My Yoga Evolution
My first introduction to yoga was a class at a gym I was a member at in high school. I arrived with no expectations and left having experienced my most beautiful, mind-opening meditation. After this class, I knew there was something more.
My physical practice continued at that gym and moved into free offerings at my college, and finally yoga studios back home. My goals were usually physical - find the deepest twist I can manage - bend my back until my head is on the ground - by the end of the year, I'll have the splits. At this point, I had been struggling with chronic back pain and SI joint disfunction for years (from my 13-year dance background, Lyme disease, and personal skeletal and muscular structure) and believed that yoga would heal me. I've heard the quotes "I bend so I don't break" - "The moment you want to leave a pose is the moment you should stay" - "How you do anything is how you do everything" - and my interpretation of those words in a yoga class context were: If I'm not giving my physical yoga practice 110% then I will not be healed.
But nothing was changing. In fact, things were getting worse. The more I physically practiced yoga poses, the more pain I would feel at home. I couldn't sleep, unload the dishwasher, pick up my cat, walk up stairs, without pain. I continued to see my chiropractor and now started seeing a physical therapist. I found my life's purpose at at program at Kripalu. I started my 200hr YTT. I found inspiration through the teachings of Alex Crow. I started seeing a movement coach. I began working with a life coach. Finally I was feeling better. My physical yoga practice started changing - through adding in new movements, incorporating modifications, I slowly begin the unveiling of my misconception of yoga.
Still, though, things happen.
A new injury occurred - one that had been developing overtime - my shoulders started to give out.
WTF, MAN. Sometimes I feel absolutely ancient.
The good news is, wisdom comes with age!
My personal practice has changed drastically, and so has my teaching. I've taken my experiences with pain along with inspiration from every single one of my teachers and have created my own teaching style. I won't lead you through headstands. I won't show you an arm balance. I won't tell you to give anything 110%.
What I can promise you is that it is my greatest intention that you are safe, that you are less likely to be injured short or long term, that you are able to listen to your own body and move freely within your current boundaries. My only hope is that even for one moment in my classes, you feel total ownership of your destiny - total ownership of your body - total ownership of and respect for your current boundaries and limitations.
I hope to see you on your mat - I'd love to see us both evolve.