I actually started experimenting with Yoga when I was, 17 or 18 years old… and I think it was mostly because I was, at one point, a huge fan of the show Dharma and Greg and was obsessed with Dharma who was all flower child, free spirit and Yoga Instructor. I wanted to be like Dharma, so, I attended a Yoga class at a local women’s fitness centre near my home and was by far the youngest person there. I would say this was just before Yoga became as mainstream as it is now.
Fast forward to being about 21-22 years old, and I started attending Hot Yoga classes with a couple of girlfriends as we heard it was a killer work out. I LOVED it! I went to a Bikram studio and would attend a couple times a week loving the feeling of being detoxed and “worked out” at the end of class. To me, this was about fitness and working out. I continued to practice Hot Yoga for a few years, eventually moving from Bikram to Moksha as I found that I liked the slightly cooler rooms and the way the teachers spoke during classes – in Moksha hot yoga classes the teachers don’t stick to the same rigid script and rules as they do in Bikram classes, which sometimes included yelling and telling students not to wipe their sweat or drink water. I guess I was starting to enjoy different elements of the practice aside from the physical work-out. After practising for a couple of years, I eventually stopped as I started going to the gym, and as Yoga was a “fitness class” to me, I didn't feel the need for both.
This takes us up to when I was about 25-26 and I decided I wanted to get back into the Yoga world. I think my fire was re-ignited when a friend of mine who was pregnant enlisted my support at a prenatal yoga class – I was the only non-pregnant person there. I signed up for an intro membership at a new hot yoga studio and re-committed to attending regular classes. After re-introducing classes into my life, I knew that I loved Yoga enough that I wanted to try and become an instructor (just like Dharma! ;)). So, I looked up studio’s that offered Yoga Teacher Trainings, originally looking into hot yoga trainings, but was deterred by the high prices and long time commitments that I would have to take off work. I found a local yoga studio who offered a two year training that involved evening and weekend commitments and went to try a class out there. This class was my first real Hatha style yoga class and it was very different from what I was used to in the Bikram and Moksha studios.
I signed up for my teacher training, which was Hatha and alignment focused, in 2011 and committed fully to it. I absolutely loved it. I was learning and growing in my personal practice and gaining the tools to actually teach this practice to others. Some people in the training were there without any intention of teaching after, just wanting to grow and learn as a practitioner. I was there with a goal - I would complete the training and start teaching! I was very lucky to be able to start teaching at the studio that was training me before I got my certificate. I was absolutely hooked after the first class I subbed.
My practice now looks a lot different than it did when I was in my early twenties. I practice 1-2 times a week, but that isn't always attending a community class or even practising for a whole hour at a time. I have a home practice now and attend the classes that I really want to go to – but it isn't to reach a fitness goal. I am actually not someone who is interested in the “hard core” yoga classes that leave you dripping sweat anymore. My favourite style to practice and teach is more of a “yin and yang” where you are moving your body in a way that feels good, in gentle and active ways. There are weeks that I don’t practice asana (which is only one limb of Yoga), but I find a topic that I am interested to research and read about – currently Ayurveda – and dig into that. A few years ago this would never have happened as I was all about the physical practice. I feel like Yoga isn’t about a class for me at this point, but more of a way of life. That is not to say I am someone living a perfectly harmonious "Yogic life" – but Yoga is something that I think about more off my mat than when I am on it. It seems like another lifetime ago I was practising in that hot room – with carpet! Ew! – and sweating through my clothes, but that was the first step in my Yoga Journey.
If you are wanting to start your Yoga Journey - why not come to the Your Best Yoga "Go with the Flow" class this Thursday?! With no expectation except to just show up on your mat and do YOUR best - whatever that may be - what do you have to lose? And just maybe, this will be the first step to your own Yoga journey :)