I love yoga. I started practicing when I was fifteen years old. One of my friends moms taught a class at my high school in Japan. I knew about yoga before that and really wanted to try it. I was hesitant, because I was very Christian and yoga was so unknown back when I started. I really wanted to become more flexible. I always found it hard to do certain things in ballet, because I am naturally very stiff.
My first consistent yoga teacher started a class at the YCAC the local sports club in Yokohama. Her name was Gwen and she was really cool. I remember being in class and hearing her say the Sanskrit as well as the names of poses in English. I found I needed to watch her in order to figure out what I was doing. I was encouraged by Gwen. I seemed to be doing really well. Downward facing dog was so foreign to me and hard to hold.
Years before I started yoga I had injured my knee when I was in a PE class in Hong Kong. One of my classmates sat on my knee while I was doing sit ups and it strained my knee. I’ve had reoccurring pain throughout my life in that knee. I tend to hyper extend my legs and my hamstrings are very tight. They always have been that way.
Gwen opened a studio called Yoga Garden with her boyfriend Patrick. It’s located in Motomachi near the Ichikawacho train station. It was a beautiful studio with a garden on a roof area. The space was so calming. We’d practice and then have a lovely cup of herbal tea afterwards. I loved going to the Vinyasa flow classes. There was a point system and I went a lot.
When I went to college in Australia there were yoga classes. I was so obsessed with yoga I would do yoga everywhere. I went to one of the yoga classes, but became disconcerted by the attitude of my teacher. It was a really big class and she would focus on one of her students. I had brought my ex-boyfriend and another really good friend of mine. They were doing really well, but I was so off that day. I never went back to a class. The teacher was actually the wife of one of the professors from the Outdoor Education course I was enrolled in.
I was in Australia for three years and did not practice yoga at all. My ex-boyfriend broke up with me when I moved to Colorado Springs. I started going to a studio called “Yoga Imaging” that was started by a lovely teacher called Thea Luby. I was heart broken by my break up and found light and healing from practicing yoga. I loved the way Thea taught. It brought me deeper into the practice of yoga. I practiced a lot, but found there were days I was just too sore to go. Thea’s studio moved a few times. I followed. I stopped going as much when she moved her studio into her house in Manitou Springs.
Years ago I went to Playoga Studio. It had appeared down the hill from my house. Started by Becca Roodhuyzen. I loved that I could walk down the hill. I can’t remember the first teacher whom I met there, but I remember she was a Colorado College student. Playoga was a new experience for me “It’s yoga or its funny.” I learned that you didn’t have to be perfect to do yoga and that you could laugh about yourself. I was very serious and precise before that. Playoga studio moved to 8th street and it took me a while to go back. When I did go back there was a really tall blond teacher called Kris whom I really liked. I went to Belize and my now fiancé had broken up with me.
I decided to take a 50 hour Anusara training with Becca. It was focused on principles of alignment. Anusara was started by John Friend. I read “How Yoga Works” I learned about the asanas and how they help people heal. Also I read Brene Browns “The gifts of Imperfection” One of the messages that resonated with me was that everyone is vulnerable. I found that at the time yoga really helped me heal from the pain I was feeling. Not only did it do that, but I also found it helped my relationships with other people. What I found at the time was that I was not ready to teach. I was still learning about yoga for myself.
My fiancé and I got back together and I continued to practice yoga. I found that the alignment principles really changed my practice. At some point I found myself back in Belize volunteering with Manatees, howler monkeys and spider monkeys. I practiced yoga once with a friend who had done a 200 hour Anusara training. The grass we all practiced on was uncomfortable but we embraced it.
This year I embarked on a 200 hour training with Becca. I have found that “Creating Space” is my favourite part of yoga as much as muscle energy. My meditation practice is improving and I am finding that practicing more often is making a huge difference in my life. I am excited to see where this teacher training will take me.