Yoga has been a part of my life for over 7 years now. When people ask me, “what got you into yoga?”, I specifically hone into the time of my life when I was subtly looking for that spiritual guidance, that sense of direction that I believe most souls yearn for.
Although productive, none of the things I was involved with when I was 19 landed right. Looking back now, I knew this deep down. I felt the pressure of finishing school for the sake of having a degree and wanting to set an example as the oldest sibling. I didn’t put much thought into what I wanted to do. I liked fashion- I became a model at age 15 and this taught me to nourish my creative side. At the time it was a dream job. I had always been in love with style, so when it came time to pick a degree it felt practical to just continue in the fashion industry, and study fashion design.
I noticed I had a lot of noise or inner dialogue in my mind. Life was becoming uncomfortable because I was not functioning from a clear headspace. I was confused because even though my life looked good on the surface, I wasn’t fully engaged in the things I was doing. I found when I relocated to a college town and told people I was in school, they took me more seriously, and assumed I had it together. It did feel good, yet I was really muscling my way through, hoping that things would feel aligned at the “end goal” of graduation and moving into the fashion industry.
I knew very little about yoga when I began. The thought of bringing some sort of activity in my life felt good, but I was more so looking for a “work-in” rather than a “work-out”. The first time I stepped onto the mat, which was actually a deflated air mattress, I remember YouTube - Yoga instructing me to press my feet into the ground, and to take the deepest of breaths.
Even though this practice was so new to me, something about the movements linked with my breath felt so familiar. I began to feel that there was an energetic flow within myself that allowed me to be spiritually guided. My mind was blown when I began to feel the ground beneath me because I finally felt my feet.
For the first time, I visualized my lungs being stretched to the edges with breath. I began to understand what it was like to stand in my body, and tune inwardly. Standing on a flat airbed with eyes closed and breathing is the weirdest thing, but I knew that, “this is where it’s at.” I allowed myself to feel what it was like to let my body decide what it needed, instead of me deciding what my body needs. I was intuitively, trusting myself more.
Before the next fall semester began, I decided to take another breath, and not attend school. I continued to work in fashion styling where I felt so content. I even relocated out of the college town and moved closer to my job.
Of course, life is funny though. As soon as I moved a mile away from my job, I got laid off. At first, I thought, “no worries, no worries.” I had a bit of savings to dip into, and I didn’t mind getting more acquainted with my first, non-roommate apartment. I bought my first yoga mat and turned my living space into my play space where my turtle could roam freely, and I could check-in with myself through movement, and create art.
Month one, two, and three passed by, but I still found zero work. I took the opportunity to find volunteer work to learn new skills and yet a job was still out of reach. At times, I’d look around at the scattered art and clothing projects that I permanently kept on the floor of my living room feeling liberated, yet also feeling like a bum. I would wake up in the morning feeling crazy, wondering why I couldn’t land a job as fast as I thought I should and was honestly annoyed that I was beginning to memorize my references phone numbers with each job application.
In the meantime, my yoga mat became a prized possession that I used daily. I noticed a shift in my quality of living. I noticed that I could notice something like a “shift.” I then realized that a “shift” was happening the whole time before I even realized it was a “shift.”
When my situation felt tight, the universe always came through and supported me. If I felt hungry, magically my phone would ring and my best friend would be on the line wanting to share his gift card with me to go grab some wings. The first of the month seemed to hit so soon, yet rent would be paid. Whether a friend of a friend would hire me for a runway show, or photo shoot, or I saved extra cash because my parents were feeling generous and would buy me groceries. My sweet best friend even bought me a yoga membership at the same time he did. Although I did not have a job, or steady income, I was living the dream. I noticed that as long as I learned to smile, ground down, and leak light, I would be taken care of.
I went 7 months without a job, yet I was able to experience a sense of balance and stability. I was blessed beyond belief. I learned to trust the process. I was subtly reminded of my life mantra that “things always work out for me, whether I like it or not.” I hated that I lost my job, yet it worked out. In fact, I’d say that it changed the game. I was able to step out of the secular world for a moment and simply practice being myself. I’m very grateful that even with nothing, I learned to become rich in spirit.
After seeing the change in me, I became inspired to learn about mental processes and wanted others to experience themselves through this practice of yoga, mindfulness, and the Self. I discovered that there is a practice that will meet the individual wherever they may be. I went back to school and changed my major where I am now studying psychology with the goal of merging yoga and therapy as my new “end goal.”
I completed my teacher training in 2017 where I also developed a meditation and journaling practice that became this sweet additive that assisted me in living more mindfully. After a while, I noticed that I was literally living and seeing life more vividly. Yoga has never solved any of my problems, and it has never made a struggle go away. Instead I approach challenge with a sense of clarity. This allows my life experiences to be richer and better, because I am better. I am always the student, learning to thrive in the muddiest of waters.