How did you find yoga?
I was soul sick, which turned into physical illness.
My employment at the time was suppose to be a momentary sojourn into making an income in a field outside of my own. What it wound up being was a job that tore at the very fiber of my being. That went against my own moral compass.
I gained 60 pounds somewhere between 6 months to 1 year.
I couldn’t eat, often eating less than 800 calories a day, it was hard for me to do more than 1 or 2 things a day, I was exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually. My doctors told me to eat and enjoy life. No one died from a little weight gain. But the issue was more insidious than just the external aspect of gaining weight. I had burned out my adrenals and thyroid. I had no energy, I felt lost.
I stumbled into a Bikram Yoga studio; it was the perfect antidote to my spinning reeling monkey mind. I needed a way to reclaim my body, and regenerate the mind-body connection. It felt transformative, and my mind eased up.
The exhaustion started to melt away.
I then started to explore other styles of Yoga. When a Vinyasa Flow instructor handed me a block for the first time, I felt like that was the key to opening the door to my practice. All of a sudden I saw how Yoga really could be completely for my body. I then went down the Yoga rabbit hole and started practicing seriously and exploring different studios.
This was not a weight loss journey, but a journey to returning to myself. I’ve always loved my mind but yoga taught me to love my body completely, fully and without apology.
How have you overcome fear in life and/or yoga?
The first Bikram class I took, I felt like I wanted to do teacher training. The more I explored Yoga and various styles, the more I wanted to do teacher training.
I was scared and insecure because I felt like I didn’t look like a Yoga teacher. It took me 8 years to finally give myself permission to take Yoga teacher training. It vastly improved my practice. I felt more grounded and stronger. That initial black block that transformed my practice earlier led me toward realizing the importance of making Yoga accessible.
I started training with Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga while completing my 200-RYT. Anna referred my first student to me. When the student contacted me, I felt a soul urge to step up. Since then I have completed 5 teacher trainings and am currently working toward my 500-RYT. I have a practice completely centered on body diversity and accessibility.
It is my greatest passion to introduce my students to the transformation and the courage that yoga brings.
What are the benefits of your practice?
Yoga is a great way to let go of the bull-crap. It doesn’t matter if it is in your living room streaming videos or practicing with a DVD, a studio or a community park class. The more you meet yourself on the mat, the more connected you are. And as cheesy as it may sound, the mat serves as a mirror and often reflects onto the areas of life that are no longer important, no longer relevant and no longer helpful. If you are feeling lost or your world is reeling I suggest making it to the mat. It will help spiritually, physically and mentally.
Advice for Beginners?
Dear beginners the fear will melt off like a snowball on a warm car hood. If you are afraid go anyway. If you feel intimidated by the bodies in the room do it anyway. As you progress in your practice you will notice that all those around you on their mats begin to fade away. It is you, your mat and the instructor.
Don’t worry about being inflexible, out of shape or the wrong shape. If you still feel trepidation because of your body whether it is due to mobility or size call the studio you would like to go to and ask if they have any instructors that are experienced or compassionate toward what ever your fear that is holding you back.