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my yoga story

October 13, 2010

I’ve told my vegetarian story but I’ve never told my yoga story, so here goes.

To start at the beginning, we have to start with dance. I started taking dance classes in preschool and continued until my freshman year of college. I played lacrosse in high-school but I much always preferred dance over sports. I was lucky to attend a high-school that gave me the option of taking dance classes in lieu of PE.

During my freshman year of college I took ballet one semester and would run on the track with a couple friends here and there, but was not as active as I had been throughout high-school. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist, but less-so my freshman year of college.

When my sophomore year commenced, my inner perfectionist came back stronger than ever. I took three lab sciences and studied like crazy. I went to the gym more frequently, mostly just because I thought I should.

After my first semester of my junior year, I decided to take a year off. It was an emotional year in my personal life, and certainly a low point in my young life. At the end of my year off, I transferred to a school closer to home and was ready to reclaim my happiness. I started walking on the treadmill for the mental benefits but never enjoyed walking or running as much as I had enjoyed dancing.

In the spring I decided to try a yoga class at a new studio. Seventy-five minutes later I was seriously in love.  My body was happy to be stretched like it did throughout years of dance classes, but without the competitive and often critical environment. My mind was clear and the sense of community in the room made me smile. I immediately bought an unlimited pass and would go to two classes in a day at times. I tried all sorts of classes, but especially loved the Ashtanga classes. The set series in Ashtanga allowed me to clear my head and I moved with my breath without even thinking about it.

After practicing for a couple months I noticed some wonderful changes. I became less anxious and put on a few welcomed pounds of muscle. Most importantly I felt full of life again. I was completely unaware of the 8 limbs of yoga, or the yamas or niyamas at that point. My practice was strictly a physically demanding style of yoga, yet I was reaping considerable mental benefits. Why and how this was happening I didn’t know, and still don’t, but I am certainly glad I decided to take a chance and go to that first yoga class.

My yoga practice has had its ups and downs over the years but it’s remained a strong force in my life. I listened to my body throughout my pregnancy, teaching Ashtanga fot the first 5 months and then allowing myself a more gentle practice the last four months. After my son was born I found myself branching out a bit from my strict Ashtanga practice.  My home practice and the classes I teach certainly still have Ashtanga roots but with more variation. In the past year I have found myself choosing to meditate after my home practice and my commitment to ahimsa, living a non-harming life, is stronger than ever (which deserves it’s own post). Yoga has been a wonderful journey that never ceases to amaze me.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 10:34 am

    Yoga in amazing! It really does help with everything else in your life!

  2. October 14, 2010 9:53 am

    I love hearing where people’s yoga story began.

    I’ve been practicing for 10 years now and I’m still noticing those changes that creep up on you… I ♥ that. Who knows how much more integrated yoga will be with our lives in another 10 years… it’s kind of astounding to think about.

  3. hayleycepeda permalink
    November 21, 2010 8:22 am

    I have yet to get into yoga as much as I’d like, but I truly admire those who do it (and teach it!) This picture of you is absolutely incredible – you remind me of Avery from “Loves Veggies & Yoga.” Beautiful!!

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