I originally tried yoga as an exercise regimen…
My personal journey with yoga started in a superstore when I was 19 years old.
I was in college full-time,
in an abusive, long-term relationship,
and my home life was challenging.
I was stressed and directionless. I was not taking care of myself.
I had heard so much about how great yoga was, but I didn’t know where to start.
(This was right before the era of infinite online yoga videos.)
So as I browsed the fitness section of a superstore at 19, I noticed Jillian Michaels’ “Yoga Meltdown” DVD and felt drawn to give it a shot.
This DVD was physically intense, especially with how out-of-shape I was. But I liked the challenge and I enjoyed the new ways in which I was moving my body.
Jillian threw in small bits and pieces on yogic philosophy which showed respect to yoga’s roots, all the while catering to her audience: regular, modern people who want to be fit. Jillian guided me through the poses in a beginner-friendly way. She reminded me to breathe. She also kicked my ass. I still hear her sass echo in my ears when I’m holding an asana for longer than I’d like:
“Get 👏 comfortable 👏 with 👏 being 👏 uncomfortable!👏”
That DVD, which barely even scraped the surface of what yoga entails, began my love affair with this wonderful, mystical, ancient practice.
At 20, I gained access to free yoga classes through my university. And I took advantage. I attended various types of yoga classes 1-3 times a week. I convinced friends, and even my dad, to go with me and try yoga. I was compelled to share my newfound Uncomfortable Bliss.
Vinyasa yoga, Yin yoga, Kundalini yoga, Hot yoga. I tried whatever the gym offered. Looking back, I see my yoga practice was the main thing keeping me sane during that taxing period of my life.
Before I started these classes, I lived only in my head, overanalyzing the past, present, and future nonstop. I was disconnected from my body and my intuition. I struggled to understand who I was and what I wanted. My breathing was shallow. I was separate from Source energy and out of touch with my own power.
Then, like a flower unfolding its petals ever so slowly over those 2 years of free classes, I began to connect with myself. I became acutely aware of my whole body and the life force energy in my breath. I felt physically stronger and gained a little confidence. I made healthier food and drink choices. I prioritized exercise. I even dumped the abusive boyfriend.
And Shavasana by Shavasana, I came closer and closer to feeling connected to a greater unifying Source…
It was yoga that opened a door for me to walk through into spirituality. From there, I casually took an interest in Buddhism, and found even more inner peace and self-acceptance from the abundance of this ancient belief system — much of which derives from yogic roots.
The benefits to my mental, physical, and spiritual health stayed with me long after I graduated and didn’t have access to free classes anymore. I continued my practice at home, using the abundance of videos available online. But time and time again, I recall things my instructors did and said that, to this day, guide me in my practice and my teaching.
Yoga benefits the mind, body, and spirit. Though I am now honored to be able to teach, I shall forever remain a student.
Everyone possesses the potential to evolve through yoga in unique ways. This is why I am so keen to share yoga, ensuring others practice safely, with self-love and self-acceptance.
I originally tried yoga as an exercise regimen,
and I ended up more mentally, physically, and spiritually evolved.
Thank you so much for reading my story.
With love & gratitude,
❤️ Comment below: How did you discover yoga?