The journey to wholeness through the path of Yoga.
My first Yoga experience was back in 1998, Chandler Arizona. I was about 17 years old. In some ways I am the same as I was then, but very different from who I am now.
At the time I was athletic, but also a bit of a troublemaker and an artist. I’ve always lived between these two worlds of health and fitness but having a bit of a rebellious streak. Exploring alternatives, living outside the box and challenging the norms.
Which is probably why the Yoga practice resonated with me so deeply right away. Yoga is strength building internally and externally. Also, I feel like to be a Yogi or a Yogini, in a the way, you gotta rebel against old ways of thinking and being in order to grow into your true nature.
My first class was at the YMCA at 17 years old. There is something special that I felt about the practice of yoga. At the time I was studying astrology and metaphysics as I always have! it has been a great interest to me. I love the balance of science and spirituality that Yoga brought to the table even back then through my perception of it.
10 years later, at 27 years old I stepped into my first 200 hour yoga teacher training in Tempe Arizona. Alongside that, I studied therapeutic massage therapy. It was quite a unique program. Within a year I had a 200 hour yoga teaching certificate and also credentials to work as a massage therapist. I did this work in combination for close to a decade.
I wasn’t always in my practice. There were gaps of time even years where I didn’t practice at all, especially in my 20s. However there was something about the practice that kept calling me back; time and time again. I would land on my yoga mat and meet myself at different ages, stages and forms of self.
Often I would seek refuge in the practice when I was going through something challenging or traumatic in my life. It often, with great grace, got me through the other side, a whole person. A more integrated human.
My first Yoga community was in Portland Oregon. The studio was called Santosha Yoga and it was owned by these two lovely women that played an integral part of my growth, healing and teaching. I practiced at the studio for eight years and I taught there for six. Most of my friends came from that community, it was my family.
Living in Portland I had access to many amazing teachers, studios and even famous guest teachers that would often travel through the city and teach workshops.
As each teacher (seasoned and green) had something unique to share in a different perspective to be known, I felt the same about the practice of Yoga. The practice brought me great peace, helping me to align with truth and coax me back home to my center.
Being a Yoga practitioner for almost 2 decades and teaching for nine years I have walked through many challenges and adversities on and off my Yoga mat. I would have to say that the one thing that kept me whole, even in the perceived brokenness was the light of the Yoga practice.
Often we think that Yoga is just a physical manifestation in our body. The more I practiced and learned about myself, I found that the real practice is the one that cannot be seen physically within a Yoga pose. Rather; the radiance of ourselves, our light and aura, is the marker on the road to emerging and awakening within.
The practice becomes the heart of how we live our lives from a place of presence, alignment, true purpose and calling.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word that can translate roughly to wholeness, to unite or integrate. Ultimately this practice, I believe; is a healing practice that allows us to be who we are, as we are. Cultivating compassion, acceptance and humility along our trajectory of growth and expansion.
Accepting ourselves fully, with great love even the dark things! Even the hard things! Especially those things! Brings us hOMe to the freedom within.
If we are constantly compartmentalizing or pushing all the dimensions of ourselves that we do not like, or “approve of” it is challenging to return to our intrinsic wholesness.
Each lesson in life is but a great teacher that is meant to guide us back to our soul self, the atman. Through the unification of self, we then begin to expand the matrix of unification beyond the self.
The work takes great courage. The work starts on the inside, with desire and intention. Stepping into all the unknown spaces of our mind and hearts that maybe we have suppressed or been afraid to look at as a part of our wholeness.
The practice of Yoga or wholeness can then integrate through our whole being and beyond. The practice then overtime becomes less about doing and more about being.
We already are the Yoga, and in the practice of remembrance we are assisting in peeling back the shrouds and the layers that get in the way of our light and truth.
We are already whole, complete and filled with great light and love. The Yoga practice helps us to navigate our humanness, samskaras, and tendencies with more awareness and compassion. And with practice, lots of practice! We then may find and experience all we are, and all that we are truly unified with as a whole in each moment, as it’s unfolding.
Happy practicing! Keep going.