When my yoga journey began, I immediately felt and appreciated the physical benefits of yoga. I was a fitness junkie; I ran marathons, taught exercise classes, and caught onto every new workout program. At the time, I thought yoga would just be a small addition to my exercise regime. I began to notice changes in my body simply by adding one yoga class per week. My knees and ankles stopped swelling when I’d run, my balance improved, my hip flexors didn’t ache anymore, and I was becoming more flexible. Since physical health was my priority at the time, I became a huge fan of yoga for everything that it could do for my body.
A year later, I was still practicing yoga, along with all of my other physical activities, when my whole plan backfired. I was over-exercising and under-eating. At 21, my hair was falling out, I no longer had a menstrual cycle, and I was absolutely miserable. Although it took quite a while for me to admit that my “healthy lifestyle” was causing all these issues for me, I eventually recognized that I had a problem. It was at this point that yoga changed my life.
I stopped ignoring my yoga teachers whenever they would talk about the spiritual component to yoga. My practice stopped being about challenging my body and became my source of peace and happiness. I started reading about yoga, developing a personal practice, and meditating. Within a year, my priorities, my lifestyle, and my sense of self changed drastically. I was healthier in every way; my physical body felt better than it ever had, my relationships improved, my stress and anxiety levels were under control, and for the first time in my life I had a spiritual practice.
When I began the teacher training program two years ago, once again, I underestimated the impact that it would have on my life. Yoga is one of those things where, the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. My practice is forever growing, influencing my life in different ways, and teaching me lessons along the way. Yoga has truly saved my life.