I have been practicing Bikram Yoga now for a few years now, and I have seen my practice and life go through many changes. When I started practicing I had no idea about the journey I was beginning, so I get very excited when I see you all starting your own journeys. I was initially, motivated after seeing all my improvements in only three short months. I had lost about 15 pounds and my coworkers told me I was no longer a bully (that still makes me smile). Without noticing, my mannerisms were changing. I was calmer and not so agitated even though I was still in my high stress job. I then bought a book called Bhagavad Gita after about 6 months of practicing because I wanted to learn more and more about this new “exercise” I was doing. I wanted to know more about this practice that was slowly transforming me mentally and physically. I had to open my mind and realize that I had to be willing to truly adapt to a new way of thinking. The more books that I read, the more I wanted to read. The more I learned, the more I began to understand that Yoga was not merely exercise, it was so much more.
In the last few years I have been telling my friends, “Yoga is life. Yoga is everything.” We are all born with purpose and practicing helps you to find out what that purpose is. Yoga has many limbs and branches, and we will form our own connections have our own understanding, but what you will also learn, is that the practice doesn’t end when we leave our mats. No, it becomes a part of you; your work, your family, your day-to-day interactions, your perception of the world, your entire life, and how begin to choose to live that life. For me, I started to make better choices. It became easier to be open and honest in my marriage, with my children, and with my friends. To me, Yoga means union.
When your body, mind and soul become one, you can find peace and be less affected by the turmoil of the environments we live in. My view is that we suffer because of the mind. The mind is powerful and the things we tell ourselves can heal and they can harm. The body is temporary, the soul is eternal, but the mind is neither. That’s the one that we need to work on first. Most of the problems with the body and soul are caused by the mind. A way to true way to happiness is to control the mind. By entering a room at 105 degrees and 40% humidity, I have been able to quiet my mind and rewire my brain. I no longer think I am too fat, or too skinny, to old, or too young… I just think I am “me” and I am finally happy with that. I can think more clearly, and I am perfect. I am who I want to be. I am me – 100% me – even with scars, stretch marks and little yoga shorts. I no longer live on a superficial level. My heart and mind are open to love myself more fully and in turn, to fully love those around me. I know what I want and I get it 100% of the time… all the time. I am focused, I’m not overly emotional and I rarely get truly angry. I taste every bite of my food and enjoy little moments. I am present.
I have finally found my purpose and I love it. I have a new job. My job is to bring yoga to as many people as possible. My purpose is to help people heal themselves and live their best lives. My job is to connect people with themselves and with each other, one posture at a time. I love the people I work with. I love the people in my practice. I love all the stories we carry and all the things that make us unique.
The day I entered that room was the day I started to wake up. To think I was completely sleeping until I was 33 years old! Now that’s sad, but I am happy that I did wake up. And once I did, I decided I wanted to teach yoga to let people know what is possible, and to help them reach for those possibilities. I have not arrived; my journey continues every day with every posture and with every breath I take. Through yoga I get closer. I feel it as it fills my lungs in that room. Something happens when you commit to spending 90 minutes staring and yourself in a mirror while focusing on the breaths that feed you. By doing this you can control your mind, reset your priorities, and then in turn, control your life. You can become happy, healthy and rid yourself and physical and mental anguish. Can the trumpets please begin to play? Lol…I say yes!
Let me leave you with that today. As you begin your yoga journey at ASH, I challenge you to keep going to your mat, look into your own eyes, and continue to reach for self-realization. The recurring theme will always be “come find out who you are.” Once you start waking up your mind, it will all come together – Mind, Body and Spirit.
Awaken Your Mind
Strengthen Your Soul
Heal Your Body