Before I began my yoga practice, I was completely out of touch with my body. I didn’t have much physical strength and, honestly, I wasn’t even aware of my physical self. I remember my first yoga class as if it were yesterday. I had zero expectations, just curiosity. As I began to flow, I saw movements and shapes that I had never seen before, strength that I never knew was possible. I was fascinated. From that moment on, my life changed. With my eyes open to these new possibilities, I couldn’t learn fast enough.

Yoga before Instagram?

When I started practicing, Instagram did not exist. Nor did Codyapp or other video platforms we now have to learn from and get inspired by. I took as many classes as I could, and I searched the internet for as much information as I could. I spent hours upon hours at home trying to recreate the inspiring poses, arm balances and handstands I saw in class. I started making up my own yoga flows and movements. I practiced in front of a mirror to check alignment and see how my body moved. What I didn’t realize was that all my home practice and self study was teaching me the greatest lesson of all: awareness. Body awareness and body control are the most important tools you can apply to your physical practice.

Back to the beginning

About 18 months into my practice, I suffered a major setback—an emergency abdominal surgery. It completely halted my physical practice. At that point in my life, yoga was everything to me. The journey of starting over was very humbling, but I carried with me internal strength; that little voice inside that urged me to keep going. As I slowly came back to the mat, it felt like coming home. I failed, but I got back up.  So many poses felt completely impossible, but I knew if someone else could do it, so could I. I never gave up and came back stronger than ever. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t really starting over. I now had all the awareness and muscle memory that I lacked before. I knew my body and I knew my mind. I had a stronger sense of self and even more determination. Six months later, I achieved what was my biggest yoga goal at that time—the press to handstand. Two months later, I had the courage to get my certification to teach yoga. After that, my life changed…

True strength is more than a physical goal

True strength is more than a handstand or any other physical goal. It is something that comes from within. It is knowing you are capable of your wildest dreams. It’s about empowering yourself and those who come into contact with you daily. True strength takes determination, a strong will and willingness to keep going when you fail. It is knowing who you really are, inside and out. It’s as much about body awareness and control as it is steadiness of mind and strength of character.