My first yoga experience was at home with a Rodney Yee DVD. The first time I came into Down Dog I literally yelped with discomfort. I was extremely inflexible, overcome with self-doubt, physical pain and the stress of life. I wasn't anywhere near being able to touch my toes and stretching was in general uncomfortable. Yet, somewhere deep inside I felt drawn towards the practice.
One day, I got up the courage to attend an actual yoga class. The teacher was a skinny man with a calm voice and an observant personality. I had a really hard time focusing my mind at first. It was difficult not thinking about 100 other things...like how stupid I felt I looked compared to the pretty girls practicing beside me. I got confused with all the lefts and rights, directional cues and foreign positions. At one point in class the teacher leaned over, giggled softly, smiled and asked me in a non-judgemental way, "Are you comfortable?" He helped me find comfort and the same position as the rest of the class without skipping a beat. It made me realize that it was okay to not practice "perfectly". That the people in the room were not there to judge me and that just by being there... it was somehow enough.
By the end of the first yoga class I was actually able to quiet my mind to the degree that I could listen (at least a little bit). I heard the teacher talk about focusing on your breathing and noticing the sensations in your body. He helped us to be really present and mindful of our experience. At one point or another, my hyperactive analytical mind stopped trying controlling things. Then something magical happened, I did something I probably hadn't really done in years...I relaxed.
I left that class feeling light, free and happy. It was life-changing as I don't remember ever feeling like that before. Afterwards, I continued practicing at home and in yoga classes several times a week. I discovered that yoga not only helped me feel better in the short term but also with in the long-term. Chronic low back pain and migraines slowly went away, I recovered from eating disorders, my stress levels dropped, digestion improved and I was a happier version of myself. To put it simply, practicing yoga made me feel better.
Feeling better was and has always been the main reason I practice yoga. When I feel better I am a better person. I practice yoga because I want to be a healthy, happy, comfortable and peaceful individual. It is my life's goal to help others and the best way to help others... is to help myself.
Why do you practice Yoga?
Keri Marino is an internationally Registered Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist and Propmaker. She owns and operates Yoga Unique offering Yoga Therapy, Classes, Workshops and Yoga products. It is her mission to empower others to have improved quality of life through the practice of Yoga!
I'm a Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher & Mama Bear who is all in on mindful authentic living. This blog is a collection of my passion for all things yoga, nutrition, health and cooking. Subscribe to the blog for monthly goodies delivered right to your email!