This may not make me proud, but I admit it: I came to yoga for the first time with the desire to achieve that elegant and firm “yoga body” that women wandered more and more in 2001. Running throughout my life, I hurt my knee and I was told to “look for another sport”.
Some friends took me to a Bikram class, where my rug and clothes turned into stinking piles of sweat. I didn’t like the repetition of the series or the lack of music, but I liked having a solid base in the poses. And, to my great satisfaction, I noticed that the pounds dropped when unknown muscles in my arms took shape.
Yes, yoga worked and I was satisfied.
But there was another unintended side effect. When I was 28, I had never tuned my body in my life. I could only have trained because I knew it was “good for me”. Now I noticed that I was really looking forward to sports. I had more energy and I felt clean afterwards. I longed for more.
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That’s when I fell in love with yoga – because of the physical benefits.
Two years later, my marriage started to fall apart and I fell in love with yoga the second time – because of its psychological benefits.
Everywhere in the hippie Mission District of San Francisco, the word on the street was that Rusty Wells was the man. The guru. The yoga guy who blows the mind of the blow. I decided to give him a chance.
Rusty has earned his reputation. I was hooked from day one. Not only did he learn a hardcore and steamy vinyasa stream, he also played an incredible soundtrack and sang during all classes. He spoke mainly of life lessons, how to let go, trust your way and believe that you are “more than enough”.
Together with his co-retreat leader, Janet Stone, who brought equal magic to his classes, Rusty introduced me to spirituality in a way I had never experienced before. I found the strength to make my marriage unhappy.
The divorce brought a whirlwind of self-loathing, a deep trauma that would take years to heal. During that time, I became a full-fledged yoga Catholic. Yoga was my refuge. My common sense. The only place I could go knowing that I would feel better.
Slowly, I started to put my life back together. In doing so, I realized that I had a burning desire to share the healing power of yoga with others. So, I followed a yoga teacher training with Ana Forrest. When it was over, I got an educational position at the Aha Yoga studio in San Francisco.
That’s when I fell in love with yoga the third time – because of the transformational benefits.
While I only had space in my schedule to teach one class a week, sharing yoga gave me the opportunity to connect with others around their personal transformations. I loved seeing how newbies started the awakening process, so excited to find that they could really love their bodies – even if they didn’t have LuLu Lemon’s “perfect” abs and thighs. Yes, they can forgive themselves and others for past mistakes. Yes, they could let go of their attachment to what life should be like and enjoy their blessings now.