MY YOGA JOURNEY
I discovered Yoga in 1999. I had just recently moved to San Francisco, and I was looking for an activity that would be good exercise and would make me feel amazing about my body and myself. I had heard that Yoga was life-changing and would perhaps hold the things I was looking for. During this time, there was a new trend in the Yoga world: "Hot Yoga", and the appeal of “total body transformation and life-changing workout” that it promised really fed-into my Type-A personality. After 5 years of regular practice I experienced the most ego-shattering and humbling injury in class one day. I overstretched and tore the attachment of my hamstring - the part that connects the muscle to your pelvis. When it happened, I immediately crumbled to the floor - my leg no longer able to support the weight of my body. What had I done to myself? In my desire to achieve this photo-perfect image of a pose, I had ignored the messages of my body, I had sacrificed strength for flexibility, and I had allowed my goal-oriented mind to push so hard that it caused damage. This injury gave me pause, literally. I had to stop my regular hot yoga practice and rethink how I wanted to practice Yoga going forward. I had to go back to square one, to being a beginner. I could barely even bend over my legs, let alone touch my toes. I was angry, scared and crushed.
After a year of really slowing down and getting back to basics with my Yoga practice, my hamstring finally recovered. I realize now that injury was a true gift, and one of my greatest teachers. It showed me how I had allowed my ego to take over in guiding my practice and it showed me where I needed to do the most work - on strengthening my muscles so I didn't rely on my flexibility anymore. It taught me that slowing down, being mindful, and truly listening to the body could be so powerful and transformative. It taught me the importance of focusing on alignment, form, and being present in the process rather than focused on end results. And it was because of this injury that I found teachers who helped me discover the beautifully rich components of the 5000 year old Yoga tradition that go way beyond the physical practice of asana.
Yoga has been and continues to be an integral source of support for me through every transition and stage of my life. It has become a way for me to maintain balance in my body, mind and spirit: a coming home to myself, a way to reground and be present in my body, a way to absorb & process information, and a calming of the mind through focusing on flow of movement.
These lifelong lessons have become the cornerstones to my philosophy as a student and teacher.