Like anyone else, I’m a seeker of many things. Health, happiness, fulfillment. I’ve spent the bulk of my life devoted to fitness, nutrition, and consistent personal growth. I’m a do-er. I’ve been known to assess my productivity and judge my value accordingly. It’s nothing to be proud about. But I am a goal setter and list checker. Type-A workaholic. Control freak. Wife and mom of four. I have high expectations and standards of perfection for myself and others. I wish not only to have it all, but to do it all masterfully . . . career and home and family.
In 2010, I started practicing hot yoga. I came to yoga for the physical practice, seeking strength, flexibility, balance, and symmetry. What I discovered was something much more profound.
I noticed significant energetic shifts. I noticed that the more I practiced, the more I wanted to practice. I noticed that I started to fall apart when I didn’t make time to practice. What was happening? Why did I feel so different every time I walked out of the studio? Why did I exit class feeling not only physically transformed, but more emotionally and mentally equipped to deal with many of the “issues” I went to the studio to escape?
I was fascinated. And hooked. And so, I began studying yoga, the eight limbs, and yoga philosophy. It blew my mind. There were so many avenues to pursue that I entered teacher training in 2016 purely to find structure for my learning. A few days into training I had learned so much and yet, I was astounded by what was left to uncover. It was the beginning of a devotion to this pursuit. As a result of this learning, I started living with a deeper awakening that brought less self-judgment and more joy, satisfaction, and gratitude. The journey toward finding a better “workout” became a journey towards my “work-in”. And the journey continues . . .
I’m on a long, winding path of training, study, practice, and self-examination. I’ve learned many lessons. Namely, that “better” doesn’t mean to constantly push harder and faster. The reality is we cannot have hard without soft, fast without slow, yang without yin. Burnout is real. I had a few hard life lessons which ultimately brought about a hard look at the truth . . . most of my stress was self-inflicted. We all have to give ourselves space to regenerate. Consider the physical practice of yoga asana on the mat. We discover when to push and when to pull back. Both are necessary to evolve. Push too hard on the mat and injury is inevitable. Push too hard in life and something will eventually have to give (stress induced health issues, emotional wellness, etc.). Softness isn’t weakness . . . it’s a necessity.
Shorter version: A 5,000-year-old tradition has deepened my understanding of myself and my place in the world. It has given me tools to deal with what life throws at me. I’ve found more compassion for myself and others. I’ve discovered ways to loosen my grip and let go. As a result, I’ve found less stress and more contentment. It has softened me.
I went to teacher training with no intention of teaching yoga. I had a full-time career and I still do. I teach to share the power of yoga, to offer these tools to others, and to inspire individuals to tap into the body’s inner wisdom to obtain optimum wellness and peak performance.