Three years ago, if you had asked me what role yoga played in my life, I would have said, ‘A minimal one. I don’t have time to stretch, and besides, I’m looking for a real workout.’ Today, however, my answer would be a very different one- ‘Yoga? It’s part of my life in so many ways!’ My relationship with yoga has become like one of those books I used to read where I create my own adventure depending upon which direction I want to take. Each chapter is up to me.
My first chapter started with me entering a local Bikram studio after becoming curious about the sweaty people I saw leaving the classes. I had been suffering from numerous injuries due to years of sports and running, and I figured I would give this form of yoga a try. I used to like the feeling I got from stretching my body out, and I figured I could always throw in a quick run afterwards if it wasn’t intense enough for me. Needless to say, it was intense, but not just physically. Taking a class commanded my full and undivided attention. I was hooked immediately.
Although the beginnings of my practice were primarily focused on the physical benefits of yoga, I underwent a transformation in my practice. Not only did my body awareness improve, but my emotional and spiritual awareness also developed as I dedicated myself to a daily commitment to yoga. The next step seemed natural to me: I want to teach this yoga to others.
After a lot of research, I chose to apply to the evolation teacher training program because I felt that my chance to continue shaping and molding my experience with yoga would flourish under this collective’s guidance. I met some of the most amazing people- people I would not normally interact with or meet on a day to day basis, and many of whom I consider dear friends. Not only that, the training opened me up to a whole community of people who I can continue to work with as well as learn from – not just as a teacher but as a student as well.
Still today, my relationship with yoga continues to evolve. I regularly teach at Sacred Studio in Brooklyn, and I have had the fortune of traveling to teach in places like Tampa and Buffalo – with more to come! I am also in graduate school studying for my doctorate in psychology. My graduate program has afforded me the opportunity to continue to pursue my relationship with yoga; I am undertaking research that explores the barriers towards participation in yoga by underrepresented populations, with the hopes that I can identify ways to bring this invaluable practice into the lives of more people in the future.
I imagine that if you ask me what my relationship with yoga will be in another few years, it will look even different still! That’s the exciting part about being a member of this yoga community; it’s yours to shape according to the adventures you are seeking.