Yoga has been a part of my life on and off for the last 15 years. I dabbled in yoga in my twenties, doing the odd yoga video at home. Six years ago, I attended a few hot yoga classes at Zen Zone in Brandon, but then my fitness direction turned to strength training and cardio. For the past five years, I've worked out with a great personal trainer located nearby, my best friend Leah, and attended boot camps with the Kenton and Lenore girls regularly. I enjoyed my fitness routine and never missed a boot camp or workout without a good reason.
That all began to change this past winter. I started teaching at Brandon University, in addition to teaching full-time, and I was exhausted and overwhelmed all the time. As much as I loved teaching big kids and little kids, I was unsettled and discontent but couldn't put my finger on what was wrong. I no longer felt like pushing my body at the gym, and when Leah suggested private yoga sessions with our local yogini Kaycelyn Rosales-Knight, I immediately agreed. We started Sunday sessions with Kayce at the end of January, and from my first session I was hooked. I loved the physical challenge of the poses, the stretching, and the breathing. And I loved how our sessions focused on wellness and setting intentions and listening to our bodies. Visit Kayce's Facebook page to learn more about her classes if you're in the Westman area!
I loved our weekly yoga sessions so much that I wanted to start practicing daily. One of my friends had mentioned that she had done a 30 day yoga challenge. I looked it up online and found a yoga challenge with a yogi named Adriene. Although her incessant chatter really annoyed me, I looked forward to my mornings on my mat with her and she helped me move forward with my practice. Check out Yoga with Adriene here! There's lots of great free resources. At this time, I began attending hot yoga and vinyasa flow classes at Zen Zone in Brandon. My favourite Saturday morning routine was a yoga class followed by Starbucks and shopping, often with Leah. I began to challenge myself with poses like crow and wheel and noticed myself getting stronger. When I finished my 30 day challenge with Adriene, I started a new one with Erin Motz. Erin is my favourite online yoga instructor and she's known as the "bad yogi" because she eats red meat, drinks red wine, and takes a very modern, no-nonsense approach to yoga. She has a free challenge here.
Yoga began to impact my life in positive ways. Waking up in the morning became so much easier when I could look forward to a cup of my favourite tea and a half hour on my mat. My favourite thing to do on the weekend was yoga on the deck, weather permitting. I became one of those people who posted pictures of herself doing yoga poses. I traveled with my yoga mat, practicing in my hotel room or taking in a class at a nearby studio. When I was upset or stressed out, I always felt better after yoga. I began to use it as a positive tool to cope. And when I had a physical problem, I'd Google, "Yoga poses for ______" and use those poses to help what was troubling me. When I first began making plans to travel, it was Kayce who suggested to me that I consider doing my yoga teacher training while I traveled. The more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me. I would get to study yoga, I'd acquire a new skill, I'd meet new people, and travel the world. I looked at a number of different yoga teacher trainings, but ended up selecting a transformational Hatha yoga course with Kayce's advice. The location was beautiful, the teachers highly qualified, and Hatha yoga is a very accessible yoga practice for people of all skill levels. After nearly three weeks here, I am very confident that I made the right decision! Not only have I improved my physical practice, but I feel that I've been given so many new tools (mantra, meditation, and breathing) to be a healthier person physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
I'm not sure where yoga will take me next. I'd definitely like to do another teacher training, maybe studying vinyasa as it is a style that I absolutely love and feel very at home with. I'm excited to share my practice with others when I return home to Manitoba, but I'm not exactly sure how that will look yet. What I do know is that yoga is a permanent part of my life and has had a hugely positive impact on me already. If you'd like to make yoga a part of your life, consider trying some of the resources I mentioned above. It doesn't get a lot easier than starting with an online video in the privacy of your living room. If you have access to a yoga studio with classes, don't be intimidated. I've found the yoga community to be warm, supportive, and welcoming. And anyone who understands what yoga really is will never judge you on your ability to do a headstand or how low you can sink in chair pose! Or consider starting with meditation--I've listed a couple of good apps in previous posts that make it easy to begin. Whatever you choose, you'll feel so much better after only a session or two, I promise! And just remember, "Anybody can breathe Therefore anybody can practice yoga."
Highlights from Today
I took off my ring while I was doing dishes today and absentmindedly set it somewhere. After waking up from my afternoon nap, I noticed that I wasn't wearing my ring. I began to look for it and couldn't find it anywhere. I was becoming really worried when the only man in our group (he's from France) told me not to worry, that he would get out his tarot cards and they would tell him where it was. (See previous post, he's a tarot card reader to the stars and has a program on Asian TV, Really.) Well he produced his tarot cards, asked them a question, and located my ring in under 30 seconds. I was super impressed and grateful!
And my friend J taught her first class! Lovely, calm, and relaxing, it was a perfect ending to the day!
And in other breaking news, we had lasagna for lunch with spinach, pesto, and ricotta cheese. Absolutely delicious! Thanks Chef Leonardo :)