For my first today, I felt inspired to share about the difference yoga has made in my journey.
I first tried a few yoga classes in 2011 when I was living in Indianapolis. I had watched a few episodes of Namaste Yoga on the DirecTV channel Fit TV. I really enjoyed the experience and was keen to experience more.
When I moved to Des Moines in mid-2012, my schedule was much more open and I became a member of a local hot yoga studio – Kris’ Hot Yoga and Barre. As the name implies, it’s hot yoga, with the room at 95-100 degrees. I absolutely loved the hot yoga format and how the extreme temperature was a cleansing experience. Hydration is essential as you obviously sweat profusely and your heart rate is elevated.
One night, I was in the peaceful warrior pose, where the back hand is down the thigh and the front hand is pointed toward the sky. We were given the instruction to cartwheel forward, which involved bringing the back and up and over in a wide arc. I started the movement and my hand stopped. I looked around and the instructor was there with my hand on her breast. She had stepped in at the moment I started the cartwheel and was in just the ‘right’ position at the right time. She looked at me, looked down at my hand then back at me. I promptly removed it and continued with the pose.
At the end of 2012, I came to New York and experienced yoga studios here. I was introduced to Yogashakti on Lefferts Blvd in Queens, where Mokshapriya Shakti led the classes. I instantly felt at home and knew I had found my yoga home. It’s a wonderful community and one of things I love is how folks stick around after class for cookies and chai tea. Most other places, everyone bolts.
In addition to regular classes, retreats are held at the City of Light Sanctuary at Ellenville in beautiful upstate New York. It’s so wonderful to get out of the city, get into the countryside and enjoy the experience with like minded spirits.
One of the gifts of the ashram is they offer teacher training. I was invited to join the class in 2014. Although I loved yoga, I didn’t feel I was at the level of practice to be a teacher. I was advised that the training would give me what I need and would support me in that which I desire. As our beloved teacher always says “Just do it!” I signed up.
It was a wonderful experience albeit an intense 3 months. Lots of study, practice and whole weekends of yoga training. We had various all day workshops, meditation and philosophy sessions. We learned about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga anatomy, pranayam (breathing) and the art of providing concise instruction.
In December 2014, we graduated at the winter retreat on Long Island. It was indeed a proud moment. Shortly after, I registered as a RYT200 with yoga island.
Overall, yoga has had a phenomenal impact on my life. It has further contributed to my prevailing space of peace, opened me up to higher levels of spirituality and has improved my physical condition and my flexibility.
I have had the honor of teaching a few classes and absolutely love the privilege of sharing this gift. Yoga continues as a part of my daily practice and ongoing journey.