I came to yoga in a way that is not usual for me—little by little, one piece at a time. Usually, I hit things full force, but with yoga it was a much slower process in the beginning. My first experience with yoga was attending classes with a friend of mine in a large room in a scientific warehouse. My friend and I liked the class, but we didn’t stick with it. We were power-walkers at the time, walking up the mountains of Charleston, West Virginia at break-neck speed.
I then bought a yoga DVD called “The Firm.” This was so appropriate as I was still a busy practicing attorney. I remember the DVD as being very challenging, which I liked, but to me it was still just exercise.
Then in the middle of a very stressful, life-changing year, I booked myself a retreat in Grass Valley, California at an Ashram. There, I was introduced to the book “Autobiography of a Yogi,” by Paramahansa Yogananda. I began to meditate a little and it seemed to have some impact on my stress. A few months later, I came to my first studio yoga class. It was an Ashtanga class! Little did I know that yoga did not have to be as hard as Ashtanga. My experience with “The Firm” and Ashtanga led me to believe that yoga was a kick-butt kind of exercise, with a calming mental side to it (at least in Savasana).
Now I was hooked. I think I needed all the physicality of Ashtanga because my mind was so fast-moving and cluttered, that the thought of sitting still without first wearing myself out seemed an impossible one. I loved my first teacher, Jeff, who was very kind and more than a little goofy. Jeff was a follower of Swami Vidyadhishananda and so I attended a four day silent retreat led by the Swami at the Hari Krishna Temple in West Virginia. That was the beginning of my quest for more—more spirituality in my yoga, more variety in my yoga (slow as well as vigorous yoga), and more time and energy devoted to my yoga.
Since then I have taken five teacher trainings (200 hour, Yin, Ashtanga, 500 hour, and Pranayama) and have retreated with Yogananda’s disciple, Roy Eugene Davis. I have even started my own type of yoga, wherein I combine the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with the 8 Limbs of Yoga. It is not a type of asana (posture) class, but more a philosophy/meditation experience. I am writing a book entitled “12 Steps on the 8-Fold Path.” I feel so blessed to have been given the gift of love of yoga. I want to share it with the world!