I was first exposed to yoga at the age of 19 or 20 when my little sister—quite the workout video enthusiast—brought over her latest “thing.” We huffed and puffed our way through Alan Finger’s Power Yoga video, and I loved it. So I bought a few more videos and continued to take “classes” from the comfort of my living room in small town rural South Dakota. I didn’t take an actual class from a real live instructor until I was midway through my Bachelor’s degree at South Dakota State University. It was just a basic a gym yoga class, but opened up whole new world to me, and once again, I loved it. Also during that time, a friend invited me to a weekly guided meditation class, and I remember thinking to myself before that first session how “wise, centered, and well rounded” I was becoming. Ha! Little did I know that what I was really doing was planting the seeds that would end up sustaining me through an unpredictable and tumultuous time in my life, a time that was anything but centered. My yoga and meditation practices were erratic to say the least, but I always came back to the mat eventually.

Fast forward a decade or so, and I found myself at The Yoga Sanctuary, taking classes here and there, and feeling like I had found an actual yoga home. I felt a connection with the instructors, with the peace and refuge the studio provided, and with something inside myself. Then this summer, after two very difficult years—losing my mother to pancreatic cancer, moving my father into a nursing home memory care unit, followed by his passing less than a year later—I made, rather swiftly, one of the best decisions of my life. I chose to attend a teacher training program at Prajna Yoga in my beloved birthplace of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Studying with Tias and Surya Little was a life changing experience, of which alone I could write pages. Instead, I will sum it up with a poem that we read in class one day that spoke to my heart and resounded with the very core of my being.

The Journey

by Mary Oliver


One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

Mend my life!

each voice cried.

But you didnt stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations

though their melancholy

was terrible. It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice,

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do determined to save

the only life you could save.

My One Day had finally come, and I ran back to my roots in Santa Fe, back to nourish those seeds that had been planted so many years ago. Everyone’s life is a unique journey. My hope as a yoga teacher is that I will be able to draw from all of the experiences and people that have nurtured, encouraged, and inspired me on my journey, and pay it forward by offering guidance, encouragement, strength, and inspiration to others.