Yoga is the journey through the body to the self.
I was first brought to the mat by my mom while I was in her womb. My mom always humbly says she has been a beginner for 27 years (as I am now 27 as I write this). I don't think she realizes what a wise statement that is. May we all always remain beginners. She again brought me to my mat in my early teens and I maintained a physical practice for about 10 years.
Throughout those 10 years I struggled with an internal battle against my self. I was driven by fear, insecurity and lack. I was obsessed with having the perfect body, always seeking what was outside me to fill the hole inside me. All the while my yoga practice was with me but I wasn't ready for a solution. Instead of loving my body I was tearing it down.
In 2010 I ran the LA Marathon and pushed my body to it's breaking point. Despite the messages my body was sending me, I continued to push harder. This experience taught me that the mind and body are both extremely powerful. We take for granted how much strength we have inside of us. And yet we don't always have the awareness to use that power for the right purpose.
A year after my marathon I found myself unable to run, bike or even use the elliptical. After years of spending hours every day at the gym, pounding 10 miles on the treadmill, my body finally sent a clear enough message for me to listen. I decided to have knee surgery with the ultimate aim of returning to my joint crushing runs and workouts.
For years I had used exercise to escape my mind. Through injury I was forced to sit in my discomfort. When I was finally able to move a little, yoga was there for me. I began practicing with a fiery Israeli woman who read her classes the sutras and cursed through long holds, who held space for our tears and whose laughter could open your heart. I finally began to see beyond the physical practice to the mental, emotional and spiritual healing that was available to me.
I have had so many incredible teachers along my path. Like the dieties of yoga philosophy they have each taught me something unique: strength, faith, compassion, gentleness, service, humility. And in the many rooms of yoga I began to learn how to live life. I began to see the abuse I had been inflicting on myself and started to look within myself for a solution.
Yoga is only the beginning of my story. Each day the universe opens up new opportunities for me that are beyond my wildest dreams. As I carry the message of the ancient wisdom of yoga, I seek to hold space for the journey of others, as the teachers before me have done for me.
Love. Light. Namaste.