I have always had an incredible passion for health and wellness, which is where yoga came into play. I’ll never forget my very first yoga class in college when I visited my sister, who lived in Chicago. I had zero interest in group classes and had no idea what a downward dog was. I tucked myself in the back of the room, hoping no one noticed me and how silly I thought I must look attempting to do each pose. At that time I viewed yoga soley as a workout, and it wasn’t until years later that I began to actually learn and realize the depth, philosophy, and overall meaning of the practice. Although I was always thin, I’d say I lacked quite a bit of body confidence back then as I never considered myself to be athletic or strong. Working out, in general, was somewhat foreign to me. I was never the most flexible person growing up either and could barely even touch my toes when I was younger.
I eventually began practicing yoga videos at home, once again just for the physical benefits of the workout. I still didn’t feel comfortable practicing in front of others, so learning in the safety of my own home was very appealing to me. Not to mention it was a very cost-effective option, as we all know that yoga classes can get pricey.
After that came my first hot yoga class experience at a Core Power studio in Los Angeles with a friend. Once again I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Yes, I practiced at home, but I still had a lot to learn, and hot classes were a whole different ball game. I remember feeling sweaty, disgusting, and thinking I was going to pass out from the heat. The ironic part is that now the hot classes are my favorite. So if you are someone who tried it once and didn’t think it was your cup of tea, do not worry, there is always hope!
As time passed, and after years of practicing at home, I eventually found a local yoga studio and teachers that I loved and began practicing there more regularly. After years of developing a more solid and consistent practice in studios, I eventually decided to go on a yoga retreat. Always an avid traveler entranced by the thought of merging my two passions, I would stare at the pamphlets about the retreats and let my mind wander to the idea of going to a dream destination to focus on self-care and relaxation. It almost seemed too good to be true, like a fantasy.
I decided to follow that fantasy of mine and traveled to Costa Rica for a solo yoga retreat. It was then that I truly realized how much the yogi life really interested me. I met a multitude of other interesting and like-minded yogis, many of whom had already become certified. They each raved about what a magical life-changing experience it was. I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. Whether or not I wanted to actually teach down the road was still in question, but I knew the learning would be worth the while.
The following year, I decided to take a break from the real world to head to Bali for my 200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Next, after two years of building experience as a yoga teacher, I knew that I was ready to take my learning to the next level by signing up for an advanced 300 hour YTT. It was always a dream of mine to complete this next training in India, where yoga first originated. That dream led me to my incredible 300 HR YTT experience with Indra Yoga Institute in Goa, India. Along the way, my gratitude for the path and learning continued to strengthen always bringing me to a deeper understanding of the true meaning behind the practice.
Now as a yoga teacher, no matter how many trainings or years of experience I might have had, I am still forever a student first and foremost. Just as in life, there is always something new to learn. That to me is the best part of the practice and the way it parallels life itself. After all, life is about the journey, not the destination.
“Yoga. It’s not about being good at something. It’s about being good to yourself.”
If there is one thing for certain, I never would have guessed during my first yoga experience that one day I would become a certified yoga teacher. That is also the beautiful part of life..it can work in mysterious ways where you sometimes even surprise yourself.