Guest Post: How Yoga Transformed My Life
“Practice and all is coming”
— SRI K. PATTABHI JOIS
Me to myself, “I can’t do yoga, I can barely touch my toes!” Let me be the first to tell you, if you come to me asking about yoga, but then claim you “can’t do yoga” because “you’re not flexible,” I will straight smack you upside the head. Saying you’re not flexible enough to be a yogi, is like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath.
Practicing yoga increases flexibility while building strength, but you don't need to be flexible to begin your journey. To this day I still have trouble touching my toes or popping into crow pose, but that is precisely why yoga has become a part of my identity.
I will never be one of those yogis who can pop into a challenging pose right off the bat. Chin stand? No thank you. Super soldier? Hard pass. BUT - I am one of those instructors who understands why you showed up to your mat today and can guide you through even difficult postures while ensuring your safety and stability, both physically and mentally.
Here’s a peek into my journey of becoming a yoga instructor:
In high school, I was forced to try a Vinyasa style yoga class and I hated it. Forced may be a stretch, but I wasn't exactly keen on going and I really didn't like it at first. The instructor cued downward facing dog as a resting pose and I thought she was absolutely delusional. HOW CAN THIS BE A RESTING POSE, MY EYEBROWS ARE SWEATING OFF. Little did I know... downward dog would become my favorite pose as I found my rhythm.
I went off to college and found a yoga studio I loved. Heated beginner and intermediate to advanced classes were available. Not only did I enjoy taking class, but it became a physical addiction. My body would crave the heat and I would succumb to any and all impulses to practice.
It wasn’t until one of the instructors encouraged me to complete a teacher training program that I even considered becoming a certified yoga instructor. Naturally being me, I decided to go for it, during the busiest time of my life (working as a nanny, serving as the Executive Vice President of my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and graduating college). Reflecting on this time in my life has made me realize that, I have become someone I never thought possible. I have become my mother, constantly moving as an indefatigable energizer bunny and slowing down only when forced (or to willingly watch all 13 episodes of stranger things in one sitting). Teacher training allowed me to find peace while simultaneously surrendering to the growing pains of graduating college and I couldn't be more grateful.
Here are the five things teaching and practicing yoga has taught me.
1. Mindfulness isn't something just to be read about in self-help books, rather it's something to practice every day - The concept of staying mindful in my actions remains a mystery to me. I'll be flowing through a Sun B and suddenly I'll find myself consumed with concern on what to cook for dinner. Practicing and now teaching mindful movement has enabled recognition of my thought processes, and re-focus on the moment.
2. You will still want to punch a wall - Most people think yogis are constant creatures of Zen, swimming through the chaos of adulthood, one sun salutation at a time. This could not be farther from the truth. From my experience, we practice and teach yoga because we ourselves are constantly battling an internal chaos that can only be tamed by yoga.
3. Vulnerability is a must - Any yoga teacher will tell you that the magic happens when you are able to let go and take that small step outside your comfort zone, both on and off your mat.
4. Words are currency, use them wisely - Words have the power to transform your life. Don't waste them.
5. Smiles are contagious - Don't ever underestimate the impact a smile has on changing someone's day.
Flash forward to today, I’ve been practicing yoga for the last 8 years and it has truly transformed my state of being. I teach part time at Turbo26, a newly opened yoga studio in Palo Alto, with 26 minute stackable classes and I'm loving every single minute of it. Come zen with me.
Christina is a bay area native who grew up with a love for health and fitness. While she attended college at Santa Clara University, Christina started attending Corepower Yoga. She fell in love instantly and completed her 200 teacher training in the Spring of 2017. Christina has seen the amazing benefits yoga can provide towards conditions such as scoliosis and hopes to share this knowledge with her students while encouraging balance in all aspects of life. Outside of the studio, Christina is a full-time Business Analyst at Cisco Systems. She has a come as you are attitude and will make anyone feel welcome in her classes. Christina is the teacher that will teach you a powerful, dynamic class and grab a beer with you afterwards.