I am a yoga teacher. It's time for me to reflect on my journey with yoga. Where was I when I began? Where am I now?
I was a stressed out music student--worried about my weight, worried about my grades, worried about my future. I knew of yoga because my parents practiced yoga when I was growing up. My parents taught me that religious and spiritual are two different things. Sometimes they overlap.
I started singing at a loving and progressive Presbyterian Church in Burnsville, MN when I was 6 years old. In high school, I remember my Pastor telling me that I was in the process of finding my voice. I didn't realize that the process of finding my voice was the same journey as finding my faith. My parents taught me that there is more than one way to believe.
If you know me, you know that I made a vow at a very young age to be a singer. When I went to college, I was excited to finally take only music classes. I didn't understand at that time that music is everywhere and that it is important to be well-rounded. Luckily the Conservatory I went to was also a liberal arts university. In a class that all freshmen were required to take, I had the opportunity to learn about life. We learned from philosophers, composers, playwrights, artists, scientists...It really opened my eyes to life. Not to school, grocery shopping, work, or civilization--life. I started to think about the kind of person I'd like to be. I didn't understand at the time that my faith journey was unfolding.
I found yoga. What a relief it was. I remember pigeon pose and feeling anxiety increase in my hips and heart, and then breathing through it and feeling a release. I remember analyzing the chords of the yoga music as I went through the music theory course. I remember practicing loving my changing body. I remember developing my personal yoga practice. It always felt like more than a work-out but I never really understood why. I began to dream of being a yoga teacher but it always felt like a different life, an alternate reality. Where did yoga fit in the script of my life? What was yoga for me?
Yoga was my spiritual center.
In 2016 I got accepted into a yoga teacher training program. It turned my world upside down and allowed it to double in size. I learned that yoga wasn't just asana (poses) but a way to live. I began to not only practice asana but to practice meditation and breathing. I began a daily practice of Ayurvedic and yogic lifestyle changes. Since my training, I have continued to deepen my personal practice of meditation, growth, and have made profound life choices.
I believe yoga is life, not just exercise. Yoga is breath. Yoga is singing. Yoga is believing in something greater than myself. Yoga is listening to my body, listening to my soul, and living in faith. Judith Lasater's book "Living your yoga: finding the spiritual in every day life" is a book that carries me along. What if we can live the yogic principles we practice on the mat? What if we can live the life we want? What if my life has no limitations? What if I really can live out my dreams? What if my dreams change?
This feels really radical to say. I believe in angels. I believe in the divine.
I believe that there is no wrong way to believe.
I am a yoga instructor. I guide hearts to integrate the body with the breath, the body, mind, and spirit as one. I believe we are all connected in love.
Yoga is life
Yoga is love
It's time for me to make another vow.
No matter the season, the studio, or the pose, I vow to be me.