My yoga practice has evolved immensely through the years. I first found yoga after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in high school. A yoga teacher taught a weekly class at my dance studio and after I couldn't dance anymore, yoga allowed me to continue connecting to and moving my body in a way I enjoyed.
I practiced yoga and other fitness classes throughout college and graduate school and then after moving to California my mom suggested doing a teacher training program while I was looking for a job. On the first day of class I knew I had found my calling. I began to tear up and remember thinking "this is what I am meant to do with my life."
After I graduated, I taught at yoga studios until I realized I wanted more. I wanted a place that represented my beliefs about yoga, health, fitness, and wellness. So I made the leap and opened my own studio. It was hard, but oh so fulfilling, especially in hindsight.
I taught multiple classes a day--both group classes and private lessons--and I taught six days a week. My practice was teaching. I was known for my challenging classes, but also for making people feel good both on and off the mat. I created a community that I am still proud of.
At my studio, I taught throughout my pregnancy. During the last month when I could barely walk, I sat on a stability ball while I taught. My students knew my language and I could guide them through a class with just my words. In fact, I taught until the day I went into labor. As I sat in my hospital bed, after coming in because my water had broken, I was texting my private clients to cancel their sessions, and reaching out to teachers to cover my classes.
I taught a handful of times at my studio after giving birth. At this point, my studio was no longer "mine" as I had sold it to one of my students in preparation for us moving. The sale date was set for a few days after Henry's arrival since he came earlier than expected.
After moving I began teaching again with Henry when he was about half a year old. Even though we've moved again since then, we still teach together. Though, rather than teaching up to seven classes a day like I once did, I only teach one class a week. There are times I really miss it. I miss teaching and doing what I am really good at. I miss pushing people and challenging people, helping people grow, devoting myself to them, nurturing them, helping them build confidence, seeing their health and lives change for the better, and I miss my old students and my studio.
At the same time, I realize how much bigger my yoga practice is these days. I rarely practice the yoga I used to. Mostly I stretch and meditate in the evening before going to bed. Other than that, my yoga is practicing presence with my son. It's breathing, it's slowing down, it's practicing gratitude. My yoga is not the strength training caloric burn it used to be, and that's okay. I like to think that one day this yoga will help me be a better teacher. When I am able to return to what I love and what I believe I do really well, I will be better because my yoga is more rounded thanks to its evolution.
The greatest thing about yoga is it can meet us where we are. It doesn't have to be practiced on a mat and it doesn't even have to entail moving. I used to tell my students that "as long as you are breathing you are doing yoga." That stands so much today. As long as I am breathing I am doing yoga. It may not look like much from the outside, but I am grateful for my practice--both as it was in the past and as it is today.