I took my 1st yoga class over 20 years ago, but only in the past few years have I started to embrace the mental, emotional and spiritual side of the practice.
When I found myself suffering from immune issues, an imbalance between work and life, as well as questioning my purpose, I turned to yoga. What was once a purely physical practice evolved into a means to stay sane. It offered an escape from my stresses in managing a full time career with a busy home life with 2 small children.
As my yoga practice developed into a daily practice I sensed greater presence in my life. At the same time, I became acutely aware that I was never, and never had been, truly in the moment. I was always thinking ahead to what needed to be done or concerned about what I had done not being good enough. I noticed that yoga gave me perspective; the daily practice gave me space to look inside and an opportunity to investigate who I truly am at my core. I started to feel more grounded and had a greater sense of clarity about my value as a human being, growing more connected with my true self. I finally stopped looking around the room to compare myself to other students and started to look inside to learn more about myself, both on and off the mat.
The discipline of yoga and its teachings enabled me to connect with myself, in order to maneuver through challenging situations and come out on the other side. As a result, I was able to make decisions that were right for me rather than what was expected from the outside world.
Now, when I practice yoga, as well as when I teach, I am coming from this place of connection – connecting with my inner being, connecting with like minded individuals, and sharing this connection with others outside the yogi community to show how yoga can support them in life.
I am also practicing presence. By connecting breath and movement I am able to get out of my head and into my body, shifting from the thinking mind, which is so ingrained in our culture, to feeling what my body needs. And in doing so, I am aware of the here and now and have better clarity.
It’s through my practice that I have come to understand that we all have an impact in life – on people, the planet and society. I believe we can choose to generate a more positive impact by being curious and spending some time contemplating. When I’m practicing yoga, I know and feel that I am actively improving my personal impact and the sense of positivity that I try to take into the world. My hope is that I can influence others in the same way. Perhaps it’s these connections that will send out ripples of change, empowering more positive impact everywhere.
Someone once told me yoga meets you where you’re at. Allow yourself to be open to receive what you need.
Find a studio, teacher and community you connect with and start building your practice.