagine the frustrations I felt.
But I worked out. I enjoyed lifting and running, and eventually gave the club volleyball team some effort.
It was my second year of University I started practicing yoga.
And not until two years later that I went to numerous classes.
I started in my solo-dorm room as an RA. I was deep into working out and lifting, which was making me sore. So, I said why not try some yoga!
I can remember the first attempts of doing a wheel pose with a single leg lifted…
If I could tell that girl anything I would say; don’t give up, because this is going to change your life.
My first big yoga class experience was hot yoga…
Crazy, right? Just go all in if you’re going to go. It was also in a studio where you could take class and pay what you wanted/had to pay forward… so it was packed full with men and women covered in sweat droplets.
Before that I had practiced mindfulness and intentional movement at free yoga classes on campus. Then my roommate invited me to hot yoga…
There were various moments in that class I felt I was crying… I also was not knowledgable about breathing techniques and was worn out much more quickly than those around me.
It really hit me when I walked out of the studio and felt the overwhelming feelings of release and contentment, joy. The cooler Asheville air on my hot body… it was exhilarating. And I would say one of the defining moments of my appreciation and love for the physical practice of yoga.
That feeling is what became a familiar friend… and as I’m typing this my eyes are swelling with water remembering that this is what passion and love ~feel~ like.
I didn’t develop a practice for years
I started stretching in my dorm in 2014… I went to hot yoga in 2017… and by 2018 I was grabbing a diploma and doing yoga when I felt like it.
There is no judgement I carry for myself or others in saying that a practice may be just that… “doing yoga when I feel like it”
But when you decided to devote yourself to doing yoga more often than not, it doesn’t feel right to not do yoga.
The start of 2020 was difficult…
for everyone, in some magnitude. But, especially for me and my family… on January 5 my father’s life on earth ended.
It was a Sunday and I had worked earlier in the morning. I got off work, and rolled my mat out in my electric blue bedroom. Sue was being Sue. My boyfriend at the time was cooking dinner and waiting for me to come over after my practice.
I was in the middle of a yoga practice when my phone started to go off.
And then I was no longer focused on yoga, but on what the hell was going on three-hours down the mountain.
This experience hurt
It was paralyzing to have a connection of my yoga practice to something so traumatic, unexpected, and life altering.
And it stayed like that for a little while.
Then I met this guy…
Which I guess a lot of stories include a line like that, so if you’re not giggling a little bit, that’s your loss (laughing is good for everyone)!
Zach was in a van traveling from the coast of NC, exploring Asheville and had completed his 200 YTT in the area. He was reading books about yoga, practicing himself, and looking for opportunities to get experience teaching.
Zach sharing his love and dedication to yoga woke me back up. I was nervous to begin practicing again, but I did it anyway.
My roommate and I did yoga with him once in the Botanical Gardens, and that seems to be the point in which I downloaded that this was an important practice to maintain for me.
I continued stretching my body, and then felt called to stretch my mind, too.
I chose to invest in myself and study 200hrs of Hatha yoga online through Yoga Renew. While I do wish I had the experience of obtaining my 200hrs through a hands-on, in-person class, I am excited and grateful that I have learned so much that I now get to share in practice with others. I am also eager to continue my learning. I am currently enrolled in 20 hours of Yin studies, which I have so far deeply appreciated.
But there’s so much more to yoga…
What most people don’t realize is that yoga is not just the poses in a sequenced class at a yoga studio.
If I have just blown your mind, hang tight it gets better.
Quick history in bullet form:
- Yoga started in Northern India over 5,000 years ago (some researchers believe it may have been even over 10,000 years ago)!
- The word “Yoga” meaning “to yoke” was first mentioned in the sacred text of the Rig Veda which contained songs, mantras, and meditations to be used by mystic seers.
- Pantanjali’s Yoga-Sutras was the first ordered presentation of yoga. This documentation provided the path of Raja Yoga, or classical yoga, and depicted the 8 Fold Path.
- 8 Fold Path:
- Yama; moral rules of behaviors from which one should abstain- injury to others, untruthfulness, stealing, lack of sexual control, and covetousness
- Niyama; spiritual qualities and conduct to be cultivated- purity of body and mind, contentment in all situations, self-discipline, self-study, and devotion to God & guru
- Asana; right posture (this is the physical limb of yoga)!
- Pranayama; control of prana (breath), and subtle energies in the body
- Pratyahara; withdrawal of the senses from external objects
- Dharana; focused concentration
- Dhyana; meditation- complete and uninterrupted stillness and quietness
- Samadhi; transcendence of Self and interconnectedness with the Universe- ultimate enlightenment, a state of ecstasy. Centuries after Patanjali’s Sutras, people started to expand and explore other practices of body-mind connections. This is when Tantra Yoga was born, which paved the way for Hatha Yoga (the yoga style we primary know in the West)
- 8 Fold Path:
- In 1947, Indra Devi opened a yoga studio in Hollywood which is what begin the popularization of yoga in America!
Yoga is much, much more than just poses…
When I began making this connection, I started inner-standing how my practice was a way of life.
There are many times when I shower and don’t think twice about it. I get in, get wet… do the routine of cleaning my hair, body, face…
But what if we slow down and add some of the 8 Limb Path concepts to a shower… like focusing on one thing at a time, and purifying our bodies and minds by using water to cleanse? Maybe all while maintaining a breathing rhythm that invokes calming in the body and mind?
One of my favorite forms of mediation is washing the dishes.
Do you see how yoga provides a structure of living that can help you show up as your best self, learn from yourself, spread love easily to others, and maintain a healthy body?
Meditation doesn’t require a thoughtless mind…
This is another myth that I was hesitant as I began studying and deeper my practice.
One of my sweet roommates after college told me she enjoyed yoga for the physical practice and stretching aspects but wasn’t good at the meditating part.
This is a common trend with humans. I mean come on, we live in a society that constantly asks us to do more and be more. We are consistently bombarded with advertisements. Most of us are intensely plugged in on social media more often than not. All of these things take up space in the mind, but also are energy exchanges that can effect the body.
Meditation is so cool once you get into it and gain a personal understanding of your mind and body connection.
The thing is, our brains are firing nonstop. That is how our bodies maintain themselves- your heart beating, breathing, reflexes, knowing when to use the bathroom, hunger… the list goes on.
But when we meditate the goal isn’t to turn off all the thoughts and firing… the goal is to observe and then go back to focus on the breath.
You see, when you start meditating and then a thought arises, let’s just say about what you need to do later in the day. That’s okay. Acknowledge that it is there, and then return to the focus you have on breath, or maybe a mantra. Every time you do that, you are rewiring your brain and helping yourself in the long-run to handle high intensity situations with a sense of calm.
The breath is the life force. Without breath, we are not alive. So when we bring focus to the breath, we are acknowledging life itself and cultivating a more content and powerful feeling of living, or better, being alive.
“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” – T.K.V. Desikachar
I feel that this quote above embodies the true reason I have a profound love and appreciation for yoga.
While success has often been a focus of mine, failure has always come with difficulty. Call it my perfectionism, or whatever childhood trauma wound I may have… but this is such a special and sweet reality. Yoga as a practice does not have a finish line, or a “end game” totality. The benefits and successes of yoga are seen in the way we show up for ourselves and others.
When we move into stillness, we are given an opportunity to experience who we truly are.
“The very heart of yoga practice is abhyasa- steady effort in the direction you want to go.” – Saily Kempton
What direction do you desire to go?
Are you standing in your own way of getting there? I often find myself realizing that that is my truth, and my practice has time and time again helped me to break away from that and head in that direction.
Thank you for taking time to read my story. I hope it inspires you to get on a yoga mat, or practice some breathing. If you are interested in learning more or have questions, please reach out!
Also shout out to Zach who is now teaching yoga on a weekly basis, sharing his practice with humans of all ages, and inspiring others to take care of their mind, body, and soul.