My Yoga story began before I stepped foot into a Yoga class.
I was travelling through Peru, and like most eighteen year olds on their first adventure away from home, was contemplating a tattoo. I had a few ideas floating around my head as to what to get, but then while walking through Cusco, came across a Yoga studio which had a giant Om symbol in the entryway. Beneath it read a definition: truth, consciousness, bliss. I was drawn to the symbol and its meaning in a way I didn't fully understand at the time. I decided that if I were to get a tattoo, that was what I would get. I didn't end up getting the tattoo, but a seed had been planted and began to be watered months later when I returned home to Canada.
When I returned home, I was still in my gap year between high school and university, working full time as a barista at Starbucks. I was working the 5am shift pretty much every day, which meant I was in bed early and working long, eight and a half hour days. My young body was feeling stiff and like it needed to move, but at the time I felt lost as to where to go other than the gym. My mom suggested I try Yoga.
I found a studio close to my parents house, and went to an Ashtanga Yoga class. I was hooked! The whole first class, I felt my body move in ways it had been craving for what felt like my entire lifetime. I spent the whole class completely challenged, completely sore, and completely in love. I started practicing as often as I could, which ended up being about five time a week. My Yoga habit was beginning to become costly, so I started looking for ways I could make it a bit more affordable.
Around that same time, I had a regular customer at Starbucks that had been away for awhile and came back one day glowing and radiant. I asked where she had been, and she replied, "Yoga Teacher Training." The wheels in my head started turning - becoming a teacher wasn't something I had considered before! Even if I could teach one class per week at a studio in exchange for a monthly pass - I would be able to make Yoga much more affordable.
I had only about three months of consistent practice under my belt, but decided that was enough - Yoga Teacher Training couldn't be that hard, right? Through this regular Starbucks client who I actually never saw again after that day, I found a school that had a training running in Spain. It was only a couple months away, but I felt a pull I couldn't ignore.
It turns out Yoga Teacher Training is no cakewalk, and although humbled, I again felt like Yoga was tying up all the loose ends of my life, affirming my beliefs and providing me with the tools to live a joyous, full life.
Fast forward almost seven years and I now teach full time, have lead eight international retreats, and just finished teaching my own teacher training (Mocean Yoga)! I had no idea that Yoga would become so engrained in my life, and provide me with the opportunity to live outside of the box in so many ways.
Yoga for me now is how I do everything. It allows me to find peace among the uncertainty of everyday life, and allows me to approach my daily doings with mindfulness and presence. It makes my body feel energized and whole, and leads me to feel connected to and compassionate for all beings. I love Yoga!
Now I want to know - How did you first begin Yoga, and what does Yoga mean to you? :)