I can still remember my very first yoga class nearly 15 years ago. I was a giggly high school sophomore who thought yoga was reserved for old people and hippies. I was on the varsity swim team and dreaded our early morning swim workouts more than anything – and not because of the workout but because I hated having wet hair for the majority of my day. First they made us wake up before 5:30 am and then expected us to get ready in less than an hour — um, hello – how would we ever blow dry our hair in time for school! It all seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.
Needless to say, I was beyond excited when our coach announced that our Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts would be yoga instead of swimming – I didn’t know anything about yoga (or really care) but I knew that it meant I would be inside and WARM and wouldn’t have to go through my whole day with damp, messy hair (heaven forbid!!).
My first yoga class started with breathing exercises which I thought were completely silly. When the instructor told us to inhale and exhale using our belly – like really stick it out – I didn’t want to. I mean, what if one of the senior guys saw my belly totally sticking out??! Like, OMG, totally uncool. I think I giggled and goofed off during the entire 15 minutes of breathing and warm-up postures. I remember thinking it was ridiculous and hilarious that we were practicing breathing. Why would anyone need to practice breathing? I knew how to breathe. Everyone knows how to breathe. Duh. Once we moved into the asana practice which was very light (more of a yin yoga style), I thought it was the perfect time to demonstrate my amazing flexibility. I had danced most of my life and just loved showing off. Posture after posture, I muscled my way into the most advanced variation possible and practically held my breath the whole way through. Little did I know, I was doing the majority of the postures incorrectly and by holding my breath, I wasn’t truly doing yoga.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I really started to love yoga. After returning from my year abroad in Italy fatter and more out of shape than I had ever been in my life, I started practicing Bikram pretty religiously. Once I got comfortable with Bikram, I ventured out and started trying all different kinds of yoga – usually finding the biggest connection with Vinyasa Flow and Bhakti Flow practices.
Over the last couple of years, yoga has become an even bigger part of my life. My practice has evolved from being about achieving to being able to let go. I finally got over beating myself up over a “bad posture” or a lackluster class and have learned to be ok with where I am. With a new understanding and respect for myself and my practice, I decided it was time to take the next step in my yoga journey and signed up for a 16 day, 200 hour teacher training program at Yandara Yoga Institute in Todos Santos. And I have to admit that in that 16 day program I learned more about yoga, my body and myself than I have in nearly 15 years of practicing – I can only imagine where I will go from here!
I am excited to begin the third phase of my yoga journey. Teacher trained. Certified. In love with my body and my practice. And ready to help share my love for yoga with others.