After a decade of yoga practice and teaching, I am still astounded by all of the links yoga ties together.
The unlimited amount of learning and discovery you can have from understanding yogic techniques like asana (postures or poses), pranayama (breath practices) and relaxation techniques like yoga nidra, restorative yoga, and the beginning techniques of mindfulness meditation can keep one learning for a lifetime.
I truly found the benefits of yoga in my mid-twenties after incurring a horrible break-up with a man who turned out to be a complete stranger to me in my life. I remember weeping deep sobs from the depths of my heart in child’s pose, and just staying there, talking myself into staying there for almost an hour. In that hour I felt the release I needed from my heart, received the rest of the asana, and felt the back of my heart soften as I was able to connect to a deep sense of self I had been trying so hard not to listen to. It was the first time I understood what a release or an emotional letting go was.
I realized then what I needed to do to save myself and preserve some self-respect. At the time, I was still in my party years, so I would co-mingle my yoga practices, readings and short meditation practice with long nights of going out, eating too much too late and sleeping in too late. But I found that the more I practiced asana, the more I craved that existence in my body, and the less I wanted to make time and space for things I knew that were not serving me anymore.
Asana opened the doors to so many possibilities. Not only were the postures beautiful, they were making me very strong, have incredible endurance, and sustained health and vigor in my body. I have never been an active person. I like to walk, hike, bike moderately and swim, but hard core working out, running or anything that made me sweat was never my thing. Yoga practice, though, connected me to my body instead of having me run away from it all the time. I had a very superficial mind of what I thought I should look like, and since I didn’t look that way, I sort of would avoid anything I had to do with my body.
Yoga connected me and built the bridge to my nutrition, to my health and to my overall consciousness of how I choose to live on this earth.
I went from a meat and potatoes eating adolescent, to becoming vegetarian when I chose to research the actual ethics behind it at 14 years old. I was a junk food vegetarian for a long time since I lacked the awareness of things like Organics and GMO’s…but through yoga I found out so much about the benefits of CLEAN eating that it changed my whole food awareness to now a diet of clean, organic, vegan foods, with very little sugar and white flour. Not just for me, but for my whole family. I am passing my knowledge down to my kids and anyone around me, which is this cause / effect response that yoga has. You can’t help but spread the love you are receiving from your practice.
It is important to know that yoga is not just a physical body awareness practice, it is an all awareness practice that comes with time, effort and self-awareness. The physical postures, asanas, are just the doorway into the experience. You start by learning to connect with the body, which helps you free your mind and expand who you really are and want to be. How? I can’t tell you, because each person’s journey is different.
I would love to hear about your journey, as you are an inspiration to so many.
Feel free to write to me or post your comments below, as you never know who may start this practice because of your experience!