“Gently begin to wiggle your fingers and toes.”
That sentence sealed the deal for me. I was in my very first yoga class, being guided out of Savasana (Corpse Pose), and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so good. I immediately knew that I needed to share this practice with as many people as possible.
My first yoga class was everything I needed it to be- inviting, interesting, calm, challenging at times, quiet, safe, warm, with time at the end for rest and relaxation. I had never experienced something so balanced before from physical exercise. For the first time in my life, I felt certain about something I knew so little about.
Unfortunately, not everyone has this experience. Sometimes the teacher, the style or the level of practice is not appropriate for a first time student. Sometimes, the first time student decides yoga is “not for them.” This is the worst case scenario and it is why yoga teachers have a responsibility to make sure new students feel seen during class and heard from after class, to make sure they know their options when it comes to the physical practice.
Thankfully, my first exposure was perfect. Shortly after my first class, I started ordering back issues of Yoga Journal. This was 2007, just before the time of quick google searches over smart phones. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could, as quickly as I could and Yoga Journal seemed like my best option.
I started bringing pictures of models doing headstand and handstand into my yoga class and asked my teacher if she would stay after and show me how to start working towards these challenging poses. She was so open and patient with me, a true teacher.
The day after my husband and I moved to Bethlehem, I marched right up the Yoga Loft steps and asked for a desk job. I went to yoga almost every day, sometimes two times a day, and soaked up all the new knowledge I could from different teachers.
About a year later, I was brave enough to ask the owner if she thought I was ready for yoga teacher training. She said, “I think you’d be perfect for it!” So I dove in and the rest is history.
This past decade of practicing yoga has taught me more than I could have ever imagined about myself and how I relate to the world. Yoga teaches me how I can be a better version of myself in challenging situations both on and off my mat. It helps me see how my physical yoga practice is simply a reflection of my life. My yoga practice teaches me something new every day. Above all, yoga teaches me how to love, especially when it’s hard.