Vinyasa Yoga 2004.
She is in her mid 20’s, reasonably healthy and strong. She loves to run along the Rio Grande near the home she shares with her guy. Hiking the mountains in the early morning brings her great joy. Out there, among the most beautiful wildflowers you’d ever see, she’d spot hyenas, skunks, chipmunks, eagles, bears, foxes and deer. If she hiked high enough, the air so thin, it would feel like humankind was millions of miles away.
She was deeply in love, living out her OE (overseas experience) in a seriously beautiful town. She loved the town as much as she loved the man she shared it with. Health was important but not vital, she was young, fit and strong. Not a lot of effort was needed and life was good.
She didn’t know what she was searching for. It was a feeling or an essence that was missing from this life. She’d confide in him,
“Why am I not bounding out of bed in the morning? Should I be more excited to begin my day?
He dismissed her as being silly.
The First Yoga Class
It was Wednesday lunchtime, her and her friend wandered into a swanky boutique yoga studio along Main Street. Well known by now in America that yoga was good for you, she didn’t really understand what it was going to offer that she didn’t already get from her beloved runs along the river and hikes up Smuggler Mountain.
The two young women had walked into a Power Vinyasa Yoga class (we call it here Level 2 Vinyasa Yoga).
Their Chaturanga’s were misaligned, they watched the intermediate poses in awe, and in an unheated room in a mountain climate, they walked out of class with sweat soaked clothing.
She didn’t just feel sweaty, she felt alive. She felt more inspired and more excited than she had felt in a very long time. She’d done her first ever Vinyasa Yoga class, and she’d been blown away.
It took a week for her to move without wincing, her body felt so sore. As soon as she was physically able, she went back to the yoga studio to practice again. Before she even rolled out her mat, familiar feelings from that first class began to emerge. She felt centred and she felt clear, clean and pure. The instructor inspired her and there was an essence between those four walls that was good. She belonged. And she knew it.
Almost two years later she practiced Vinyasa Yoga every spare moment that she could. She’d completed a 200 hr Power Vinyasa Yoga training in nearby Denver Colorado and was starting to teach small groups of friends.
Just like any other day, she went to class as she always did. This time though, her romantic relationship was in trouble and she was barely holding herself together. As the class began to move, instead of the elation she had always felt, she was confronted with the emotions that she’d had difficulty facing. As the sweat began to flow, so too did the tears. She broke down in that class and left early. After two years of devoted practice, her yoga journey (the one that was to transform her) had only just begun.
I still practice Vinyasa Yoga and I still love Vinyasa Yoga. I could say that it saved my life. To be honest though, it assisted me throughout the death of my old life and helped me to rebuild a new one from scratch. This life I love so much more. This woman I love so much more.
These days I still attend class, but they are in my own yoga studio, with some of the best teachers I can find. I’m fussy and I only hire teachers whose classes I would attend myself.
There is no better feeling than piling my hair into a bun and putting on a pair of tights. I kick off my jandals and roll out my yoga mat. It has a heart with the letter “D” on it, so that I can distinguish my mat from my friend Michelle’s. Her mat is exactly the same – except it has the letter “M” inside a heart. Our mats sit in a cupboard that was custom made to house them. I don’t know what it is about that cupboard, but every time I open it I am reminded of the high quality humans who love yoga just as much as I do.
Are You Ready?
The path, just like life, wasn’t always straight forward and it wasn’t always as I expected. Sometimes I floated through class, sometimes I dragged my sorry ass through it. When I was going through my break up I did Vinyasa Yoga almost always with a hangover from the night before. After having my sacred practice violated by a fraudulent yoga teacher (something that has become frighteningly prevalent in the yoga industry in recent times), I seriously doubted what I was doing there. But I continued to show up for myself, I fought for my practice and I never quit.
Did I fit the mould? Sometimes. But a heck of a lot of the time I did not. Was I legit? Damn right I was.
All walks of life practice yoga, and all walks of life teach yoga. Yeah I agree with some and not others. There are fakes, frauds, perverts and phonies, so do your homework and don’t assume the title will fit the person wearing it. In my humble experience, the ones that look the most ‘perfect’ are sometimes the ones who are hiding a bit more than what you can see.
There are beautiful humans who are living and learning and facing their demons. There are some who are bloody well nailing it and who walk an authentic path of near perfection. Yoga is Life. It’s not here for you to judge, it’s here for you to experience as fully as you can.
I do not care who you are, what mistakes you’ve made, what virtue you possess or what path you walk. If you desire to practice, if you are curious about the process or if you are a seeker like I am, yoga will help you.
Level 1 Vinyasa Yoga. Give it a go. Let us know if you’re nervous. We were once as well.
Level 2 Vinyasa Yoga. We only put experienced teachers in these spots. So if you’re unsure about whether you’ll be able to do it, tell us your fears and we’ll guide you through. I couldn’t do my first Level 2 Vinyasa either. That didn’t stop me.
You start with where you are and that’s enough.
Big Love to you. D