Despite turning upside down for longer than I can remember in some form or another, I officially started practicing yoga somewhere around 2002 while living in Arkansas. My little spark of a practice may have started out as a way to check off the “I worked out” box on my list in a way that didn’t involve a treadmill or aerobics, but little did I know how big that fire would eventually grow. Even with the spark smoldering, I nearly got bored with down-dogging, but then the path landed me into the “Foundations of Flow" series at here at Y1. Despite having practiced for several years by then, the happy accident of choosing the “beginners” class simply due to it being the most convenient at the time provided a space for me to slow down and examine the poses rather than just doing them. So ironically, slowing down resulted in accelerated growth-- plus it fanned the flame and sent me head-first tumbling down the rabbit hole with my pants on fire! I haven’t looked back since.
Enhancing the strength and flexibility of the body is an ever rewarding process, but I find that having *practiced* reactions to what comes up on the mat continues to be the most heartfelt and unexpected treasure.
Since then, I’ve had the fortune to be able to study not only with ParaYoga masters such as Rod Stryker and Lauren Toolin, but also attend several master retreats in Belize, various week long intensives at Kripalu and the Himalayan Institute, as well as Puerto Rico. I also jumped in with both feet to attend Level 1 with Baron Baptiste in 2012-- even then running out of dorm/bedspace didn’t stop several of us: we brought hammocks and practiced “being with” bugs and ticks right alongside practicing being with ourselves on the mat. Since moving to Charlotte in 2005, I’ve found so many kind souls and teachers that have left their indelible (barefoot) footprint on my heart that I stopped counting them all.
Locally, I’m insanely grateful and humbled to be part of this community of Baptiste and Para yogis in Charlotte— I’m amazed wealth of goodness here in our own backyard. Having completed my 200 hour teacher training at Yoga One Wellness in 2011, you can find me practicing and assisting in various places around Charlotte and beyond.
My mat is my own personal laboratory. I move things, change things, stretch things, ask my body to do sometimes unusual or even uncomfortable things, and that’s when the fun really starts. Only once I’m at my edge do I begin to practice how my mind reacts to those things. Being bendy and having firm glutes is a great side effect, but it’s that mind practice, that is my true practice. Besides, when $#!+ hits the fan off the mat, then I’ve already been practicing how or even IF I react, so that I’m able to move more mindfully through life. Oh yeah, and I keep breathing too.
I hope to see your mat next to mine!