Thanks for sharing such an interesting journey through Yoga in your life, (it could be a good title for a book, btw) I really enjoy your post, and I'm sure you'll inspire your students. What a nice way to enjoy Yoga and pass it along to many other people that will discover it or re-discover it through you. Do you know Shiva Rea's dvd about Yoga Trance Dance?
I really liked your post, thanks for sharing it with us. I think it is great that you have started the teacher trainings, sounds to me like you will be a good teacher after you have finished all the training you want to do.
I've been a member of this team for a while now and read posts, but I don't think I've introduced myself yet. This is, in part, because I tend to feel shy in talking about yoga. Because it's very important to me. Warning: very long post - once I started it was hard to stop! LOL
I started doing yoga some time in the nineties, I think 1996 or so. Back then my 'opinion' was that 'I didn't believe in yoga'. I only went to a class to support a friend of mine who had asked me to come along; she wanted to try yoga to help her with tensions and headaches. So I was a big skeptic. I didn't expect ANYTHING, just went there because my friend asked me.
The bigger was my surprise to realize, after a few lessons, that I went home after a class humming and whistling. I had never done anything in particular to relax my body and was not aware of my body enough to realize that things like exercise (which I hated, to be honest) and dancing (which I loved but didn't do very often) made a difference in how I felt. I just disliked getting sweaty! Well, that was one thing that didn't happen in the yoga classes. Now, in hindsight, I know that I had a VERY good teacher, who had been studying in India and other countries and who was a very gentle and very serious practicioner of yoga. Before and after class we'd drink tea and while he 'chatted' I just thought he was very nice, friendly, and I liked that. I didn't realize at all that his kindness and his attitude were probably the result of his spiritual training (and I probably couldn't have cared less, back then - now, that's different).
Fast forwarding... The center went bankrupt so the yoga lessons there were discontinued. I decided to enroll in a class in another nearby village (yoga classes were pretty rare back then and there were no other yoga teachers in the village I then lived in). I still liked the way the exercises helped me stretch and relax physically but I was surprised to find that the woman teaching that second class did not have that same 'impact' on me - I was not 'touched' by her or her lessons the way I had been. So I stopped doing yoga.
Years later however, after I'd moved to a bigger town, when I was in a bad condition, having been quite ill and overburdened, I saw a few yoga exercises mentioned in the book 'Fit for Life' and remembered the beneficial effects the yoga had had on me. Feeling lost and looking for anything that might help me improve my situation, I found a flyer in the library and called the teacher. I was immediately impressed with that same kind 'vibration' that I had known during my first yoga class, and I decided to 'try' yoga to help me feel better..
I never regretted it. I realize I could probably go on and on to write about how I enjoyed yoga and how I feel it helped me, but I'd better not do that in this thread. All I can say is that at some point I, that same person who never enjoyed 'exercise', at some point started to do yoga exercises at home, daily, and it became a steady routine. I missed doing them if I skipped a few days. I did them to improve my 'state of mind' (inner calm) and to relax, not to 'lose weight' or 'train my muscles'. But in a sneaky way the yoga influences so much of my attitudes and choices!
So in the meantime I think the yoga HAS, in many ways, contributed to my overall health, so my physical condtion was definitely influenced by it, but in a gentle gradual way, not as the result of a 'serious and radical choice to improve myself' (lol, not that I don't tend to try that so often!). It also has had an impact on my intuitive development, my inner and outer balance, and my appreciation of life. If I should manage to reach my 'goal weight' and develop steady healthy eating habits, I am sure that in part that will happen because of the positive impact that yoga has had and still has on my life.
Six years ago I lost about fifty pounds using a method that involved eating a lot of vegetables and fruit and avoiding processed foods. My guess is that it was also my experience with yoga, having developed a certain degree of 'body conciousness' that allowed me to recognize that the method was doing me good, motivating me to continue. I did gain back some of the weight but I did not forget the valuable lessons I learned about food and how what I eat influences how I feel. It was the same once I finally did begin to 'exercise' - I started taking bike rides out in nature and because doing yoga helped me be more aware of my body, how it feels, what it experiences, I was able to realize that even THOUGH I got sweaty on the bike, I was also feeling good and enjoying the fresh air and the sight of the trees and the sounds of the birds.
I'm quite thankful to all these people who over the course of ages and ages have practiced yoga and bothered to pass on what they found.
The 'end' (of this story here but not the story of 'yoga in my life') is that I enrolled in a yoga teacher training last year. I followed that training for one year, and now recently switched to another training. The training is in a kind of yoga that has a lot of influences from qi gong and dance - two other 'non-exercise' methods of moving one's body - apparently I feel safer that way!
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