Winter is challenging. After the stress of the holidays, familial and financial, and the aftermath of all the excitement, the cold has set in. The long dark nights and short days. The pressure of living up to resolutions. Perhaps the ache of loneliness around Valentine’s Day, regardless of relationship status.
But instead, maybe it can be a time of introspection. Into where life is now and where you wish it to be in the future. This is a time of year that I turn inward and process all the ways I have changed, as a great shift occurred in my life around this time in 2013.
Three years ago, I taught my first yoga class and graduated from Nosara Yoga Institute, a yoga teacher. I had begun taking yoga at Mind the Mat in September of 2011, and it started to shift my outlook, allowed me to get through some stressful periods. However, I tended to remain anxious and unhappy. The moments of light that yoga allowed me prompted me to seek further, to sign up for a 200-hour training. The actual process of teacher training transformed me, broke my heart open. I now view my life as the before my heart was open, and the after. In the before, there was sadness, darkness, self-loathing and hopelessness. I couldn’t see the possibility of happiness.
And then everything began to change during training. I made friends who cared about me, flaws and all…and more than anything, when I taught I felt joy. Joy in sharing and also in the confidence that I could be authentic and yet appreciated. My becoming a yoga teacher made me begin to believe in the possibility of happiness, which prompted a period of heartbreaking, soul searching, healing. I eventually emerged delicate -skinned and hopeful and a completely different person, able to see the world through the lens of open heart. I felt ready to start teaching, and began my journey as a teacher at Mind the Mat. I quickly fell in love with sharing my practice with the community of students, and in November of 2013 I began teaching full time.
I have since taught approximately 2,200 classes — the vast majority at Mind the Mat — and shared them with thousands of students. The transformation from a shy, unsure girl who had little self-confidence into the person I am now is almost beyond my belief. I thank all my students for trusting me with their practice. To be a part of their journey, their growth, their evolution, means more than words can ever say. I hope that I give them even the tiniest glimmer of an open heart, of a life where happiness is a choice. That is what yoga has given me, not a guarantee that life will be happy and easy and sorrow free, but one where in spite of all the obstacles, I know have the power to choose happy, to choose how to perceive the struggles, to choose the open heart.
If you feel overwhelmed with life, perhaps stuck in sadness or loneliness, or feel mired by anxiety or stress, I urge you to try yoga. The practice of yoga forces you to push through discomfort, to use your breath to get through hardship, and at the end of class you tend to feel a huge amount of pride and gratitude towards your body for what you have accomplished.
You also open yourself up to relationships with other students and fun! Many of the classes at Mind the Mat are lighthearted and full of whimsy, and with one of the most stressful holidays, Valentine’s Day, this weekend, I have two perfect workshops. The first is tomorrow: Rock and Glow Valentine’s Flow will be a fun and playful take, with glow sticks and white lights, and songs full of love and heartache. I’m teaming up with Susie Farnick on Saturday for Partner Up & Play. Come with a friend or come alone and leave with a friend, and learn ways to enhance your yoga practice!
Mind the Mat also has a whole host of other workshops that are designed to help you explore your yoga or Pilates practice – physically and mentally, and will just maybe help you find ways to get through the stressful times, to get through the times where you feel down about yourself, and might introduce you to some new friends along the way. If you have any questions about yoga, becoming a teacher, or how it can help you in the many facets of your life, shoot me an email!