i started doing yoga unbeknownst to me in the 8th grade. i was stranded at home in a snowstorm and slowly going nuts from nothing to do besides sled down our gigantic hill (and i love sledding, needless to say). my mom casually suggested i try a VHS video by raquel welch called, “total body fitness.” i had nothing else to do. what i found was the mental concentration and movement of my body was just what i wanted, it made me feel so good. (i had no idea that the poses in her video are the 26 Bikram Yoga poses, which i still do today and still clear my head and make my entire body feel amazing, i have done research to find the connection between her video and Bikram, but haven’t found anything there yet.)
in high school, i mountain biked on the hills of Tennessee and played volleyball. when i got to college, i found myself gaining weight and unhappy. i still worked out, but was very uncomfortable in my skin. after college, i got married and moved to Virginia. my marriage was very unhappy. i won’t go into all the details, but i was slowly slipping into someone i did not want to be. i was active (thank goodness) but miserable. it was a series of unfortunate events that lead to something so beautiful, that is now my life.
in 2006, i left. it was so scary and received so much ridicule from being in a very, very fundamental christian environment and deciding that divorce was for me. i was lost. luckily, i stumbled upon dave farmar on itunes leading a vinyasa flow podcast. i will forever credit him as helping me through this process, though i have never actually met the guy (thank goodness for technology). i started doing yoga every day. his manner of being real opened me up physically and emotionally (it was during this time i would repetitively cry on my mat). but, my body started changing. pretty soon, i dropped a lot of weight and my free spirit smile returned.
when i started doing vinyasa flow yoga with dave farmar, i was listening to him on a podcast, as i mentioned. i had no earthly idea what side crow meant or utkatasana meant, but i would pause the podcast, google the pose, and then go right back to doing the vinyasa. that year, i learned so much. i also attended classes led by a woman who told us that her MS had all but disappeared from practicing yoga. she taught a private class for my mom and i, and i loved being in her presence.
moving to knoxville in 2010 opened up 1 billion doors. i found a great job, a great mountain biking community, a small wealth of artistic opportunities and my future husband. life was so grand. through my future husband, i met his cousin, a certified yoga instructor who taught me the illusive side crow (in a matter of 2 minutes) and we started doing yoga challenges last summer together on instagram). this has poured me over into reading books, magazines, and starting this blog about yoga. through the inspiration of yogis such as kino macgregor, kerri verna, shiva rea and a slew of others, i am learning constantly about new postures, new alignments, breath, health and my life is so sunny right now, i couldn’t be more thrilled to be on this journey.
my journey has become a practice. it is called a practice because that is exactly what you must do! if i take off on a new mountain bike trail, i am hesitant, nervous, unsure. if i continue to ride it, it becomes second nature. this is why we practice the things we want to become better at someday. my practice is something i continue to grow in, to move my body in, to become more stable and knowledgeable. it is something that i feel i will never be a master of, and therefore it challenges me consistently. i have never stepped on my yoga mat and not been rewarded. currently, i am attempting to do a portion of the primary series in ashtanga yoga (it is so difficult). at the same time, i have made a promise to myself to learn as much as i can about yoga, it’s benefits and my goal is to share this with others.