It was New York City spring time, and Yoga was transitioning into a full-blown industry and studios were mushrooming up on corners all over the city. My first class was an advanced Vinyasa, level 2/3 and I walked in with a big smile on my face, not knowing what to expect.
Confident that I could handle anything advanced yoga could throw at me, and it only took twenty minutes before the practice eroded all sense of competence.
All around me, other people were going upside down, placing their legs in ways that I didn't know were possible and holding high planks for periods of time that would put Rambo to shame. The teacher took us into my first ever Warrior 2 and making this shape with my body triggered a slow sink-drip of tears down my face. I was crying, and I didn't know why.
Sixteen years later, yoga is still in my life and has become a key tool for dealing with all kinds of feelings and emotions, both good and bad. During the most challenging times in my life, I would attend yoga classes every day of the week, sometimes doing two or three classes in one day.
In all my years of gymnastics, I had never encountered tears
in a stretch. Clearly, yoga was not just about putting your body
Right from the early days of my yoga practice, I was deeply interested in the origin of this practice and wanted desperately to understand the spiritual and mystical aspects of the practice. I spent hours each week searching bookstores in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles for anything I could find about yoga, it's history and meaning. (This was pre-Internet Information explosion.) I read a lot and spoke to many great yogis.
I continued to practice diligently. I wanted to understand how
external things contribute to or shape my internal self.
Years later I realised that everything that I read about yoga, it's meaning, it's intentions and how to practice...everything on deities like Shiva, Ganesh and Parvati... everything on ancient mantras or in the ancient texts like the Bhagavad Gita... it all meant nothing. I realised that yoga exists no where outside the body. Yoga existed in my heart and everything I needed to know was already inside me.
I have trained with some of the greatest teachers in this world and experienced some of the best yoga retreats available. However, my inner truth and heart is filled the most when I do my self practice, or when I teach others. My yoga classes are fast, challenging and my class teachings are usually themed around something that I'm currently practicing myself.