How did you find yoga?
At a friend’s suggestion, I sought out a yoga practice in 2004 to help me handle the stress from my job at the time. He had talked about how the meditation techniques had really been helping him to relax.
My friend was pretty cynical so I figure if it had been so helpful to him it was definitely worth a try. I bought a 10-class package of classes for Midtown Yoga in Memphis, TN over the phone and walked into the studio for my first beginner’s class the next day. And from that very first class, I was hooked.
How have you overcome fear?
The earliest courageous moments of my practice came into play in a familiar way. My first headstand was so gloriously liberating. I had always been a very fearful, scared child and then adult. I had long sacrificed new things for fear of embarrassment and ridicule.
My first time upside down in class I shrieked out loud and didn’t care who heard me. Seven years into my practice in 2011, my yoga-induced audacity had me fearlessly living my dharma. I was laid off from my marketing job of 5 years and was lucky enough to be offered another position a couple of weeks later. I didn’t take it. Instead I chose to enroll in a yoga teacher training program at Sonic Yoga in New York City to pursue my life’s passion of teaching yoga.
That brave choice opened me up to my other dreams as well. After completing training, I came back home to start teaching yoga and decided to pursue my writing career as well.
What are the benefits of your practice?
Physically, I am stronger than I have even been in my life. I had never done a lot of physical activity because I was a creative arts person. I played flute for 12 years and was a singer that performed internationally. Yoga made me care about treating my body better all around. I built strength, committed to getting more rest and started to take my diet and nutrition very seriously.
Mentally I would say that my practice saved my sanity. I have enjoyed observing myself on the mat and rediscovering my authenticity. My practice has helped me to tell myself better stories about me. I had been beating up on myself for too long.
Spiritually my practice has allowed me to nurture a healthier relationship with the divine. Before yoga I thought God was all about judgement and punishment. I have been pleased to learn that no matter the deity, the message is all the same-LOVE.
Advice for beginners?
I just got a note from a friend who wants to start yoga but wants to do some stuff at home for a while so that she doesn’t go to class and get “embarrassed.” That hit home for me. I remember when embarrassment held me back. My advice is simply to just walk into a studio, quiet the mind, listen to your body and let yoga happen to you.