What Is Yoga for Me?
In the Western world, each yoga instructor and practitioner seems to have their own definition and lens of which they view yoga. I think it can get a little fuzzy on what yoga truly embodies. Is it an exercise, religion, a set of gymnastic contortions, a method to relax, a way to practice mindfulness, a new trendy millennial lifestyle, etc? These are all different assumptions and constructions that have been made about the practice of yoga in the West.
Yoga, for me, is an experimental and experiential philosophy I use to connect deep within my truest self and to the highest source. The word “yoga” translates from Sanskrit to mean union. Yoga is a practice of movement and breathwork that prepares the body for meditation so that one can find union with themselves and with God. I find it extremely important to honor the sacredness of the practice.
I began my yoga teacher training in June 2015 at Passion Yoga School in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. I studied under Adi Shakti, who taught the teachings of the Akhanda lineage created by Yogrishi Vishvaketu. This lineage encompasses the most traditional and purest elements of yoga. My first yoga training offered me an opportunity to explore my inner workings, spirituality, and the truest yogic wisdom. My 200 hour training ignited a fire of transformation, personal growth, and desire to seek deeper.
In November 2018, I traveled to Rishikesh, India to do my 300 hour teacher training course. After 3 and a half years of working on my own growth and developing my voice as a teacher, I was hungry to go to the source. I studied at Ananda Prakash Ashram under Yogrishi Vishvaketu in the Akhanda Yoga, the lineage I was first trained under. Akhanda Yoga is a style of yoga that incorporates asana, pranayama, soundwork, meditation, and yogic wisdom. The word akhanda translates from Sanskrit meaning “whole”.
I work to stay true to incorporating each of the Akhanda elements into all my classes. My classes are the balance of an Eastern meets Western style of yoga. Through my time in India, I have learned the importance of keeping yoga sacred. My teachers have held space for me as well as given me the tools to level up with myself to be able hold space for others. I create classes for my students to spend an equal effort connecting with their bodies as they do connecting with themselves.