What initially inspired you to do yoga?
I was initially inspired to do yoga after realizing I was living an unhealthy lifestyle, and I wanted to make a change. I was lazy about basically everything: school work, working out, and eating healthy. In all honesty, I thought yoga would be the easy way out. I had always been flexible, so I figured yoga would come easily to me...but I guessed wrong!
What do you remember about your first yoga class?
I absolutely hated my first yoga class! I thought it would be all easy stretching, but it required strength and endurance. I remember thinking that downward dog was the worst pose imaginable. I had horrible form and alignment, and I was in child's pose for the majority of class.
What keeps you coming back to your mat everyday?
Growing up, I was a quitter. I tried basketball, ballet, tap, jazz, guitar, etc., and I quit everything within weeks. I didn't fully understand the concepts of patience and persistence. My first few yoga classes were a struggle, but I was tired of being a quitter. I was about to graduate college and I still had no sports I enjoyed playing in my free time. I legitimately feared the gym. I was inactive, and it needed to change. I knew I had to give yoga another chance. For once, I wanted to push myself and get into shape. This was 2 years ago. Now I'm a yoga instructor! Yoga was the first thing I stuck to. The first thing I persisted with until I saw results. I fell in love with yoga, and yoga helped me fall in love with myself. I come back to my mat everyday because each practice reminds me that I'm no longer a quitter. I am a motivated, healthy, strong yogini.
What parts of yoga resonate with you?
The main parts of yoga that resonate most with me are both the physical and spiritual parts. Again, yoga was the first activity I stuck to. Since I've started, I've lost over 30 pounds, and I am currently in the best shape of my life. I've also gotten healthier in my way of thinking. I've learned how to handle and clear negative thoughts and feelings, and connect with my higher self. The asanas and meditation of yoga keep me balanced, healthy, and happy.
How has yoga affected your life? What does it mean to you?
Yoga has completely changed my life. Before yoga, I had little respect and love for myself. I first fell in love with my physical practice. This lead me to take better care of my body. I then found my spiritual practice. I learned that my thoughts manifest into reality, and I've become a more vibrant, positive person. Yoga isn't my hobby. It isn't my job. Yoga is my life, my love, my everything.
How does yoga make you feel? Has it contributed to some healing in your life?
Yoga makes me feel confident, positive, and powerful. I used to block out bad memories. The more I delved into my spiritual practice, the more I realized I had to come to terms with my past. Through meditation, I dug in deep and released years of regret and negativity. Yoga has healed and cleansed my mind, body, and soul.
What makes you avoid yoga? What makes you commit to yoga?
I started yoga because it's not a competition. It's about your own body and your own journey. When yoga is turned into a competition, I avoid it. I'm uncomfortable with the business-side of yoga. When people turn asanas into a competition, I also feel discouraged. I feel committed to yoga when I choose to focus on myself: my own mat, my own body, and my own mind.
What about yoga enables you to help others and change the world for the better?
After becoming more aware of my body, thoughts, and feelings, I've helped close friends and students to do the same. I still learn from other teachers every day, and I always try to spread the knowledge and mindfulness. Awareness and mindfulness are what we need in order to maintain peace, love, and unity in this world.
Do you have a favorite quote that you live by and if so, what is it?
My favorite quote is, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears" - Anthony Robbins