How did you find yoga?
I found yoga thanks to a co-worker. She got hooked about 15 years ago and said I should try it. It took me a few years but after getting fed up with the stress of a retail gig, I finally gave yoga a chance.
I developed a home practice with the help of Rodney Yee videos but it didn’t stick. Yoga felt like the relationship I was supposed to be having but wasn’t mature enough to handle.
I’d come to yoga when I needed it, usually when I was so stressed from the life of a retail executive that I was on the verge of breaking. At that time in my life, I was solely focused on my career and nothing else.
I wasn’t at a place where I was ready to accept that yoga could help me find a better life. Recently, I turned 40 and took a good hard look at my life and realized that I didn’t like what I saw. So I returned to my mat and everything changed.
I became humble, open, vulnerable and curious. I gave everything I had to my practice. I gave more of myself off my mat. I became a yoga teacher and and now I am in the process of organizing my first retreat with my business partner so more women of color can transform their lives through yoga.
How have you overcome fear in yoga and life?
Yoga helped me overcome my fear of changing my life by breaking me down. It was through that breaking down of body and spirit that I was able to build myself back up and reveal who I had always been.
Roughly two years ago, I walked into a 6:30 pm hot yoga class. I had never been so far away from myself emotionally or physically. That class ripped me apart. 90 minutes in the blazing heat. It seemed particularly intense. In that moment, the heat was a metaphor for my life – heavy, oppressive and unbearable.
And the teacher (who I would later write an open letter to) said, “You can be comfortable or change, but you can’t have both.” A dam burst inside of me. It took everything I had not to start crying hysterically.
I worked hard trying to hold onto the fact that I didn’t want to change but it was too late. One of my favorite quotes is by Victor Hugo, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
I know it’s just yoga but it is also life. I didn’t know back then that I’d end up teaching but that was the spark that had lit from a puddle of sweat and tears.
That night, I picked up my towel and soul off the mat. I’d wash the towel but my soul was another story. It was shaky and tired. At home, I crumbled and cried until my eyes were puffy. No more hiding. No more running. It was time to start my life over, again. And I did.
I practiced yoga every day. My asana practice was a microcosm of my life. One day I say my yoga happening off my mat. I was yoga in the grocery store, walking my dog, and in my relationships with the world. I came to realize that my life was better because I knew how to breathe better.
And now I teach – a lot. I teach at two studios and have clients. I’ve started to volunteer and teach yoga to seniors and I’m looking hoping to find a way to teach yoga to women in transition. It’s scary on many days. I was used to a cushy career and knowing what was coming next. But even though it’s scary, it’s also thrilling.
Now I’m more clear, creative and healthy than I’ve ever been. It’s helped me let go of standards that have been set by society and be happy in my own skin.