I still remember my yoga experience as a teen. It was not a very good one. I had a teacher who was super flexible and chose the hardest poses for the students. Being zero flexible at the time I wasn't able to follow most of the class and lost interest very quickly. I had no idea about the philosophy of yoga and decided that this wasn't for me. My body certainly wasn't made to be put into a pretzel shape or else.
Between this experience and my next yoga lesson almost 12 years passed. The husband of one of my colleagues started to teach yoga classes for us after work. His approach was so different and gentle. I was able to do all the poses and follow the class easily. What a blessing! This totally changed my perception of this ancient practise! From that time on I have been to many classes with many different teachers and even decided to do the yoga teacher training myself.
There are so many different kinds and styles of yoga. I'm teaching Viniyoga, which is a more therapeutic approach and adapts the various methods of practice to the unique condition, needs and interests of each student. After my experiences I realized how important it was to find the style that fits my needs, and how much responsibility there is to teach it in a proper way. People have all these images about yoga in their heads and whenever I talk to people who haven't done yoga before, their perception is that they are not flexible enough to do yoga. The reality is that yoga is so much more than the poses (asanas) we use nowadays, especially in the Western World. Initially, there was only one pose, a seated position which was attained to meditate. Imagine!
During my training, I loved to learn about yoga philosophy, pranayama (breathing) and meditation. It was truly eyeopening to understand that no body is equal to another, and how to adjust each pose to the different body types so the students can enjoy the full benefit. This made all the difference to me and showed me that yoga is for everybody. And that there was no need to put my body into a pretzel shape!
I never thought I would teach Yoga when I first started my teacher training. My intention was to learn more about my body and how to heal my constant back and neck pain I was suffering from for almost 20 years. After my training, I found it essential to share my new knowledge with other people. My intention was to help them to enjoy their practice as much as I did, and to give them tools to feel good in their bodies.
I take great pleasure from teaching, I love to see the smiling faces of the students and their energies. It is so gratifying to see how yoga can totally change a person's life. People get more self-confident, learn how to balance their stress, they start to embrace a healthier lifestyle and the outcome is just incredible.
Yoga has provided me with tools to connect to myself and to stay grounded. I got more confident and centered through conscious breathing. My body awareness has greatly increased. Maintaining a healthy and toned body through this practice was a game changer for me. What I most like about this practice is that I have learned to accept myself more, and that I'm so much more conscious about the way I treat and nourish myself.
The cool thing is, as much as we are teachers, we will always be students. Being here at Epicself, I have the great opportunity to take Amber's amazing classes everyday. I'm learning new techniques, how to challenge my body more and take it to the next level.
If you haven't taken a yoga lesson before, go for it! Remember yoga is for everybody, it is just a matter of finding a teacher and a practice that fits you. Beware that it likely changes your life!