Yoga’s Meaning in My Life
Yoga became a part of my life while I was searching for new ways to get “in shape,” as most young women do. What surprised me was that I not only found a fun and relaxing new exercise option, but I also found myself wanting to connect spiritually to my practice and learn more about the history of yoga. Why were we doing these strange postures? Who invented them? What is this strange language being spoken in class? Is there more to this then just a physical exercise routine? I slowly began to find the answers to some of my questions, and yet with each answer I discovered more questions. I finally decided to follow my heart and travel 8700 miles across the world to the island of Bali where I completed a 6 week, 230-hour yoga teacher training.
This training opened my eyes to new depths of yoga like I had never experienced before. I learned about anatomy, philosophy, history, meditation, pranayama, teaching methodology, ayurveda, and much much more. On top of the many things I learned, I also started to realize where my passion in yoga resides. My historical interest in fitness drew me immediately to the Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow styles of Hatha yoga. These dynamic asana sequences connect the principles of movement with breath, pranayama, and meditation, creating a strong physical and spiritual practice.
Vinyasa Flow yoga resonates with me because of the merging of strong asanas and the flowing transitions between them. This seamless blend makes the movement within one’s yoga practice like a dance. When we dance through our practice, we connect emotionally to a place of joy, a place many of us can remember from childhood when dancing or jumping around a room. Through beautifully choreographed Vinyasa Flow sequences yoga becomes more than just your physical asana practice because it is fun. Any chance to bring a sense of elation to people’s lives gives me a reason to continue teaching Vinyasa Flow.
“The practice of Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient and powerful discipline for cultivating physical, mental and spiritual health. Progressive techniques of breath, posture and movement, cleanse, stretch and strengthen the body as well as focus and calm the mind.”* Ashtanga is a very strong physical practice that focuses on connecting movement with ujjayi breath. A great illustration I was given by one of my teachers Anna Smallwood is that Ashtanga Yoga is like a strand of Indian prayer beads, the asanas being the beads and the string being the breath. Using these techniques with consistent practice can create a deeper experience of the true self, something that is easily lost with the rajasic American lifestyle.
Ashtanga yoga has a very special place in my heart. I have found inspiration, passion, love, dedication, and a great respect for the practice of ashtanga yoga, and have a daily Mysore practice at the ashtanga yoga center in Carlsbad, CA. I recently completed a 100-hour, primary series training with Tim Miller, and continue to practice under his guidance daily. I have found that this methodology helps me to progress physically, spiritually, and mentally in a way that others simply do not. I thank my teacher, Tim, for his continuous guidance and inspiration in my asana practice and in life.
*text quoted from the Ashtanga Yoga Center
- 200-Hour Foundation YTT – Shakti Spirit w/ Rachel Hull & Anna Smallwood; Ubud, Bali. Sept-Oct 2010
- 100-Hour Ashtanga Primary Series TT – Ashtanga Yoga Center w/Tim Miler; Carlsbad, CA. June-July 2011
- Assistant on 200-Hour Foundation YTT – Shakti Spirit w/ Rachel Hull & Anna Smallwood; Ubud, Bali. Sept-Oct 2011