I have a deep love and appreciation for the body. My first love for movement began when I was very little and I first became a cheerleader and walked on to the gymnastics floor. For almost 20 years, every sunrise and sunset was consumed with cheer, dance, and gymnastics. However, my lack of self-acceptance and deep self- hatred for my body and my life was a looming cloud that seemed to only get bigger as the years began to accumulate.
Within a few years, I started practicing martial arts. I was connecting with my body again. And martial arts was giving me the courage to stand tall in the world and to believe in myself. My inner strength for the first time was matching my outer strength. But something was still missing. My lack of self-acceptance and my inner self-hatred was still rearing it’s head from all corners of my life.
It was spring of 2010 and my very good friend had just gotten back from a yoga teacher training. She was glowing. She was always a physically beautiful woman but something was distinctly different about her. Her glow was emanating from deep inside. It was like she was wearing a cloak of love, acceptance, and radiance. Not only was she glowing but her body was more physically fit and toned than I had ever seen it. Something deep inside of me said, “I want what she has. I am not even sure what it is but it is enchanting.” I asked her what had changed and she said “YOGA.” She told me about her teacher, Rusty Wells and Urban Flow in San Francisco. She told me to check him out and she thought he may be a good fit for me. So I did. I haven’t been the same since. In 2011, I completed my first round of yoga teacher training under Rusty Wells. I currently have 180 hours and plan to complete 300-500 hours with Rusty at Urban Flow.
Yoga has changed my life. I believe in the healing power of the body and I believe in the power of asana, the breath, and the 8 Limbs. I spent years as a child and an adult healing childhood traumas. In all the therapies combined, yoga has produced the biggest release and healing for my body and my spirit. Today, I can safely say self-love and acceptance are at the forefront of my life, and my inner critic has finally quieted down. I have learned to meet life with a sense of humor. And that all things come in it’s own time. Yoga has taught me to celebrate the process and all the steps along the path. It’s okay to slow down and enjoy the ride. It’s not the end that is important as much as all the steps in between that really matter. Letting go isn’t something that just happens once, it is usually a continual process. So if you’re in the middle of something unpleasant, be patient and smile because if it’s happening right now it’s suppose to be.
Rusty Wells says, “if it’s easy, why do it?” Rusty’s combines Bhakti yoga with a combination of physically demanding poses and music that allows you to lose yourself in the moment and not take yourself so seriously. I try to emulate this in my classes as well. I try to create a space where people can explore new heights and avenues in their bodies and minds. And let them know, it’s okay to fall on the mat because it is guaranteed that we are going to fall in life. If we can learn to cope with life in a new way on the mat, we will bring this attitudes off the mat as well.