Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Evolution of a Yogini

Zenning out in the Trinity Alps
I first discovered yoga when I was about 6 years-old. To little me, yoga meant sitting in lotus pose and chanting “ommmmmmm”. When I reached high school, yoga simply meant stretching. Then, in college, I finally took a yoga class and realized that yoga meant.... sleep. My middle-aged hippie yoga instructor feared that mid-semester her over-stressed students would prioritize studying over doing yoga and would inevitably drop the class. Her solution was pure genius - give students credit just for showing up even if they didn’t do a single downward dog. She set up a relaxation station in the dark back corner of the room with pillows and blankets and my fellow students and I curled up listening to tribal drum beats and our own breath. 

Fast forward to late 2009. There I was, dealing with another failing relationship, and in a moment of profound clarity I realized that yoga was the answer to all my problems! So I shopped around for a yoga studio and teacher that I could relate to. I took classes all over town based on friends’ recommendations and they were all duds. Freezing rooms to boiling roomjs, barking nazi-drill-sergeant Bikram instructors to instructors sans personality, community centers, health clubs, gyms, yoga/zumba/pilates studios.... NOTHING resonated with me. Until one fateful day. My friend Lorelle’s husband’s colleague’s wife had just opened up a yoga studio in town and she was raving about it. Lorelle had led me astray before in my mission to find the perfect yoga class so I was a bit reticent, but nevertheless I showed up. POW! It was like the stars had aligned and I was bestowed upon the power of zen-state exercise. My teacher was AMAZING - funny, yet grounded.

Warrior 2
The style is a Power Vinyasa inspired by Baron Baptiste. The room is heated to 92 degrees and it’s a quick-paced flow. Each class incorporates different poses (unlike Bikram), but overall it’s the same general sequence. It’s definitely a workout - both cardio and strengthening. But for me, it’s the fast pace flow that really “zens me out”. You’re moving so quickly that there isn’t time for thoughts to creep in. If they do, you’ll fall over. So you focus on your body on that exact moment and your mind will clear.   

I started going about once a week and it slowly increased over time. It took one whole year before I could FINALLY touch my toes! Now I do yoga almost every day and I feel amazing! When I returned from South America, my teacher gave me a job in the studio working a few hours a week. I arrive around 6am every day to open the studio and greet folks with a smile as they drag in their half-awake bodies for some early morning yoga . Sure, waking up at 5:30am every day is brutal, but I love working there. Endorphins and positivity fills the air and I am immersed.

Next step in the evolution of this yogini: attend a yoga teacher certification program.  :)

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