Why I Practice Yoga

I started taking yoga classes at the beginning of my career at the ripe age of 24. Over the years, my work with my yoga teachers, my own practice, and my personal development have led to an expanded understanding in my own being. These experiences have created a foundation of gratitude and appreciation in my own being that has made me want to give back to my community through my teaching and service. I’ve recently been involved in a number of projects and services in the area. Through these, I have realized that yoga is one tool that gives me the skills, energy, practice, and understanding to create change.

The truth is in my past that I still find pain and suffering very real. I have experienced great pain, great depression, and great sadness. These are my past moments that I do not want to revisit and have chosen to leave behind them. It helps me to be strong when facing the things of the past and to continue on with my life.

Because of the deep and deep connection I have with each and every person that has ever taught and helped me, I believe that if I can give back with a little bit of my own energy that I will see a huge change in the ways that others view me. 

I’m giving you three goals about myself that I are working toward. I am trying to:

• be open to people and situations that make me more open to change

• be more present with the yoga practice as I teach and as I learn new poses

• learn new meditation and mindfulness practices and share them with others

The first one is to “be open to people and situations that make me more open to change.” I want to be more open when dealing with the everyday. When I first started working in the community at KU Health Sciences, I found that I could not tolerate any negativity. I was very guarded in my thoughts and emotions and I was quick to say what I felt. Then one day, after my first shift as a yoga teacher in the emergency room, in the midst of the chaos I felt that I was going to be sick so bad for weeks. So I said, “I just need to change my attitudes.” I told myself not to take myself so seriously, just accept whatever life may bring. I started noticing that I was more relaxed around everyone during my shifts. Before even my first two hours I was more outgoing and more willing to talk with someone. In fact, I am proud to say that I did not have to make a single call when I started my internship that day.

So I started connecting with people. The way I found my community is through the internet. I have a lot of my friends by email or in person. So I started taking yoga in my basement, in a yoga club, and at some of the popular clubs and yoga studios. I’ve also joined groups, especially around the New Haven Yoga Community and the Hartford Yoga Center. I’ve joined them over the years and found that I was so much more connected with more of my peers now. I have also found that, with a little dedication, I’ve been able to meet more people from other ethnicities. I was not really interested in being part of an international network when I first started, but I have been able to make that happen.

Now I work as an instructor at two of the most well known, but still local studios. If I get the opportunity, I go back there and take classes for a couple hours every other weekend. I take time to try some poses that I haven’t seen in a long time. I’ve come to learn that there’s a wealth of new things I can teach. For example, the poses I did for all of the people when I brought them here to the hospital when I was starting my internship were totally unfamiliar to them. It made me think of the benefits of sharing techniques in a way that helps all participants feel comfortable.

I’m excited to continue the work I’ve done with my teachers and my fellow students. I’ve been fortunate to grow in my teaching as a yoga teacher and the other way, through my own practice.