I used to think yoga was just “stretching” and wasn’t really a workout. Wow, I was wrong. Yoga has made me S-T-R-O-N-G and changed my bod – hello arm muscles 🙂
Many guys think yoga is for girls. Wrong again – have you taken some of Dice Iida-Klein’s classes? Holy sweat.
Mainstream society thinks yoga is for hippies. Or rich housewives. – Wrong… again 😉
Whatever you’ve previously thought about yoga, that’s cool! I’m just here to share my story what yoga means to me and shed light on how it’s incredibly life changing for all people ~ young & old, weak & strong, flexible & unflexible, stressed out & zenned out.
Yoga wasn’t love at first practice for me. In fact, I thought it was kind of boring. I remember finishing and thinking, “How many down dogs can a person do?” I was using the “workout” yoga videos guided by teachers who aren’t really yoga teachers at all. That’s fine and all, but it really wasn’t my thing.
When I started exploring yoga, started diving into the meaning behind it and the movement, I realized it was so much more. I remember my first practice at a studio: The Northville Yoga Center. The room was quiet, dim, and hot, but something felt especially beautiful and sacred about it. The teacher was incredibly warm-hearted, spiritually-aware, and supportive. Somewhere in the silence of the room that day, I realized whatever life had in store for me, yoga would always be a part of it. If I could be a part of someone’s yoga journey, that would be even more incredible.
Yoga is my church. My mat is the place I go when life feels exciting, scary, or overwhelming. I go when i’m having the best day in the world and when i’m having the worst day. Somewhere after the first few sun salutations, i’m home. When i’m laying in a pool of my own sweat after a Level 3 Vinyasa class, I feel cleansed and back to that grounded state of mind. When i’m flowing through the motions, relaxing in a Hatha or Yin class, I feel extremely connected to my body and my mind. I’m exactly the person I came on this earth here to be ~ kind, open, and connected to the life energy all around me. This might be my favorite part of my practice… the movement and breath work effortlessly guide me back to that state of pure love within me. On the mat, i’m practicing who I want to be out in the world even when my yoga practice is over. I’m playful yet calm, open and listening, creative and inspired.
The best part is that you never stop learning. I’m two years into my journey of yoga and i’ve already changed in so many cool ways. I’m WAY more chilled out when it comes to overachieving/perfectionism, happier, and a kinder person to others. Aside from the body benefits, those changes alone are enough to inspire me to continue. I’ve seen yoga help girls during eating disorder recovery, exercise addiction, anxiety, and depression. I’ve seen people create the life of their dreams simply because of what they learn on the mat.
There’s a yoga teacher named Elena Brower who is truly one of my greatest teachers. Although i’ve never met her, I consider her one of my angels, mentors, and biggest inspirations. Elena’s yoga classes are exactly what I hope to one day bring to my students: a life lesson wrapped in the movement – a moving meditation and a great workout. I can’t tell you the number of times a day I have her words from the ending meditation of class running through my head when I feel ungrounded, disconnected, or angry. This woman is so genuine, open about her experiences, and the true definition of “living yoga.” Elena shows me what a regular, inspired, & love-infused yoga practice can do. It’s not simply “stretching,” it’s a way of life.
Kathryn Budig offers this in her classes as well, although usually in a more fast-paced, sweaty flow. Her playfulness, kind heart, and absolute joy for life have taught me to take myself (and my practice) less seriously! Here’s a yoga teacher who isn’t afraid to crack jokes during her practices … and that’s something I take with me in my life. Being zen doesn’t have to mean being serious 🙂
Does all of this sound crazy to you? If you haven’t had your yoga “aha!” moment, keep trying new styles and different places. What will connect you with your body, mind, and spirit is much different than what will make me feel connected (or not – maybe they’re the same!)
Whenever i’m uncertain, yoga is my certainty. I know it’s always waiting there for me, and I know there’s a community full of supportive yogis to catch me anytime I fall. Above all, yoga has taught me that life is mean to be enjoyed. Life isn’t here to be stressful, screw you over, or punish you. Life is here to teach you, guide you to grow, and open your eyes to the love around you – even in the crappiest situations.
Want to give it a go? Try out a class on YogaGlo or visit your local studio 🙂
Lots of love & Downward Dogs,