On our yoga mat exists a sacred space that only you, your spirit and whichever higher power you believe in are privy to. With this comes a great responsibility to understand and let go of ego, emotion and thoughts that not only crowd this beautiful place but also distract from the meditation.
I opened the studio two years ago because I believe in the power of our Yoga to heal the mind, strengthen the body and lift the spirit. Admittedly, my practice was never as much about losing weight or getting healthy as it was about self-discovery and spiritual healing. I had just lost my younger brother to an auto-immune disease in 2008 and I was trying very hard to focus on the positive in life and reconstruct my emotional wellbeing. That’s when I began my yoga journey at what was then Bikram Yoga Stockton. Through a regular practice, the love and respect of my teachers and support of my family I could find some solid emotional ground to stand on. This loss taught me to appreciate every moment in our short lives and try to live to the fullest.
I was never asked why I practiced as it didn’t really matter to anyone but me. My teachers at that time would just respect the dialogue and allow it to work it’s ‘magic’ without any judgements or expectations. They realized then, as I realize now that I was my best teacher. With every drop of sweat that tumbled down my body, I slowly let go of all that clouded my mind and began to understand how to focus on the present rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future.
With this thought in mind, I instruct and constantly remind our teachers to lead class with love and care. We may never know the yogi’s state of mind that are practicing on the mat next to ours, but what we do know is what happens between our own mats and ourselves. Our battles are fought within us and deep within our own minds, everything else that goes on in the hot room is a distraction from our own practice.
Next time, you’re on your mat and you see someone struggling or a fellow student not following proper yoga etiquette or making funny noises; send them some love and give them a smile. You never know how far your kindness will go to make that student’s day better.
Through love, compassion and understanding we will heal together. We will become stronger together. We will build better communities together. We will Persevere together and most importantly we will learn to live fuller, happier, longer and healthier lives.
With Love and light.