I started doing yoga June of 2014, but the path that led me to yoga started a year before this. I started college in the Fall of 2012 and while I loved being there, I was struggling with my grades. I was always tired and I skipped classes. I didn’t have much motivation and I was homesick. I went to college across the country from my hometown. Because of all this I failed three classes my freshman year. I received notice from my college I was on academic probation and unless I appealed to them I would lose my loans and grants until my grades improved. This meant unless they approved my appeal, I wouldn’t be able to go back to that school because my family couldn’t afford the full tuition without those loans.
I realized I had minor depression and that was the cause of all of the symptoms I was experiencing. I also realized I’ve had it since high school but because I was so active from cheerleading, the natural endorphins released during exercise was keeping me from getting down and unmotivated. In my appeal to the college, I said all this, and decided to start working out again. I didn’t, and still don’t, want to take anti-depressants so I did my best to be more active. It worked to a certain extent but I’d only go to the gym once every other week throughout my sophomore year because it was hard for me to make my own workouts. My boyfriend at the time showed me how to slackline (like tightrope walking on a seatbelt-like strap that’s loose). That helped a bit with my mental health too. You need to clear your mind and focus on what your body is doing in that moment. Like going to the gym, I didn’t do that with enough frequency to see a huge difference in my happiness.
That summer (2014) I started going to yoga with my mom to be active. We would go twice a week. This was the first time I started noticing a difference. I was happy and healthy. I loved how the yoga class was different every time I went, and I loved my yoga teacher. As you get better you begin to notice you can do poses you couldn’t do before. I loved seeing the results I was getting.
I was doing yoga for the mental health benefits but I was also very focused on the change in my body. I got more toned and my belly got flatter. I was friends with self-conscious and insecure girls so I was also very much focused on how my body looked. When I got back to school for my junior year I started the fall semester doing yoga every day for two weeks. That quickly slowed to maybe once a week to every two weeks. But every time my mood became more negative I would do yoga and I would feel so much better. I also began slacklining more often as I could which served me as a great way to meditate. This continued for another year of school, up until I graduated college. The spring semester before I graduated I took a class about the history of yoga. I learned a lot about yoga, but it also peaked my interest in yoga so I decided to do a Yoga Teacher Training.
The following November I went to India to get my yoga teacher certificate. I learned even more, from the sanskrit names, types of meditations, and even things about myself. Something I am happy to have learned is how to move intuitively and make my own flows that are balanced and follow what my body needs.
My progress has ebbed and flowed over the past three years with my consistency and goals of my practice. I am now focusing on lifelong progress, instead of immediate results and picture perfect poses.