I found Yoga in the clearance section in 1997. Seriously. I was digging through a bin full of discount DVDs and I uncovered a Yoga for Beginners video by Gaiam. It included an AM and PM practice - each 20 minutes. As a nod to a my short attention span, I tossed it into my basket and immediately incorporated the practice into an intense physical fitness routine that was precariously balanced with bad habits and poor nutrition in pursuit of skinny.
Just 20 minutes of asana every day was enough to stir my curiosity. I wanted to know more. Still far too anxious to actually find a class, I studied on my own using books (yay for the library!) and frequent home practice. When I noticed a flyer at my local library for yoga classes at the community park district, I decided to finally try a group class.
The teacher was patient, inclusive and encouraging to every single body present in class, week after week. With her, I felt safe, challenged and supported in my practice. At the same time, my life off the mat was a chaotic mess. My emotions shifted unpredictably as I grieved both the end of my first marriage and the death of my father. I came to class every week though, even when I didn't want to. On the mat, I found peace, sometimes. At other times, I found a pile of broken pieces and practiced through tears. Still, I showed up. My yoga mat became my haven - a safe place to work through my physical body to the source of my emotional pain. It was in the group setting that I first acknowledged the shift and began to realize that my yoga practice had offered a path away from self-destruction and toward a healthy self-love.
Recognizing the impact yoga had in navigating my own pain and loss, I knew that I wanted to share the healing power of yoga with others and to make yoga accessible to any body. With the blessing and encouragement of my teacher, I enrolled in and completed teacher training and have been registered nationally through the Yoga Alliance since 2009.