Some people are brought into yoga for the pleasures of each asana, some are driven to yoga to help with the pain of life … Which person were you if any at all?
Yoga was a gift given to me in order to help me deal with accepting the fact that the chaos I had gone through was indeed my life. No more living in denial.
How did you get introduced to yoga?
I want to say that yoga found me. It wasn’t as if I knew from the jump that I needed yoga. I was researching for relief. Trying to find ways that I could slowly unwind some of the chaos that I’d been desperately hiding from myself. Yoga and meditation just happened to be what I looked into first.
Which do you value more & why… the physique that yoga provides with daily practice or the mental stability you gain from a disciplined routine?
For me personally, a sound mind holds much more value. I think of my time on the mat as sacred. It is where I uncover truths about myself that may have been buried under years of doubt and lies. Without that stability or – I wouldn’t practice at all. Sometimes I won’t step foot on my mat until I’m calm enough to begin.
Think back … Was there ever was a critical moment you knew you would have made better decision if you were practicing yoga/meditation…what was that moment and what would to say to convince yourself to practice yoga sooner?
Yes, I remember like it was yesterday. It was around age 17-18 when my anger was out of control. I had been arguing with my father for an hour and finally decided I’d had enough and tried to fight him. I knew then that something in my life was off. I’d tried to fight the only man that had ever shown me consistent love. I knew that I was no longer angry –
I had BECOME anger. I don’t believe I could’ve convinced myself to practice any sooner to be honest. I believe everything has its time and at that moment I had just begun to wake up so to speak. I didn’t even begin a consistent practice until 19 – at 19 I was ready to commit to healing.
How important is it to feel comfortable with your appearance and can yoga help reach that secure perspective of self?
As a young woman who has suffered with self-destructive habits, like restrictive eating – it is incredibly important to feel comfortable with you. YOU have to live with YOU for the rest of your life. At the end of the day, you are who you are. Your genetics are your genetics. Looking back it was such a waste of time hating myself for things I could not change. Yoga was my wakeup call. Yoga has helped me to be grateful for my body. It has taught me that with every “flaw” there is beauty and strength. I find myself thanking my body as I work through each asana. I might take a minute to think about how far I’ve come with acceptance. So YES, yoga can help you fall in love with you IF you allow it to do so.
Which do you prefer more and why..doing yoga by yourself or in a classroom/ public setting?
I prefer doing yoga in a private setting only because I didn’t like what I saw from a few classes that I participated it in but I’m sure that’s not all of them. I also prefer to practice in a private setting because yoga is my time. When I practice yoga – all sorts of emotions, thoughts, and breakthroughs come about. I need the time to feel whatever it is I’m feeling and I do that best when it is just my mat and I.
What is one of the most important principles you apply during a yoga session and how does that carry over to when you are off of the mat? ex: (setting intentions, alignment ,breathing etc)
Oh boy, great question and a difficult choice to make. I want to say breathing but I’m going to go with setting intentions. When I set an intention for my practice in a way its like I’m telling myself to focus. I set the tone for my practice. I believe in a lot of ways that focus plays a huge part in my daily interactions. I often learn something from the intentions I’ve set and I carry these
things with me throughout my day. They are like little reminders to remain in a good headspace.
What are some of the things in life that throw you off balance and In what way does yoga center you and put your mind state back in the place it should be?
Where do I even begin? There is one specific area in life that continually throws me off balance and I believe it is very common for a lot of people. That area is – thinking about my future. I’m very much opposed to uncertainty (read afraid of uncertainty). I don’t like being unsure about what is coming next or being unprepared. However yoga has brought me to a place of understanding that you HAVE to live in the moment to stay grounded. I mean seriously, I can barely figure out what I want to eat for dinner – what sense does is make to worry about 7 years from now?
What would you say to the young lady that does not know where to start her yoga practice and becomes overwhelmed from so many styles of yoga?
I would tell her to pause and take a minute to check in with herself. What does she feel she needs and what are her reasons for wanting to begin a yoga practice? She’ll find her answer there because in that moment her practice has already begun. In general however, I would say begin looking at various sources. Hatha yoga is always a great place to start because of the pace and she can really get a feel for the way her body moves and where her mind is. She can also find plenty of beginner yoga flows on YouTube or fun challenges on IG. As always however she should definitely do her reading and research to get the most out of her practice.
Why do you think most people are attracted to the Indian philosophy if yoga versus the Kemetic philosophy?
I believe it simply has to do with the fact that no matter how hard you try – our thinking is often very influenced, partially because we were never taught to think for ourselves. I think if people would understand that an open mind doesn’t mean acceptance of everything you read but rather understanding what you read and creating an idea that is your own – then maybe the attraction would change.
Have you had any mystical experiences or had to explain sensations during meditation?
EVERY time I meditate – I forget where I am but understand further who I am. However I have had one experience in particular where I had been cleaning my heart of some nonsense I had been holding onto (anger, sadness, betrayal) and the tears just wouldn’t stop flowing – I’m talking those type of tears where you can’t breathe and you’re shaking. I’ve never felt a release like that before in my life. It was a great moment.
How has yoga changed your perspective on your personal life as well as how you look at other people?
Oh man, since beginning yoga – I refuse to allow myself to go a day without smiling or laughing. The amount of gratitude I have for everyday that I am here on Earth has skyrocketed. I no longer allow myself to get angry with others because I’m responsible for anything and everything that I want to feel. I don’t judge others as harshly as I once did because who am I to say anything? My vulnerability and transparency has increased tenfold. If I can share my dirt to help you get over yours – you bet I’ll do it. Cry with you? Sure. I love people – genuinely. Not because they did something for me but because they are here and because they have a purpose just like I do.
Is there anything you else you would like to share with the readers of infocus247.com ?
You are worth getting to know. I know you may have gone through some difficult times in your life but you cannot be afraid to thrive. Now is your time.