six years ago during my senior year of college on my bedroom floor. I found an app to teach me yoga. I have no idea how I heard about it, but I was hooked right from the start.
Over the next few years, I came across yoga in a variety of ways all across the world. I took my first yoga class at an exercise gym in Los Angeles. I loved my teacher. It grew my practice hugely. Her laughter, her playfulness, and her sweet inspirational additions to what I had so bleakly known as yoga. Not to mention, adding in the power of group energy…
Later in my hometown of Atlanta, I fell into an Ashtanga practice with a very disciplined and motivating teacher. I practiced with her one on one for months. I learned the Ashtanga structure as well as strict discipline to alignment for my hyper-mobile body.
Four months practicing on a beach in Bali introduced me to Hatha. It showed me the power in softness, stillness, and reflection. My years in Asia introduced me to the spiritual elements of a yogic lifestyle. I explored shamanic breath work, tantra, Vipassana meditation and just about anything that intrigued my soul.
My first yoga teacher training was a 200 hr study of Hatha & Ashtanga in the south of India. It was taught by the yin & yang counterparts - the divine feminine & divine masculine - wife & husband. She was the free flowing vinyasa flows and Hatha holds and he was the most disciplined Ashtanga yogi I have ever come across. It was a stark contrast and yet a perfect blend. I spent a month - 13 hours a day, studying, practicing, eating, breathing and living yoga.
During my travels is when I came to see yoga as a lifestyle. It created a shift in the way I had previous interacted with the world - cooking, cleaning, breathing, eating, sitting in traffic and brushing my teeth.
Yoga as a lifestyle has the power to completely alter every experience in our lives..
It is awareness & breath linking life moments.
After moving to Austin, I began teaching donation based yoga classes while deciding what to do with my ‘professional life.’ Photography started to blossom and my yoga practice moved from a teaching to a tool to support my creative endeavors as a personal practice.
A few years in, I came across a Buddhist yoga studio: Dharma Yoga. It quickly became a sanctuary for me. After each hour I spent in this space, I felt elevated by their teachings of partner massage, intentional sequencing, shaking meditation & the spiritual discourse interwoven throughout each class. It eased my mind, body and soul so much so that I decided to do another yoga teacher training. During this 200 hour, 3 month long journey, I gained a vast understanding of how these three elements of our self (mind, body, & soul) collectively process emotion, trauma, and healing. Led by another quintessential divine feminine & masculine partnership, the owners of the studio pushed us outside of our comfort zone to become the best teachers we could possibly be. I learned how to give hands on assists. I learned how to incorporate Thai yoga massage and how to lead prenatal classes. I learned how to tailor a class to the students’ individual needs. And I learned how teach guided meditation and pranayama.
But most importantly, I learned that I have everything within me to be a great yoga teacher and I owe it to the world to share this information.
There was something I had always longed for that yoga provided.
I came to know it as an inner stillness: the quiet space inside my head when nobody else is in there.
Yoga created that sanctuary, that exploration and that stillness for me.
I truly believe that I was put on this earth to hold space & to guide others along the path to healing.
We are not alone in this journey.