My journey to yoga began in 2006, one of my most difficult years. I was a trial attorney with a busy litigation practice, a husband, and two kids. That year my litigation practice left me with no time for family, let alone for myself. In August, the perfect storm was brewing: I lost an important case; my husband moved to our farm to run our organic chicken business; my daughter and I moved into an apartment; my father died in September; and by the end of the year, I knew I had to close my law firm after 11 years of practice. Not my finest hour.
In November I went on retreat at an ashram. I was already on a spiritual path, having developed a relationship with a higher power though my recovery from alcoholism in 1994. Because of this, I knew I was being opened up for a new and more meaningful life despite the seeming catastrophe occurring around me.
In 2007 I took a four week yoga class from a friend of mine, and later began practicing Ashtanga three or four times weekly. It was only on the mat that I felt the relief and peace that I needed to go on with my busy life. I realized I could no longer practice law the way I had for the last 19 years-pouring my heart, soul, and energy into a profession that thrived on derision, and in which there were only winners and losers. After leaving my employment, I began to come to my mat six or seven times a week, and my inner and outer strength grew.
In June of 2009, I went on a five day silent retreat and began learning about the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The philosophy of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga resonated with me like nothing else I had studied before. When the Om Seva School of Yoga opened at the yoga studio where I practiced, I enrolled in a teacher training.
Even as I learned how to teach yoga, I never saw myself as a yoga teacher. I merely wanted to immerse myself into my newfound joy. However, I received the book How Yoga Works, by Michael Roach. This fun little book is basically a parable of the Yoga Sutras and from it I learned that it is very much a part of the yogic tradition to share what you have been freely given, similar to a concept I had been taught in recovery-you can only keep what you are willing to give away.
In the summer of 2009 I moved to Englewood, Florida, and found The Yoga Sanctuary in 2010. When I met Bonnie and experienced the community there, I knew my practice had found a home. I began teaching yoga at The Yoga Sanctuary in 2011. I won’t pretend it came natural or that I didn’t feel, or still don’t at times feel, uncomfortable up there. After all, I ask myself, what do I know about this very large and powerful experience called yoga? But then I remind myself to share with you, my students, what has been so lovingly and freely shared with me. And so I sit on my mat, smile at your open faces, and begin.
A few of my favorites:
Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, though I also love anything by Susan Howatch.
Food: toasted homegrown tomato sandwich with butter and a smidgeon of sea salt.
Yoga Pose: Ardha chandrasana.
My most challenging pose is Bhujapidasana.