I like asking myself profound questions. I think a lot, as we all do, but I think a lot about my life. Every decision that I have ever made for myself has brought me to this beautiful space (eating a hummus wrap on the boardwalk by the ocean). There’s one thing that has changed my life more than anything else, and that is yoga. I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time. Anyone else who has a yoga practice or is a teacher, can understand what I mean by this “special relationship” one can have with yoga.
So I want to go back to the beginning to my very first yoga class. It was at a Bikram studio in South Jersey. I went with about four or five of my girlfriends from high school. We had heard about this extreme yoga class where the room is 104 degrees and you sweat your ass off. There’s a part of me that likes trying extreme things like this- so I was definitely down. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I didn’t know much about yoga, but all I knew was that I wanted to grind through 90 minutes of this intense exercise. I was nervous I would pass out but we were all in this together as friends, so that made it easier and more fun. This was about 7 years ago. I don’t remember anything about the teacher or what he/she said, but from that moment on it sparked my interest.
I went back to that studio maybe 2 or 3 times before I was totally over the heat. I went to another (not hot) yoga studio in the area and loved it. I didn’t go religiously but I started getting a feel for what yoga was in terms of postures, such as down dog, mountain, warrior 2, childs- the basics. At this point I was in it for the postures. It’s not that I tuned out what my teacher was saying in regards to “yoga teacher talk”, but at the time I was like “oh well what he/she is saying doesn’t really apply to me”. I definitely remember not giving a shit about whether I was breathing or not- I didn’t see how it mattered. Let’s just say the ego was in full swing!
From there I started doing more yoga at home on an app I downloaded- I still recommend it today for people who are really nervous about trying a class. Yoga Studio by Gaiam- they have dozens of classes to choose from for all levels. I remember doing that at least 5-6 days a week. At the time I was also interning at a wellness center. One of the women who worked there told me about how they have a yoga teacher training program. I was SET on doing this. I didn’t even know if I was actually going to teach right away or if I honestly had the desire then, but every cell in my body was screaming at me to do this. So I enrolled in a 200 hour yoga teacher training that lasted 9-10 months. I was a full time student at Rowan University and the training was on the weekends. This will be easy I thought- I got this.
Wrong. So very wrong! I was miserable. I don’t look fondly on my last year of college. The last year I was PACKED to the gills with work, deadlines, papers and final projects PLUS yoga teacher training on the weekends. Oh and I went through a breakup with someone I was with for a little over 3 years- a decision I made. I had my first ever REAL panic attack that lasted over 2 hours. I remember being in the shower weeping, not being able to feel the tears run down my face. In my mind I was packing a bag, hopping in my car, and running away but legs wound’t move. I literally felt trapped in these situations I was in. I was eventually able to get my phone and text a friend who helped me through it. I hated myself. I hated college. I hated yoga. I hated everything. I was disconnected from myself in a very self destructive way.
Sometimes I think I still feel that twinge in my stomach when thinking on that year. There are times I wish I handled myself better and maybe did things differenly, but what yoga has taught me is that timing is truly divine. Everything happened the way it was supposed to. As deeply horrible as that year was, I learned some of the most profound lessons. I would go through it over and over. I held so much back over the years that turned me into a really mean person towards myself. I needed to feel it in order to heal it.
Fast forward to September of 2015. I graduated college AND yoga teacher training. I didn’t touch my mat or teach for months after. I wasn’t ready and was just still trying to figure out how to handle my emotions. I piled too much on myself that year (a lesson that to this day is still hard for me to learn) so I needed a break. From everything. After a rough summer I finally felt like things were turning around. I found a new job that I loved and was getting ready to go on a meditation retreat with my cousin and his girlfriend. Another truly amazing healing experience, that I’ll probably write about in another post later on.
After that I picked up a regular yoga practice in the beginning of 2016. I drove deep into practice and began to understand what yoga means off the mat. I started teaching at my dad’s work and another corporation, then a place in Philadelphia- which now has turned into two places! I recently started in Philadelphia with a company called Grey Dolphin. There are so many opportunities that have presented themselves to me in the last 4 months. I am truly so grateful. I feel big things and changes are coming and I’m opening my heart up for this. I’m rolling with the highs and lows this time, with a better understanding that hard times provide the most important lessons to be learned.
The main reason I tell this story is this:
If you are someone who is going through practice, going to classes, not really understanding what yoga is but it makes you feel good in someway- do not ignore that feeling. Follow it. It leads to wonderful, magical things. Whether you’re instantly hooked- or it takes you a couple of months or year for it to click- it will. Most importantly, it leads you back to yourself. The most important person in your life.
Every single one of us has a different path. Don’t worry how you think it should look or what it supposed to be- you are divine right now. Accept your pace.
Thank you for reading my very intimate and personal journey.
Much love to all of you,