I always thought yoga was just a bit of stretching and rolling on the floor with a touch of spirituality and beyond the universe.
That was actually a pretty accurate representation of my very first yoga class ever. I did not know whether to laugh or walk out of the room when the teacher said (in a Professor Trelawney voice): “Become one with the floor.”
Yet a few years later, when my universe was beyond chaotic and my brain a mess of stress, I Googled for yoga, and found Yoga With Adriene. She introduced me to yoga and its philosophy with a sense of humour and down-to-earthness that had me hooked day after day after day after day (I could write this another couple hundred times). I owe my practice and my teachings to her.
Find what feels good.Adriene Mishler (Yoga With Adriene)
Adriene got me out of my head and into my body. She brought me more than a release from day-to-day chaos: practising her yoga strengthened my body and helped my right shoulder finally recover fully from surgery after years of pain. The true transformation went even deeper: thanks to Adriene’s yoga, I found a force against my eating disorder, as my body found its voice and my brain was open to listening.
The more I practised, the more curious I became, so I decided to go to a yoga studio, just for a class or two a week. Before I knew it, I was taking at least four a week. As my curiosity kept growing, I signed up for my 200-hour teacher training at Frog Lotus Yoga in 2017 and graduated as a Vinyasa Flow teacher. I never intended to teach; let’s just say I keep surprising myself!
“Life is a practice of curiosity”
One of my reasons for doing the teacher training was that I would “know” how to practise yoga safely. The training was alignment-based and had even provided us with checklists of how to do the poses; check all the boxes and you’re good! I thrived in the beginning, but after a few months, something felt off. Every morning I would come off the mat feeling stressed, and it wasn’t until I read something about “embodied yoga” that I realised why: with alignment-based yoga, I had gone back to where I started, to what brought me to yoga in the first place – a place in which my brain thought for my ration and my body. While Adriene had invited me to “find what feels good,” my teacher training had taught me to think about the alignment. For my brain, that makes it difficult to get out of the thinking mind.
With embodied yoga though, a whole new world opened up. It’s all about moving based on what your body needs, and since your brain can’t truly know what it needs, you need to tap into your body. The body contains so much knowledge and information, and embodied yoga has taught me how to access that and tune into it. It requires a certain curiosity, and since I’ve used that word a few times in this story already, it’s needless to say that this embodied practice excites me. It also blends in modern movement principles and a touch of science to help you feel and experience, and know intuitively whether a certain way of moving is what you need in this moment and safe for you. What’s more is that I sense a massive and positive shift in my eating disorder recovery as well.
I’m currently doing my advanced 300+-hour teacher training with Julie Martin (Brahmani Yoga), who introduced me to embodied yoga. She always says that “Life is a practice of curiosity.” And so it is with curiosity that I approach this yogic adventure of mine.
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