yoga: my story

Photo Credit: Justin Salem Meyer

I started practicing yoga in 2008, as a stressed graduate student living with my best friend in Chicago. 

The first time I went to a class, I felt like a total loser. I put the cost of the class on my credit card because I technically couldn't afford it. In the elevator on the way up to the studio, I felt the side-eye of woman next to me glaze over my baggy sweats and sorority t-shirt, but I didn't know the first thing about downward facing dog or Lululemon. An hour later, drenched in sweat, I felt exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

I kept showing up for yoga when I had the cash and the time, which mostly took the form of a 7 a.m. Saturday class at the gym down the street. Guy (yes, his real name) was in his mid-60s, flexible as hell, always remembered my name and laughed at his own jokes. He encouraged his students to stop taking everything so damn seriously, from child's to crow pose.

Yoga slowly turned the constant place where my always-on, type-A perfectionist self could let go and breathe.

Then I moved to the middle of Iowa, where I discovered a vibrant, growing yoga community and an opportunity to pursue teacher training—something I never really thought I would do. That was for, like, real yogis, and I was just a person who practiced sometimes and liked backbends and wasn't particularly "athletic." But I felt a tug of desire, and signed up anyway.

Sharing my love for yoga is now a substantial part of my identity; I love the opportunity to teach and give others an opportunity to stretch and move, grow and give, try and fail, breathe and become. I also remember what it's like to be intimidated by yoga—I mean, all the fancy poses and cool clothes and weird terminology can be a bit overwhelming. Still, I encourage everyone to give it a try; there are thousands of studios and teachers and styles and you have permission to explore.

When it comes to yoga, my motto is this: be kind to yourself, do what works, and be willing to adapt on the journey.