I fell into yoga as a gym rat when my local gym offered a general Hatha class in the aerobics studio. It was like a breath of fresh air and I knew I had found a place for me. Rather than being exhausted from my normal cardio routine I had been doing to reduce stress, my first yoga class offered me deep relaxation, physical challenge and a clear mind, like the top of a still lake. I was immediately hooked. I've practiced yoga since 1997 — and have taught for the past 6 years at my local recreation center. I primarily practice and teach Iyengar yoga, but take classes of all styles. Sometimes I dabble with a hot or Vinyasa class, but I like the precision and alignment teaching of Iyengar. I also like a good Anusara class as well; the joy and spirit of yoga radiates strongly from John Friend.
As for what it has done for me, it has changed my life. Changed the way I think about my breath and body, changed the way I approach life and has literally been a touchstone to help me through both struggles and exuberant times in my life. My yoga practice was instrumental in the natural birth of my daughter (my doula about passed out when she saw me sit in Virasana for 30 minutes between contractions) and it's something I see myself doing for the rest of my life. Oh to be Mr. Iyengar with those poses and vitality over 90 years of age!
All in all yoga is about balance — about finding the action in the pose without tension. About finding the shadowy parts of consciousness in your body, your spirit, your psyche and bringing it to a non judgmental and curious light. About creating space, compassion and joy in your physical body, which translates to space, compassion and joy in life. I love it and I love sharing it with others.
When I have first timers come to class and do not return, I think it is like cooking pasta and the pasta doesn't stick to the wall; that person is just not ready yet. I don't take it personally and yoga is not something that can be forced on anyone. But like a gong or a sound that finds the right vibration and frequency for those that are ready to hear, those who are drawn to the art and science find it transforming.
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