My Yoga Story
Where It All Began
Many of us realize our dreams during childhood. Mine was to become an Olympic gymnast. As a little girl I would do cartwheels and handstands all over the house. I begged my parents to enroll me in gymnastics classes but at the time they could not afford it. Over time, I stopped doing gymnastics and my passion for it fell to the wayside although I was still very passionate about health and fitness.
Years later, one of my best friends invited me to go to a yoga class with her. It was my first time trying yoga and after the class, I was hooked. I felt a surge of happiness flow through my body rekindling my passion for gymnastics. Although I fully understand that yoga and gymnastics are two separate forms of physical activity there is definitely a lot of overlap in poses and instruction. It was more than just the endorphins releasing through my body. I knew that there was something about yoga that was part of my calling. I realized that two things – one, I was happy and my most confident when I felt strong and capable of achieving something I didn’t think I could and two, I loved sharing this experience with people. This is how I knew I found my passion and purpose in life. After class was over I knew I wanted to enroll in a yoga teacher-training program to become a certified instructor.
“when your passion meets your desire to share it with the world, that is when you have found your purpose”
The Yoga Teach Training Experience
In January 2013, I began my 200 YTT course. The program was three weeks long from 7am to 7pm Monday through Friday. At the time, I only had six months of yoga practice and wasn’t very strong. I could barely hold my weight in the Chaturanga Dandasana pose let alone do any of the advanced inversions. I would look around the room and see my yogamates effortlessly breathing into the poses, balancing the crow, and floating into handstands. I felt like an imposter. What was I doing in a yoga-training program without knowing how to work any of the poses? Nonetheless, I was determined to complete the program by practicing and improving my strength. It was hard and I would get so upset with myself if I didn’t achieve the pose. We truly are our greatest critics.
By the end of the training program, I had developed a new sense of confidence and was a lot better in many of the poses I couldn’t do just three weeks prior. I was a master at the Chaturanga and could even hold myself up in a lotus headstand pose with controlled movement. I was so proud of how much my practice improved in such a short amount of time albeit, it took an intensive learning experience to get there.
Once the three weeks were over, I was ready for the final exam to teach a class. I was really nervous especially since I hated public speaking and still wasn’t an expert in all of the poses. At the end of the exam, my instructor provided some interesting constructive criticism. He stated that I needed to develop more confidence in myself in order to become the person I was meant to be. He saw my potential to becoming an influential person and a strong yoga teacher but stated that I needed to get out of my own way. At the time, I didn’t fully understand what he meant but upon reflection, I realized that I was often too timid to establish my presence. As a yoga instructor, I have the ability to empower others to reach their goals beyond physical or fitness related during a class but also personal goals through acceptance, non-judgment, and inspiration. At the end of his assessment he stated that I will be a great yoga teacher and wished me luck.
I was so happy that I finally reached my dream of becoming a certified yoga instructor and was ready to start building my practice all over NYC. Unfortunately, my dream did not last long. A few days later I was diagnosed with endometriosis and a huge cyst on my right ovary. I was told that I should stop exercising to prevent ovarian torsion. So I did until I received the surgery and recovered. (To learn more about my endometriosis story click here). The recovery was more so emotionally painful than physically. Scars heal but sadness stays with you for a lifetime if you let it. I felt like the endometriosis was a huge obstacle for me to achieve my dreams and even questioned whether this was the right dream to follow.
Life happens when you are making plans
It’s funny how life likes to throw these little curve balls at you just when you think you’ve got everything under control. I learned a lot from this experience: (1) you can’t let life’s curve balls get you down. It’s not what happens to you but how your respond to it that makes the difference. Know that there is a lesson to be learned from everything. (2) Let it pass but continue to move toward your goals. It was painful to start practicing again because I still felt the wounds from the surgical incisions. Still, I was determined to continue my practice because I knew that this was always going to be a part of my life. (3) Your health is the only true wealth you will ever have. Our bodies are the temples where our spirit resides and flourishes but it must be nurtured. When I was recovering, I was not motivated to practice nor was I able to tap into my creativity. When your body is not healthy everything else around can quickly fall apart. When your body is strong you are able to meet life’s challenges head on and come out on top. I urge you all to take better care of yourselves and hold on to your wealth.
Where Am I Now?
It’s been five years since my yoga journey began and I’ve continued to pursue yoga on and off during this time. I am now embarking on a new yoga journey and have now decided to create a business that is rewarding and impactful. Thus, I founded ILYNSI Yoga, a yoga brand to inspire others to reach their personal and fitness goals. I hope you will follow along this journey with me!
Let’s keep this conversation going! Let me know in the comments below what has been your yoga journey.