I was lead to my first yoga class through a fortuitous chain of events. On June 1, 2005, I reached an all-time high weight of 230 lbs. with 38% body fat. Sometimes I would black out climbing stairs and would have to stop to regain breath and vision. I simply had to take charge of my health. In the past that meant (1) eat less and (2) exercise more. So I did, once again. But this time I lost 50 lbs. in 4 months. Could I keep it off? I hadn't been very successful at doing that in the past. During this most recent transformation I learned the value of regular massage therapy to heal soreness from intensive workouts, and to alert me to potential dangers ahead. At each massage my therapist urged me to begin yoga and to incorporate yoga into my routine. I resisted for months, but eventually caved and decided to give it a try. I began yoga as a sister-therapy to massage, both of which I engaged to assist in one goal — weight loss.
My first couple of yoga classes were sheer misery, and I seriously questioned the efficacy of a practice that initially appeared to cause further damage, or at least aggravate existing soreness that I had hoped to alleviate. I hurt everywhere and could barely breathe throughout these initial yoga classes. I would just crack up when the instructor would say things like: “You can go into child’s pose anytime you need to rest.” Child’s pose was excruciatingly painful with pressure on the knees, ankles, tops of feet, shoulder stiffness, along with lower back pain. My whole body was screaming to stop the torture. And then the instructor would say: “Be sure to BREATHE.” What! How can you possibly breathe when you’re in so much pain?
Eventually, and after a couple stops and starts, I found that yoga began to deliver benefits to both body and mind. Convergence is a very cool thing. Right at the time I decided to engage yoga on a more regular basis, a new instructor, Yvette Sanchez, arrived at my gym in Edmonds, WA. From her first day of instruction and for three years after, Wednesday evening class with Yvette became a weekly priority. I invited friends to come, and a small, cohesive yoga community developed during those years. A lot is said about the benefits of yoga for mind, body, soul, and breath. Much can be said for the social benefits of a growing yoga community as well.
It's a big world.
Make a connection.
With time, I began to view yoga less as an isolated “tool” to keep me healthy enough for other physical activities, and more as an integral and connected part of a larger group of activities and behaviors that, in combination, contributed to an overall greater sense of physical and mental well-being.
My goals are summarized as follows:
- To acquire a broad knowledge of and appreciation for yoga as a personal life practice.
- To acquire an ability to articulate yoga directions as teacher of a yoga class in language that is as clear, inclusive, and universal as possible.
- To gain insight into varieties of yoga styles that serve specific population groups: children (all ages!), families, those with heat sensitivities (M.S.) or other limiting circumstances requiring modifications of traditional yoga practices and spaces.
- To be open to explore options of additional yoga certification programs, such as yoga therapy.
- To appreciate yoga as one of many useful tools for experiencing life more fully.
In the process of fulfilling these goals, I have participated in these continuing education workshops:
It's about the journey and the destination.
Sometimes you make your own path there.