Prior to practicing yoga, I had been operating on auto-pilot my whole life, just reacting to every moment, every circumstance. Now, I feel, I flow, I love and I grow, with grace.
I remember awhile back, my friend telling me that I needed to work on my hugs. What a simple concept, but such an obvious metaphor for where I was in life!
Yoga helps you love yourself and therefore love all things ~ good and bad. It's not so much the practice on the mat ~ the sun salutations or the poses you can or can't get into that are working for you, it's the whole process. It's getting there.
It's being uncomfortable with sweating, with the person next to you grunting or groaning, with the hard to hear teacher, with the unknown cues that are being called out, with the thoughts of your hair being frizzy, your clumsy vinyasa, the nausea, the unbearable heat and smells of subway or starbucks wafting in through the windows next door. All of that IS your yoga practice!
So many clients say to me that they'd love to try yoga but they'd prefer doing home practices first before going to a group class. They want to know what they're doing so they feel comfortable with the poses, so they can 'warm' up and not be embarrassed being 'unflexible'. Here's a little secret ~ if you can't touch your toes, it just means you feel the pose before the person who reaches beyond their toes does! Flexibility has NOTHING to do with yoga!!!!
Every yoga practice meets you where you're supposed to be. For instance, I started my yoga practice with kundalini, which then evolved into Naam, to Power Yoga, to my now favorite grounding, more restorative, more of a slow flow style vinyasa class.
Your practice evolves as you evolve. It's one in the same. It mirrors wherever you are. When I first started I was really into breath work and chanting with mantras (more energetic based). I needed it at that time to really get into meditation, to activate my intuition, and to open my heart quickly. I became very connected to the ethers then, but just when I needed to get grounded, Power Yoga showed up for me, making me stronger and more connected to my body and the strength I needed on the mat.
Now, I practice being balanced in my slow flow vinyasa style which is somewhere in the middle of power and kundalini, just as I've found with my eating habits that have swung from strict macrobiotic vegan, to ayurveda, to this new moderate place of enjoying a little bit of everything.
I hear so many clients and friends talk about how they want to find their soulmate, or their life calling / career, or just less stress and chaos in their lives, and I say to them, DO YOGA!!! Seriously. It works! Just get on the mat. I promise you, it will take you wherever you want to go in life. Your life is waiting for you, so what are you waiting for? Sign up for a class already!
Some tips to get you started are below:
~Find a teacher you connect with / love!
If you're in the Cape Cod area, I recommend taking the amazing Mary Catherine Starr's efficiently taught, well balanced class at either Centerville Yoga, Power Yoga of Cape Cod or Orleans Yoga and Pilates.
I also recommend Leigh Alberti's awesomely grounding style of teaching at Power Yoga of Cape Cod.
Tracy Peterson's a good place to start with at Centerville Yoga.
Rhia Cataldo's spirit soaring style at Power Yoga of Cape Cod or Glow Yoga.
Jill Abraham's inspiring and motivational class at Power Yoga of Cape Cod.
Michele Damelio's Kundalini and Naam fusion at her home in West Barnstable.
~Use Props! Don't be afraid! I always use a block to bring the floor closer to me in any hamstring or hip opener pose! Blankets or bolsters work nicely too for seated meditations or restorative, yin style poses. Straps also help you bring your legs closer to your body or help to open your shoulders.
Lastly, open yourself up to getting comfortable with the uncomfortable! I remember when I first started practicing Power Yoga, that I would cringe knowing that my hair was getting wet with sweat or that I was overheating immensely, but now, I just let it happen...much like I let lots of other things happen in life. I tell ya, it's a miracle what starts shifting for you when you just show up to a yoga class!
Namaste and Sat Nam Yogis!