My Yoga Path
As I mention on my About Page, I am a yoga teacher and am a lover of yoga! I fell in love with the practice of yoga in 2001 when I took my first series of classes in college. I knew I was hooked because of how I felt after going to class. I also loved the lessons my teacher taught us, with one in particular that resonated with me and still does. He reminded us how a flexible body will keep an open mind. This was a time of my life that I had been blessed with amazing college experiences, including a life-changing study abroad program. I studied in Fremantle, Australia at the University of Notre Dame Australia, in the study abroad program through my college for a semester. It was during this traveling and studying that my eyes were open to a bigger world outside of what I had ever experienced. I learned a lot about myself and my mind was more open then it had ever been. Thus, hearing these words just months after my return made me commit to never stop practicing yoga. I was determined to keep my body and mind open.
After the class series I found myself rolling out my yoga mat and jamming out to Moby on my mat in the privacy of my room. Yes, my teacher played the entire CD during class. It felt good to connect to my mind and body and It felt so good to have learned something I could do in my own space. I am a long-time athlete and lover of moving my body, but this was the first time I experienced something physical that I could do in my bedroom and that connected me to me.
After college and my first experience of yoga, I continued to practice at various studios and on my mat at home through the years. In my early years of practicing, I was lucky to find amazing teachers, especially Kat Carrol and Jessica Rosenberg. I loved it so much I was lucky enough to practice and spend a weekend away taught by Beryl Bender Birch. I loved learning about the history and philosophy of yoga and loved how it made my body feel. I also practiced it a lot during my eating disorder treatment and found great comfort in the connection, and inner strength it gave me.
When I was laid off in 2013 I decided it was time to listen to the strong desire to help inspire others. Thus, I sought out yoga training and a personal training certification. I knew that if I could teach yoga I could use that knowledge to teach anything. Additionally, I yearned to learn more about yoga and knew that studying to become a teacher would not only help me to become a yoga teacher, but it would also help me to find that beautiful mind-body connection that hooked me in my first yoga class.
I had high expectations of the training and look forward to learning how to be a yoga teacher. However, I got so much more than that. The 9-month training was during a time in my life that was full of changes (moving, starting as a personal trainer, getting pregnant with my second). Each weekend I was in training I felt a deeper connection to myself and learned so much that I could apply to my life. Through the practices I experienced I became dedicated to my daily meditation practice. Pausing and being still in meditation every day became an anchor in my life. I came out of training filled with more faith and confidence than I had in a long time. My close friends and family could feel something different. And I could to. I attribute a lot of it to my daily meditation practice that was given to me by my amazing teacher, Tanya Boigenzahn. My teacher Jessica Rosenberg had been encouraging me to put my "tush to the cush" every day for a while. Wow was she right. I will be writing more about my yoga and meditation practices/experiences in my future writing. You will quickly learn my passion for a daily meditation practice as I share more.
I had my second baby a few months after my training and encountered some postpartum and eating disorder challenges. Thus, I sought out support and teachings from my teacher again. Through these sessions she led me to some of the practices and exercises in The Four Desires book by Rod Styker. I immediately fell in love with the teachings from this book because it helped me to dig deep into my soul to understand why I experienced pain and what my soul's purpose is. This clarity took a lot of work. In addition to working one-on-one with my teacher I was also blessed with the opportunity to go to Rod's Four Desires training in Minneapolis the spring of 2015. It was a life-changing weekend for me and one that I am still leaning into as I dig out of some of my eating disorder and health-healing stuff.
I am drawn to all teachings (yoga and more) that help us to be our best self, that help us to find ways to find happiness and truly thrive in this crazy world we live in. I am on a determined path of my own to keep digging, learning and growing. This website would likely not be a reality right now had I not done the work laid out in the Four Desires book. Here is a great article, "Yoga and Your Four Soul's Desires" by Yogarupa explaining a little more about yoga tradition and The Four Desires.
As I keep listening and learning I realize that living my practice (sadhana) is critical to having more happy and peace in my life. I thought I would close by sharing a little of what my yoga practice looks like for me right now. This changes as my life changes. For example, after I had a baby, meditating for 10 minutes a day was a huge commitment and practice for me. Now that I have more space and time (when my son actually sleeps) I have added in more. In addition, I have shared some of my favorite things about yoga and my favorite resources.
My Daily Practice of Yoga ( Winter 2016)
- Daily meditation practice - 15 minutes minimum and sometimes twice a day
- Being kind, patient, and choosing love in my parenting and daily actions
- Self care: sleep (I'm trying), nourishing foods (also a challenge), movement, reflection, and as much play/laughter as I can find.
- Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep): I recently have committed to two practices a week. More rest is a theme needed in my life (as I am writing while the house is sleeping...eek)!
- Yoga Asana (yoga postures): I recently realized now that I have more time, I am committing to doing yoga asana every day. I strive for 15 minutes minimum, but if I have a tough day I will do just one pose. No rules right? :)
Favorite things about YOGA (asana and meditation)
- I love the way yoga connects me to my body and breath. I sometimes think that because I teach and practice yoga I must be awesome at breathing. And then I am humbled each time I step on my mat, a constant reminder that it is a process and commitment to keep showing up to give me the gift of the breath.
- Yoga helps me to find my true self and connect to the part of me that does not need to suffer and that is content right now. The part of me that doesn't need a new outfit or a nice car or even to fit into my clothes.
- When I am practicing, yoga I am kinder and more patient to myself and others. It helps me to be my best self.
- Yoga helps me build my faith and self love
- Connection: to something bigger than me and to amazing people I come in contact with because of the practices and community that surrounds me.
- I get to wear cute yoga pants (totally kidding here; just making sure you are still reading).
- Yoga has taught me of the power of intention and how i can quickly change my energy and reaction to a situation.
- Yoga International
- Rod Stryker and the Para Yoga
- Adventures of Superstretch
- Favorite local resources:
I am so very grateful for the path that I am on and all that I have learned because of my practice of yoga. I am so grateful for my amazing teachers along the way. There are so many who have touched me in various ways of my life and practice and I am forever grateful for you. I will keep practicing and showing up to be my best self. My intention is to live my purpose and do everything I can to thrive and inspire others. I want to be an example to my kids, my family, and all those I come in contact with!
Whether you are a long-time yogi, just starting to practice or never touched a yoga studio or mat in your life I am so grateful to have you here reading! My favorite thing about yoga is to weave it into real life and I hope you enjoy my stories and experiences.
In love, light and gratitude,