I was 13 and living in Colorado when I discovered Yoga via Rodney Yee's Am / PM Yoga DVD. I quickly learned the power of breath and slowing down to ease my anxiety and create more flexibility in my thinking and in my body.
As an runner, I found that Yoga really helped with strength, flexibility, and focus. The more I did Yoga the better I recovered from my runs, hikes, and active lifestyle. The practice also helped me gain the power to slow down my thoughts and shift my mood using breath.
When I moved back to Maryland, I was drawn more to the physical side of yoga (i.e. the Sun Salutations, Warrior Poses, and Chair Pose for lower body strength and balance.) I especially used these Asanas while coaching my massage and personal training clients when I was in my 20's. i was constantly referring to sun salutation, child's pose and pigeon and local Yoga studios or classes to many of my clients.
But it was not until I embarked on my Yoga Teacher Training Immersion that I truly understood the power of Yoga. It was here that I realized the transformative process of flowing through the Asanas, connecting with my breath, and truly connecting my intuition and embodying my emotions. it was the flow and the meditation that brought out the truth of " yoga off the mat."
My general response to unpleasant emotions and experiences were to avoid and escape by pursuing pleasure. During our Yoga philosophy classes and in my meditation sessions I began learning how to sit with the discomfort. And in the Asana practice, I learned to cue in to what my body was saying.
At one point during an asana practice I broke out in tears of release. It was clear that the mind, the body, and the emotions were are all so integrated. through the breath, flow, and meditation I could help my body and mind let go.
The freeing feeling of letting go, and of cultivating compassion was so liberating. I am forever grateful that I learned to hold space for others so that they, too could let go.
The ways my life has changed both personally and professionally from my Yoga journey are countless!