Zeelie’s Take on Yoga – Guest Post

Today I present the fourth and final story from my students who took Yoga II over the summer. Zeelie has been my youngest student at the college level of teaching. I have been so proud of how disciplined she is in her yoga and in life decisions. She is a strong woman and I’m proud to have known her at this stage in her life!

Honestly, I don’t really know where to begin. As a kid I did some yoga, but it was never really yoga. At least it wasn’t the yoga that I know now. I had always seen it as something that women do. I always felt that when I got older I was going to wake up at sunrise and do it everyday on my front porch. To me, that’s what it was. It was something that mothers do to stay in shape. I never knew anything about it passed the physical practice.

When I took yoga one last semester, some of my main reasons for taking it were because I needed an elective, and because it would help get me into shape a little bit. I had known that there was going to be a little bit more to it than that, but never thought I would really get into it. But I did. I haven’t picked up the whole lifestyle, and I don’t think that I will, but there are a lot of little things that I have incorporated into my daily life.

One of the biggest things that I do now is different breathing techniques. Going through PT for the Marines, I am constantly battling with myself in my head. But I can remind myself to Just Breathe. Focusing on my breathing, and using different techniques that I learned in yoga one, have helped me to push myself further in PT. It’s taking my mind off of my physical activity, and focusing it and on one small thing.

Yoga has given me more discipline. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy when I took the class. An easy A, sure, but not physically.  I didn’t expected to be hard, but I did know that I was going to have to push myself a little bit. I ended up having to push myself a lot more mentally than physically. While I knew that I had the physical capabilities of doing a lot of these poses, mentally I battled with being able to hold them.

Meditation, as well as the breathing techniques, has helped me to be able to push myself to hold them longer. That further has helped me in my day-to-day life with getting upset. I have a very short temper, so me learning to discipline myself in one area, has helped and others. I really enjoyed my first actual yoga class, and so I decided to take yoga two.

I wasn’t expecting to jump further into the yoga life, and I didn’t, but the longer and more profound meditation points have helped me realize a lot. Practicing yoga has helped me a lot as an individual. Not only physically, but mentally, and emotionally. I have a memory of one day a few weeks into my first yoga class, we were in the middle of a meditation, and I just started crying. I don’t think that anyone noticed it, but I had just become overwhelmed with emotion. I don’t remember what we were meditating on, or what realization or thought that I had, but I will always remember that moment. I had just become intensely happy.

Since that moment I have had more like it. Driving in my car I will be deep in thought and just become really happy. And I always think back to that moment. I would like to think that I will continue to practice yoga, and I currently do intend to. For me practicing yoga is more mental than it is physical or spiritual or anything else. It is probably the best way for me to de-stress, and to think. Even if at some point in my life I get too busy to find the time to physically practice yoga as often as I would like, I know that I’m definitely going to still take a lot of the principles and ideals into my day-to-day life.  Even if at some point I completely fall out of the physical practice, the personal practice will always stay with me.

Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

Advertisements

Kat’s Lion of a Yoga Tale

Today I present the third story from one of my students who took Yoga II over the summer. She found me at my race last year and (I am grateful she did this) tracked me down in yoga at CFCC. I have had the great pleasure of getting to know her and hope her LION strength will always fill her Kat heart!

My first introduction to yoga was like many others. I joined a Shapes Fitness, women only gym, and being daunted by the countless machines and weights, decided to start with group fitness. I saw a yoga class on the schedule and thought to myself “let me just ease into gym life by trying out yoga.” So, I came in all prepared in my new Adidas yoga pants and mat that I had bought the weekend before, not really knowing what to expect. I was really nervous so I parked my mat next to the back, the best location to make a speedy exit. Around me were all women of different shapes and sizes which made me feel somewhat more confident. As the class started I quickly realized that it was not the “ease” I was looking for but my stubborn nature kept me from fleeing the scene. The gentle lilt of the instructor telling the class to focus on our breath as it fills our lungs all the way up to our chest cavity was a stark contrast to the personal struggle happening over at my mat. My limbs were trembling as I strained to hold this pose and tried to contort my body in ways it has not experienced in quite some time, if ever, and somehow I was supposed to BREATHE while doing all this? I tried to slow my rapid, shallow breaths with only slight success. At long last, we entered into final relaxation a wave of peace and tranquility came over me. From that moment on, I was hooked and I knew I had to come back for more. Yoga made me feel relaxed and less stressed over situations beyond my control. I felt good mentally and exercising was making me feel good physically. Fast forward a year and I took a detour from my yoga journey. I had started to work 3 jobs and tried to balance that with school which meant yoga got placed on the back burner. Just as quickly as it started, it was forgotten.

Four years, a heartbreak, a new home, and a few states further, I finally reconnected with yoga. At the time, I felt like I was pretty close to rock bottom. The heartbreak felt like the most devastating moment in my life. I had been dating this guy for 3 years and I was happily living with him and the relationship started to feel like something was not right. I eventually found out he was cheating on me with a 16-year-old that was still in high school. The future I envisioned with the two of us collapsed as well as my happiness. I turned to that dark head space where I questioned what I did wrong, was I not pretty enough, and how could he do this to me- to us? So, I called my Dad and asked him if he had room for me at his place, and he did. I quit my 3 jobs and packed anything that would fit in my car and left the rest behind. I went from having my own apartment in Florida to living with my step-mom and dad in North Carolina. Living with my parents after having my own place was a tough transition. Between that, my break up, and having no friends in this new environment caused me to be an emotional wreck. My dad didn’t raise a quitter so I started to go back to school here. When I had the opportunity to take Yoga I at an institutional level a seized the moment. I had felt my emotional best when doing yoga before and I recognized the need to get back to that healthier place.

The great thing about yoga, is even when you haven’t done it in a while, it’s like meeting with an old friend, eagerly awaiting with open arms. I’m really not sure what I was expecting by taking yoga at a college but the class far exceeded what I could possibly imagine. I think to take the class for the semester ended up costing me roughly $150 but it was worth every penny. I looked forward to going into class every day. The poses were great but even better than that was the philosophies behind yoga. This class is so therapeutic and truly allowed me to heal.

Every discussion expanded my perspective on the topic. I felt challenged to think outside the box and loved contributing my view points. The mental work was difficult, but also, extremely rewarding. If you want the answers to the age-old question who you are and what you are supposed to be doing with your life, this course really will help you with that. Now don’t get me wrong potential naysayer, it wasn’t like all of the sudden I had an epiphany and had all the answers. I had to work hard and think over the questions Mrs. P asked and meditate over them and I felt significantly more confident about who I am and what I want to do. I even changed my major after this course to something that would make me happy to do rather than worrying about playing it safe and studying a degree that I was not that enthusiastic about. The answers were inside of me all along and Mrs. Pappas helped me find them buried deep down, like the hidden treasures that they were.

I felt forlorn as Yoga I came to a close; I was not ready retire my yoga mat. I could do fitness yoga, which is great, but it doesn’t have the philosophical aspect that yoga I offered me. I took the plunge and signed up for yoga II. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the more complex physical aspects of yoga II and trying out yoga fusions kept class fun. I went further down the rabbit hole in the philosophies of yoga and meditation. Learning about Buddhism and Hindu deepened both my understanding of where yoga came from and also my meditative practices. Now that yoga II is over I will have to find another outlet to continue my practice.

For now, the plans are to continue the Perfect Body Yoga Challenge created by Bad Yogi. It is all about self-love and being content in the present moment. I would like to eventually do yoga teaching training to deepen my practice and continue to learn more about yoga both on and off the mat.

Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

Tales of Yoga – Guest Post

Today I present another story from one of my students who took Yoga II over the summer. She is a wonderful soul with a passion for reading. I have loved seeing her grow in her yoga practice throughout this year and truly enjoyed the day that we were able to chat and practice together, even if those balance poses tried to get the best of us.

I choose to sign up for yoga because I was taking 5 other classes and need a gym and thought “well this takes care of my gym and with be relaxing and fun.” I was right it was very fun and enjoyable.

I’m supper shy until I get comfortable around someone and I have social anxiety. If I never had to leave my house I wouldn’t. And going to a class where I didn’t know anyone was tough at first until I started to relax with everyone else in class. I also have self-image issues and I know I’m overweight and I thought throughout my first couple of classes that everyone was going to stare because I know that I’m not the most flexible person in the world and wouldn’t be able to do most poses. Turns out I was wrong there where a lot of people who could do some poses and everyone was very nice and welcoming.

Yoga has also helped in my everyday life, for example with my insomnia. Every night when I find myself tossing and turning I stop and put myself in a comfortable position and do some meditation and deep breathing which puts me right to sleep and I really love sleeping. Trying to live a more yoga life is hard because I LOVE LOVE meat! I am a meat eater and I’m not apologetic about it. But I understand why people choose to cut out meat or dairy products when choosing to live a more yoga life (kudos to you, I wouldn’t be able to survive.). I also have tried to be kinder and more understanding when something upsets me or I get frustrated I stop and take a deep breath and say “don’t let this get to you. It’s just a small thing and it won’t make you mad.” I then count to ten and I have noticed that this helps me not get into as many bickering matches with my sister and mother, which help me improve those relationship.

So over all I really like yoga and I believe that I will continue to practice it and try to have it in my everyday life. Thank you Mrs. P.

Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

A Yoga Story by Tara Nobles- Guest Post

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always tried to get me to participate in a yoga class, but I pushed the idea aside at every mention of it.  I have been a dancer, and now a professional dancer, for as long as I have been walking, so the idea of adding an extra workout to my weekly schedule didn’t sit too right with me.  It wasn’t until I became sick and had to quit dancing for a year that I considered the thought.

During my year off, I lost a father, my boyfriend at the time joined the Navy, and one of my organs had begun to fail.   All of those events led me into a deep depression surrounded by a sea of anxiety.  I couldn’t leave my house or go into any store without panicking and I hated that I had become such a fragile human.  Medications weren’t helping and I had tried to go back to dance, but I just couldn’t manage it.  One day, during a class at Cape Fear, I fell to the floor in a panic.  I couldn’t move and I couldn’t bring myself to breathe right.  My teacher walked me to the campus security office and had an officer walk with me to Disability Services where one of the employees mentioned the idea of yoga to me.  After doing a breathing exercise with me, the woman told me that it was actually a yoga practice, and so I decided to give yoga a try.

During the fall semester of 2016, I had started dancing with a group in Wilmington and I was trying to go to school full time.  I was finally on a thyroid medication and an antidepressant to help treat my disease, but I still wasn’t fully treated.  Around Christmas time of that year, I noticed that Cape Fear was offering a yoga class and I jumped at the opportunity.  In spring of 2017, I joined my first ever yoga class and I fell in love with it.  So much so that I ended up getting my certification to teach.  I learned so much during that semester and I was finally able to leave my house and become the “independent adult” that I had always wanted to be.  Since taking Yoga I and becoming certified myself, I have learned tools to help myself in everyday life as well as help others.  I want to share my experience of yoga with everyone I meet and I hope to continue to teach in the future.  My friends and other students that I have taught have mentioned to me how much their lives have changed since they started the practice of yoga.

I’m not sure what I would have done with myself if I had not taken the Yoga II course offered during one of the five week summer sessions.  I have grown so much as a person and I have helped so many along the way.  Because of yoga, my anxiety has subsided and I have been able to start working.  I honestly have no idea where I would be today, mentally and physically, if I had never taken the opportunity to try yoga.  I know for a fact that I would not have succeeded this much in my academic life and my mental health without it and I hope to continue to introduce others to the wonderful practice of yoga.  I would like to thank my school and my teacher for helping me to discover this amazing practice.

Namaste

This is the start of a new set of stories shared by my students on their yoga experience. Tara has transitioned from a student of yoga to a yoga teacher beautifully. She has a talent for reaching people in a unique way and I expect we will all see great things from her on her yoga journey. Thank You to Amanda for the Think Out Loud Thursday space to tell these stories.

Meditation Monday #40 – How to Meditate: The 5 Koshas (Annamaya)

Welcome to another rainy Monday at the beach. Do you know I haven’t taken my kids to the beach at all this summer? How terrible is that?! Last summer our beach days were play dates and there were many of them, but this summer our beach buddy is also my running buddy and play dates have been of a different nature. *Sadness*

Alright, enough about the rain….today I’m here to talk to you about meditation again. Why? Because it’s something that I’m making a priority in my life these days. Over the weekend I was in Asheville teaching the NETA PT Review Workshop to a great group of people at the Woodfin YMCA. They were wonderful to hang with and chat with and to work with. I love it when I have great weekends away like that!

I had intended to go and scout the 8K course for the race this fall after I got done teaching on Saturday, but it was raining….and I had left my car windows open….and my lunch from Whole Foods was disappointing. I had also missed breakfast and hadn’t drank hardly anything all day. I think the run would’ve sucked if I had attempted it.

Instead I chose to go back to my creepy hotel (don’t stay off of Tunnel Road) and work on the Inclusivity Training and some NETA writing. I experienced some seriously great meditation practices in this course that I cannot wait to share with you! And that motivated me to start back up with the How to Meditate series again today.

So now, after that seriously unnecessary introduction to this post, I want to talk to you about Koshas….which is not a slang way of talking about Jewish foods or pickles. Koshas are the five layers or sheaths of the body; the outermost of which is called Annamaya or the “Food Layer”.

First off, this has nothing to do with the food you’ll eat (we’ll talk about that layer later), but rather with the fact that we all must die someday and (if buried) eventually become food for the earth and other creatures on it. We liken these layers to nesting dolls with each successively deeper layer representing a deeper part of the self. However, unlike nesting dolls, the layers cannot be separated.

Annamaya is most often cared for where people start their yoga practice….with Asana (postural practice). Both Asana and Annamaya deal with the muscles, the bones, the flesh. Consider your Annamaya layer and ask these questions from Rebecca Pacheco’s book:

  • What physical experiences nourish me?
  • When am I most comfortable in my skin?

For me the obvious answer for both is exercise. But, during meditation I often find more.

When am I most comfortable in my body? When I’m taking care of it. And that includes eating well, getting enough sleep, making time to move and rest. Not just exercise, but when I’m playing with my kids and when I’m not thinking about the body and all the ways in which I’ve judged it in the past.

What physical experiences nourish me? The little things like putting lotion on, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth with a new toothbrush, drinking warm tea, wrapping up in a cozy blanket, hugging my children, snuggling close to my husband, holding his hand, laughing with friends.

My Happiness Project is all about my body and I started with health and now I’m working on eating (again), but I am not neglecting the Annamaya layer in this process. Perhaps you should give your Annamaya layer a little more attention this week?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on/response to the questions posed above.

A Yoga Story by Kody – Guest Post

So to start this off let me add some details of how I became to take yoga I. I have always been the type of student who seems to take too many credits and then get overwhelmed. The fall semester of 2016 I decided to take 17 credit hours and my advisor mentioned that it may get stressful. So my thinking was I could find an easy class to take away my stress. Well I was looking for an easy/less stressful class. Under the physical educational section it listed Yoga I. I thought to myself that only women take yoga and I would not be welcomed in. At first I was accepting that this class could not be my stress reliever. Somehow I overcame that fear and said I will try it. I walked in on the first day of class and saw 2 other gentlemen and instantly was at peace with taking Yoga I. I did not know anything about yoga nor had I ever thought I would enjoy it. After taking yoga I, I can proudly say that I’m becoming a yogi as I keep going deeper with my practice.

At first I was really stressed with my classes and struggled with worrying about quizzes and tests. However, right before I take a quiz or a test, I tried something new. I would sit there and meditate and become confident before attempting the quiz or test. Then I dove in and completed it. I notice a night and day difference in just my calmness as well as my grades. The outcome was phenomenal so I made a promise to myself that every quiz or test from here on out I’m going to mediate before taking it to calm down.

I have always had a horrible sleep schedule and noticed when taking 17 credit hours it felt like I was constantly up past 1 am. While taking yoga I noticed that I was getting tired around the time I should be instead of staying up late every night. I can actually get a full 8 hours of sleep instead of the 6 hours of sleep I use to get. This may not seem like a change but I also noticed a change in myself, I had more energy! The day felt longer and I had more energy to get things done.

When we learned the chakras I instantly took into account that I needed to work on getting mine aligned. I know can say I have a better alignment on them then I did beforehand. I do not really think that my chakras are completely aligned but they are much better, and it is personal to me. The fact that I have opened my eyes to certain things about me and shed some light on my strengths and weaknesses is truly amazing.

When we hit the different types of yoga, I incorporated it into my own style. I wake up and instantly do some stretching and then do 10 sun salutations and then I mediate for 20 minutes on what I need to do today and how to make my day better than yesterday. This helps me tackle what I have planned and helps me keep short hand goals on target. I noticed that by incorporating this I am more of a morning person to others, rather than being rude and not talking, I will talk your ear off. It also wake me up really well, gets my blood flowing and feeling good to take on the day. Now I know that by just these little things you may not think it’s wonderful, but to me I feel better doing it my way, it is my yoga.

When we entered yoga II it was even more of an eye opener, we went in depth with hitting the each chakra more in detail and also hitting all of the aims of life. It was crazy to see how certain poses opened up unknown strengths and even on some days the weaknesses of not being able to do those poses. Throwing in a bit of vinyasa and hot yoga along with deep relaxation, it was a wicked fun semester going into detail and hitting lots of points on these types of yoga. I now try to do a faster paced yoga session once a week to get my blood flowing and heart pumping. I told myself that I would maybe drop a few pounds and I actually dropped 10 lbs. by kicking it up a notch and testing my limits.

As I enter the last week of yoga II I look back and could not believe on how far I have become. I can do poses now where back then I did not think I’d ever be able to. Some of the poses I need help on getting them correct but for the most part I would say I am ready to hit up a studio and try another class.

As for my future goals, I set kind of 2 goals. One of them is to keep pursuing my own practicing of yoga and to keep pushing myself to those limits. And the other goal is to try out a class and become an avid member. Hopefully I will survive it and fit in. Thank you Mrs. P for teaching me yoga!

This is the fourth and final post in the series of stories shared by my students on their yoga experience. As the only male student to complete both of my yoga courses, I am in awe of his talent, commitment, and insight. And, Thank You to Amanda for the forum to tell these stories.

My Yoga Journey – Guest Post

My yoga journey…

A little over a year ago, I was recommended by my coach to tried out the yoga class, and I fell in love with it right away. I took the Yoga I last summer and it had changed my daily activity since then. I am active person and I love working out, so I am very glad that I choose to take the yoga class because of my active life. Because we did a lot of different pose in yoga class, so it helped me a lot with my soreness. After my Yoga I class ended, I continued to do the Sun Salutations every morning, to wake myself and my body up to get my day going.

I am taking Yoga II this semester and I would say I understand much more about the concept of the yoga. Yoga is not just about doing the pose, but it is also about teaching people how to react and live their lives in a certain way. Upon taking Yoga II class, I started to see and understand many things that had happened in my life in a different way. Just about two weeks ago in Yoga II class, we were discussing and talking about forgiveness, and why we should forgive certain people when they do not seem to deserve our forgiveness. We are doing this for ourselves.  We need to at least try and forgive those people because we need to let them go, so that we can be free from those hateful feeling and live our own life peacefully.

Upon taking Yoga I and II class with AmberLynn, I have learned so much about yogi life. Long before when I was in high school, I always had an anger issue and I tended to get mad easily at people when things did not go my way. I would say I had changed a lot since I took Yoga I and II classes. I seem to be very much calmer than I used to compare to a few years back. After this yoga class end, I am planning to take some yoga class at Uni if they offer classes over there, or maybe I will just sign up at some local yoga studio around here if I have enough money to pay. But I don’t think I will stop taking yoga class very soon, because yoga did not just improve my mobility, flexibility, and strength, but it also taught me how to become a positive person and, live a peaceful life.

This was the third in the series of posts shared by my students on their yoga experience; the last of which will appear next week. I am always impressed by the ability of my students to share, honestly, their journey and another great Thank You to Amanda for the forum to tell these stories.

My Yoga Story – Guest Post

My first exposure of Yoga ever was Yoga 1 at Cape Fear. Obviously I had little exposure, but I knew there were crazy poses that I thought would increase my flexibility. Initially, I took yoga because I was going to have a hard semester and I needed an extra credit hour. Unknowingly, I would find one of my new passions.

Beginning yoga, we were taught how to breathe. We were taught how to meditate, which I was awful at first. I did not quite understand how to do it until I started researching it on my own time. I like to understand the science to things, which is what really drew me to mediation once I started my research.

There are scientific studies showing the positive effects of meditation. It can actually physically change your mind. It is proven to reduce stress, improve clarity, helps your figure things out, and depending on the meditation, it can help you find bravery in yourself, realize your goals, and just like that, it did for me.

Beginning daily meditation and practicing yoga more often, I began to notice a change in myself. Not only was my anxiety getting better, but overall I was becoming a better me. I was being more mindful, focusing on the things I need to improve. When I first learned about chakras, I was like “hm.. not sure how much I believe this”, but the principal of it is something that I think everyone could use. Beginning with the root chakra, all the way up to the seventh one, helps you realize the things in your live that need fine tuning. Sometimes, one chakra could be excessively open or closed. My throat chakra needed work. I needed to start voicing things more, I needed to speak up when I was upset about something instead of holding it in and dwelling. Which is another thing I learned from yoga, you cannot hoard bad thoughts and negativity. Yoga has taught me and is still teaching me more and more about myself. That is why I will continue to practice more and more. With my meditation, my poses, and realizing more about myself. Yoga is helping me learn who me is, and the me I want to be.

This was the second in the series of posts shared by my students on their yoga experience. I greatly appreciate this student’s willingness to share her journey and another great Thank You to Amanda for the forum to tell these stories.

My Yoga History – Guest Post

“It is only through proper and unselfish meditation that the student can finally enter the temple of the undistracted mind, and in silence and aloneness come to the realization of the One Ultimate Reality and the pace beyond understanding”

Yoga for Americans

Devi

It’s harder to meditate when we need it the most, specially if we feel unhappy. But why do we feel unhappy? Ones feels unhappy when trapped in a situation, when it is impossible to leave some things to get others. “It takes courage…”

My experience with breathing and meditation is getting better, and our class Yoga II is giving me the courage to the changes I’m making in my life. To be strong is key for nurturing my mind, soul and body, and to keep me going through the difficulties and tasks of life. But still now at my 58 years old, and knowing the importance of meditation, it has been impossible to sit 20 minutes at the same time every day, and just ….Meditate.

I confess that I have never been able to do so, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t meditate. I meditate in class, and sometimes when I get up in the mornings, but I also I meditate with activities like swimming, walking, praying, and even driving!

The asanas like the Warrior Pose are very nurturing, and revealing. When adopting the pose first I see like a movie of what I have achieved in life, and how long and difficult is the way ahead. Virabhadrasana is very powerful for women of all ages, but in my case when I raise my arms perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other (Warrior One), I just get my strength back. Then, it comes Warrior Two: The arm behind represents the past, and the one in front, the future.

And I’m in the present, seeing how life is taking place, through my breathing. Then, I give thanks. I am very thankful of all my teachers, the ones that are making me understand that is only me for me. We come to this world alone, and we will leave alone, no matter how many people we have surrounding our deathbed.

So thinking in the future, I know I have to start to limit indulging. My body needs to be strong and straight, balanced, and my gaze firmly looking ahead. I’m fortunate because I can have a fresh start, even that I have to  live with a little of arthritis and my hip hurts. I have a beautiful family, I have travel thousands of miles, I’ve met interesting people, and I have had money to spent.

But with the “acceleration of the times” I don’t know what will happen to the human being. I have never lived in war, I was never experience sexual violence, so I’m really grateful. But I think that even if the war comes, if I practice my warrior and restorative poses, and meditate everyday in any way I can, I know I will know how to react.

I don’t want to stop achieving goals in my life, but if the way ahead is long and difficult, my breathing and the poses will support me. And when is my time to go, I won’t be afraid. Yoga and Faith go together in me, and I’m fortunate to live to cultivate them.

Namaste.

 

This was the first in the series of posts shared by my students on their yoga experience. I greatly appreciate this student’s willingness to share her journey and another great Thank You to Amanda for the forum to tell these stories.

13 Years of Yoga – My Life Changing Moment

Last year in April I set out to write about my yoga journey. I intend to keep updating that each year and as of now I have been doing yoga, off and on, for 13 years. It doesn’t mean that I have been living my yoga throughout that whole time, but living yoga is a process, just like much of life.

I intended last week to publish a Currently post, a Workout Wednesday post, and then end on Thursday with my 13 Years of Yoga post. But, something happened on that Tuesday afternoon that changed my life. I was in a car accident that totaled my car.

I was driving to pick up my oldest from Kindergarten, with my youngest in the back seat, when my brakes failed. I do not know how fast the car was traveling when it stopped, but before I turned off the cruise control we were traveling at 55mph. We slammed into the back of a stopped car and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

For the last week and a half I have seen the back of that car flying at me every time I close my eyes. I watch the airbags come up so quickly, yet so slowly. I feel it hit me in the face and toss me around. I feel the air knocked out of me and the panic take over as I jump out of the car trying to figure out what to do next; as I pull my youngest out of the back seat and rush him to the side of the road away from it all. I still see and feel it all.

I had to get into a car to drive the very next day and it’s been hard and slow going since. I feel distracted by paying attention to my full surroundings. It’s one time that I wish my mindfulness would let me be and let me relax. No one was seriously hurt in this accident, but it still changed me in a profound way.

My yoga practice over the last year has helped me grow in so many ways. I am better at listening to my body; I am performing poses better and with more strength, stability, and focus; my meditation is deeper and more purposeful with better outcomes. My yoga this year has been enhanced by the depth of connection to my students (especially my Yoga II group this spring) and the other community of yogis that I have connected with this past year.

In 13 years of yoga this has been my best and most committed. Through writing on the blog and reading Bad Yogi and other blogs where people share their yoga journeys; through my practice with Meditations from the Mat and teaching more of the tenets of yoga; through the curriculum writing for NETA’s new 200hr RYT and through listening to my students as they too travel the yoga path…..this year has been a yoga blessing in disguise.

It has been this connection that has led me through my best year of yoga and at the end of June I will be leaving my teaching for the City of Wilmington due to a change in structure at the organization. In August I will teach my last yoga class for CFCC for awhile as I move on to a new venture at UNCW (more about that later). My yoga practice will change this year….year 14….but I know it will stay strong. My accident affirmed for me what I know about myself:

I am stronger than what happens to me in life. I am only one, but an important part, of all that is bigger in the world. My yoga has served me well and will continue to be a guiding factor in my life.

Thank you for continuing this adventure with me and Thank You to Amanda for an open space to share each week! For the next 4 weeks I’ll be sharing some of my Yoga II student’s journeys on Thursday posts. I hope you’ll join us in practice & life.

Namaste