The day I found yoga, I established my true home in this chaotic and unpredictable world. I suffered from anxiety and depression for most of my life and never really came across any sort of helpful tools useful for dealing with these undesirable facets.
The date was August 9, 2016 and I was living in San Francisco at the time. I just ended the weekend after attending Outsidelands; a musical festival held in Golden Gate Park. I woke up that morning and felt as if my world was slowly crumbling around me.
I was consumed by sadness, drowning in the lack of desire to get out of my bed. I found myself hysterically crying over absolutely nothing. This was also quite common for me after events that involved exuding more happiness or excitement than usual.
One of the many unconscious ways I was leaking energy in my pre-yoga days. After crying on the phone with my mother for almost an hour, who mind you was 3,000 plus miles away in sunny south Florida, she encouraged me to get up and go to the gym.
She knows that working out always makes me feel better and she told me giving that a try was better than wallowing in my own self-pity. As I headed up the stairs of the gym, I started to think about my routine and where my workout would begin for the day.
If the thought even crosses your mind it’s probably for a reason.
Something pulled me toward the private room where I noticed a bunch of people lying on mats on the floor. As I peered through the glass walls, I noticed there was no teacher present and the yoga class had not started quite yet.
So, without a mat or even a clue as to what I was getting myself into, I sat on the hardwood floor and awaited the arrival of our teacher. Suddenly, she walked through the door and introduced herself.
And just like that my whole world was lit on fire. I had no previous knowledge of asana, never did any of this before in my entire life but, somehow my body was flowing with such grace. As I was moving my body something inside of my started to turn and I found myself beginning to cry all over again.
Only this time these were not tears of sadness but, tears of joy and contentment. I felt as though I’d finally found the missing piece to the puzzle within; like this empty void I’d felt my whole life was finally filled.
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This coming from someone who suffered from a complex of crying in front of others, let alone a room full of strangers. I was taught that crying was a form of weakness and at the time my ego was in control of every form of myself expression. After class ended, I waited to speak with YogiMani and as I approached her I thanked her and asked if I could give her a hug. She replied with a luminous smile and a gracious yes.
Your story is unique and there are people out there that need to hear what you have to say.
From that moment, I was hooked; I asked her about reading material, her teaching schedule, and anything else I could think of in that moment as the gears in my head were vigorously grinding.
The second I left the gym, I got on the phone with my mom and informed her of what had just transpired. From that occasion forward, I started attending YogiMani’s classes every Tuesday and Thursday religiously. I felt so liberated; like I’d never been more focused, balanced, or aligned in synchronicity with anything in my life. I was convinced that yoga had cured my anxiety and depression but, this was not exactly the case.
Around mid-October I started to engage with certain distractions that the universe was testing me with. I stopped attending classes, lost focus of myself, and just like that my depression had swooped in full force. I found myself back in my bed and plummeting into ground zero. By the end of February, I decided to move back to Florida in the hopes of finding my happiness being surrounded by family.
Teaching yoga is more than just about moving the body.
This was another misconception that I possessed at the time; the thought of finding peace or contentment in anything outside of myself. It was around mid-April when my mom said to me, “Take a look at the Coconut Creek magazine on the table, there’s a new yoga studio that just opened up down the street on the cover.”
The next day I called the studio, Evolution Yoga. A woman named Maxine Schwartz answered the phone and proceeded to give me the lowdown. Suddenly a little voice in my head whispered to me, “Ask her if they’re hiring.” So, I did and she replied, “Actually we are, can you come in tomorrow morning with your resume?”
The next day I went in to meet with Maxine and as she was giving me a tour of this enormously gorgeous yoga studio, she kept staring at me. Finally, she stopped and said, “I don’t know what it is but, I just have this really good feeling about you.”
This world needs more people with the tenacity to spread their love and light all over.
Just like that, things started falling into place like magic. For the first time in my life, life was manifesting in such a cohesive and organic manner. I started working the front desk by the end of April and around the beginning of May, I had this vivid dream one night involving me and another teacher at Evolution by the name of Vikky Santana. I saw myself by her side in yoga teacher training learning everything she knows.
For me, becoming a teacher was the immediate response that rolled off the tip of my tongue with little to no thought or effort. I’d like to believe that there’s something to be said about that initial response regarding our true life’s purpose. This stuck with me throughout the rest of my educational career and when I graduated high school and went on to college, I continued down the path of teaching.
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My love for writing and literature fueled my decision to major in English as opposed to education but, my mindset was still geared toward teaching. I now understand why I never ended up teaching English in a public school. It’s not that I didn’t have the skill, drive, or opportunity. It’s that the universe had another plan for me outside the box of a more traditional classroom setting and environment.
I became a yoga teacher in the hopes of guiding others toward their own self liberation through creative expression involving both movement and stillness.