WHEN & WHY DID YOU START PRACTICING YOGA?
I was introduced to yoga at the age of 16. My dear brother had died a year earlier and I was struggling with the immense loss. My dad was a chiropractor in a small town in Iowa and one of his patients was a trained Iyengar instructor from Australia. She traded adjustments for teachings in my basement (the local churches boycotted the gym where she initially tried to offer classes). Needless to say, I benefited tremendously from the physical and spiritual practice of yoga. It has been an integral part of my journey since.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?
I love that it is a time when I can be in the moment and unaware of time. I have never thought "when will this be over" . . . I have truly had a deep respect and connection to the moments that unfold during my practice. I also appreciate that it is both physical and spiritual. The physical part appeals to my need for movement and sense of strength. The spiritual part appeals to my need for reflection and introspection (as well as suspension of thought). It has also evolved over the years and I have learned to be humble and patient with myself when injuries restrict my mobility.
ARE YOU CURRENTLY FACING ANY STRUGGLES OR CHALLENGES WITHIN YOUR PRACTICE?
Yes! Headstands and handstands and plow pose. In the first two, I am afraid of falling and plow pose has been challenging since experiencing a low back injury.
Currently it is tree pose.
FAVORITE QUOTE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
"Comparison is the thief of joy". -Theodore Roosevelt
WHEN & WHY DID YOU START:
My first yoga class was in Maple Valley in the fall of 2011. I was going through a rough time in my family life, and also had just gone back to work 3 months after having my third child. Hot yoga studios were popping up left and right, but I wasn't sure if it was for me. I was always more of an individual workout person up until that point. I had never been a member of a gym, and preferred jogging outside and lap swimming in lakes and pools. I wanted to open myself up to some soul searching, and went to my first yoga class hoping to find some peace and acceptance of myself. What I found was exactly what I was hoping for, and more. I had never been pushed in my workouts before, that was a great thing for me. There was no going back!
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE:
I love that yoga is always there for me. What I've learned is that no matter how tired I am, I will never regret going to class, but I will always regret NOT going! Yoga cleanses me physically and mentally: I love to sweat it out on the mat. I love being in class, closing my eyes, and feeling the energy and encouraging thoughts of those around me. 5 years ago, I wouldn't have been so open to that. When you open yourself up, it's amazing what comes back to you. Also, about 2 years ago I lost one of my closest friends to cancer, Elements was a sanctuary for me leading up to and after that time.
ARE YOU CURRENTLY FACING ANY CHALLENGES WITHIN YOUR PRACTICE?
There are always struggles. Mainly I have been trying to get my lower ab strength up. After all these years, I still can't master simple things like low boat, and holding plank for long periods of time without dropping to my knees. I try to remind myself about the times I suddenly made a breakthrough, like in side crow, or a strong half moon without assistance from the ground, or bird of paradise. Breakthroughs sometimes happen out of nowhere, which is certainly encouraging! I hope to be able to be strong in a handstand someday. And I'm getting soooo close to being able to do the splits.
Any chest openers since I word at a computer all day. Headstands are a favorite because they feel almost effortless. Whereas side crow I love because they take effort, but it feels so good once you get into it!
Here are a few:
Be kind. - Anonymous
You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be. -Elizabeth Gilbert
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man, true mobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. - Sylvia Plath
Let that shit go. - Anonymous