Making yoga your living practice changes your life in truly profound and tangible ways.

In the Spring of 2012 I decided to get certified in teaching yoga on a whim. I’d left a late night class at my home studio in Ballard and found myself practically skipping and floating (on cloud 9) the whole way home. When you practice purposefully and consistently, yoga develops into more than just a workout but an ever-replenishing fountain of personal bliss, both physically and emotionally.

 

The benefits that I began to realize in yoga were unlike any I’d found in the traditional sports I grew up playing. Beyond just developing an impressive amount of flexibility and muscular strength, I began to hone a sense of internal awareness that I’d never really even tapped into. Through the utilization of breath (prana) with posture I began (for the first time ever maybe) to listen to my body.  Cooperatively engaging with my hips, my spine, even my neck – I learned what it meant to traction my spine and I have to admit: my mind was blown!

How had I gone decades without ever truly turning inwards and connecting with my inner body?

Then came the realization that without fail, yoga was a tool for relaxation and ultimate grounding.

JonnaI am your typical TYPE A “Career Woman” and I move at speeds that might at times border on scary. My mat, and that one solitary hour in class, became a practice of detachment. Detachment from all that really does not serve my higher Self. Now I know that dips right into the hippie language that might begin to make your eyes glaze but truly: a vast majority of what I (and maybe you) spend doing every day does little to relax my muscles, quiet my mind and nurture my spirit. While I actually enjoy a fast-paced and active style, it’s now become apparent how vital and rewarding it is to give myself just one hour of grounding. My time on my mat is the one space where I can’t plug into social media, I can’t drown out my inner voice with worldly distractions and I can just be. Just listen. Just feel. The quote above is taken directly from the Yoga Sutras (1.13) and my application of this personally is that through yoga, I am given the tools, space and time to detach from all that opposes my inner freedom and inspires me, rather obligates me to not only seek but find and develop that higher path or higher love (in the words of Steve Winwood).

Another added benefit that I came to admire in yoga (particularly coming from an athletic background) was the fact that there is always room for growth and improvement but there are also tiny acknowledgements of growth and development in every single class. For example, I was one of those dedicated athletes that read about athletes like Michael Jordon that practiced diligently for hours in their craft whether it be shooting 500 free throws every day after school or reading books upon books about form and alignment. But it dawned on me (not until early adulthood) that sports are often very limited to the physicality and anatomical make-up that you show up with at birth. This is a disheartening realization because for most people this means that no amount of hard work will surpass my physical limitations. I will never dunk like Michael Jordan [gasp]. But yoga is different. I’ve seen practitioners of all ages, heights and sizes perform at supreme levels and yet they too can always work to do more and succeed further.

There is always room for more growth and success.

Yes, some postures may take years longer than others to master or even execute but there are very few absolute limitations.  And that I find empowering.

So there’s my super long elevator speech on why I practice yoga. The final piece, which might be more difficult to grasp or understand if you don’t practice is what I’ve only just begun to tap into: the magic of yoga (or so I call it). Since dedicating my practice to the study of yoga and the holistic application of yoga in all its forms (or 8 limbs – I’ll get into that later), I’ve discovered just a teeny tiny glimpse at enlightenment.  [Don’t laugh yet]  I’ve spent the last couple years living my yoga to the best of my ability and work daily to take my yoga off the mat and into every aspect of my life outside the studio. The work here is the foundation of personal manifestation and that is the magic. It’s hard to put to words but making yoga your living practice changes your life (and has mine) in truly profound and tangible ways. This process of personal growth has sparked a desire to sharpen and refine these skills and work to nurture and encourage (and coach) this “magic”, this power of personal manifestation, this yoga in others.

I completed my RYT 200 Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training Course via Alchemy of Yoga at Haute Yoga of Queen Anne and the tutelage of my guru, mentor and kula, Silvia Mordini.  I recently went on to complete an Extensions Advanced Teacher Training Course through Core Power Studio in Ballard and found it to be a wonderful and practical application to my yoga education.

This page will serve as a blog or portal into that exploration and development on my yogic path, both on and off the mat.

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