A few times over the past couple years I have been asked the question, “When did you start practicing yoga?” I realized that, subconsciously, I have been practicing yoga throughout my life and in various ways since I was five years old. At that age, I would put on “shows” for my grandparents, featuring Hanumanasana (splits, or Monkey Pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose), and Urdhva Dhanurasana (back bend). As a young introvert, dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation) arose naturally when I was by myself—reading, painting, playing, or skating.
I was brought up to understand the ground rules of satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), and aparigraha (non-greed). Oh, the stories I could tell about the learning curve of being truthful! Always seeking knowledge (svadhyaya), I was guided to explore different languages, cultures, and ethnic and religious differences.
My subconscious yoga experience continued as I got older. As a young adult, a difficult-to-treat skin condition led me to encounter doctors who practice the Buteyko Breathing Method, a pranayama practice that helped me to heal. My path has been long and rich with experiences, both good and bad, that have made me who I am—and brought me to the place I am—today.
Consciously, I found my way to the yoga practice ten years ago when a good friend invited me to a class at another yoga studio in Port Charlotte. I don’t remember the exact experience, but I do remember that I wanted to come back. I felt at home, and I knew there was a lot to explore and learn.
During my first year of practice, each class intrigued me more. I wanted more of this abundant, available knowledge. I participated in many firsts: a kirtan with David Newman, a book club, and a Sanskrit language and Indian spices workshop. I trained in Reiki I and II. This growth made me feel comfortable with who I was and where I was, and it defined the path to where I wanted to go. I know that I will be on that path for many years to come.