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My Yoga Journey

September 20, 2012

As a yoga teacher, I often get asked what it was that drew me to the practice. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), I don’t have any dramatic stories about yoga repairing my body after an accident or an incredible epiphany that changed my world. I was just curious.

I’ve always been interested in different spiritualities and spiritual practices and I’d wondered what yoga was about. I’d read a few interesting tomes on the psychic effects of yoga and my interest was piqued. I’d read of the wonderful psychological benefits and, lastly, of the physical benefits. So, essentially, I went into it backwards.

Where most practitioners begin their yoga journey with the physical and work up towards the spiritual/energetic, I started the other way around. I began my first class with my mum at a recreation centre and discovered the enormous effort it takes, in the beginning, to ignore the noise of balls bouncing and whistles blowing whilst in relaxation. Over time one learns to let the external go, but in the beginning that is nearly impossible.

I seethed in the frustration of my inability to concentrate or to visualise the settings that my yoga teacher described. I desperately tried to keep my focus on my breath whilst straining through poses that my body wasn’t ready for. In essence, I let my ego take control.

After 2 terms at the recreation centre my mum and I decided to try a place that she’d seen on her way home from work. It was at an ashram situated at the top of a limestone cliff in the middle of suburbia. It had been there all my life but in the countless years I’d driven past it I’d never given it a second thought. So we began our practice at Beacon Yoga Centre at the Sivananda Ashram and from the moment I saw the picture of Swami Venkatesananda (the Centre’s founder) I knew I was home.

My recreation centre teacher had been amazing and, despite the less than perfect setting, she’d laid the foundations for us to develop a firm practice. However, at the Beacon Yoga Centre it all came together and the connection to myself came to the fore. I had never really “felt” the movemenst my body had made before but the wonderful teachers that I practiced under encouraged us to focus on the body and the breath together. From there we learned to delve within.

From that time yoga has carried me through relationship break-ups, traumatic births, wonderful epiphanies (yes, I had them eventually) and spiritual awakenings. When everything else has been crumbling around me my mat was my refuge. I hope you find your practice benefits you in similar ways.

Aum Shanti to you and yours x

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