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How could I possibly step foot into a yoga studio looking like this!
These were my thoughts and words 8 years ago before starting a regular practice and
becoming a yoga teacher.
I thought for sure every student there would look as if they just stepped out of the pages of yoga journal magazine and then there was me post pregnancy body (I was a very hungry pregnant lady!!) I was positive my moves would not be as smooth as the rest of the class with this belly just kind of hanging there.
Then I promised myself that if I hated it I never had to go back but it was important for me to try.
Practicing from videos and books at home did't quite cut it, although I wasn't sure why since
yoga is a physical practice and all. Or so I thought...I found a studio and the date was set! I would attend a Tuesday evening class. It was gentle yoga so how bad could it be? Pulling up to the building I looked around to figure out where I was supposed to go in. It was an office building with lots of businesses...now I had to find where the studios was within this maze of offices. Before I knew it I was standing at the front door.
I opened the door and entered into a waiting room area. There was a book shelf with shoes in it. I thought that was weird but walked through toward the main yoga room. I was met by a student that was leaving a class and she let me know that shoes aren't worn in the yoga studio, it's a practice of respect. So that would explain why there were shoes in the book case...alrighty then! I went back to the waiting room took my shoes off and saw a women behind the window and told her I was new and asked if there was anything i needed to do. She had me fill out a form and she took my information. Ok, that wasn't so bad, the secretary was very nice.
Class was about to start so I went into the yoga room and realized I didn't even bring a yoga mat as I watched everyone roll their mats out. I was thinking, I should probably just leave now, but instead I saw the secretary and asked if there were any mats to borrow. She kindly gave me one and I set it up in the very back of the room hoping I would blend into the wall.
Everyone already seemed to know what they were doing! Closing their eyes or stretching. It was very quiet. Then the secretary came in and sat in the front of the room where the teacher sits. Turns out the secretary was Vimala, the teacher and owner of the studio! As I looked around at all the faces it didn't seem so yoga journalesque. There were different shapes and sizes and it seemed like they were just all there to do their own thing.
Vimala began the class with some breathing and OM's. I knew the OM's from my home video so felt confident in joining in! She exuded sweetness and peace. Her voice was comforting and she taught with ease. The class flew by and I managed to maneuver through the postures in a relatively graceful way. I was hooked by the end of class especially in deep relaxation! I knew I had a ton to learn about the practice and myself but knew that it would nurture and support me. My intention was to heal the parts of my body, mind, and spirit that had been neglected over the years and to develop a deeper awareness of my life purpose.
Years later when I began teaching yoga, my intention was to create a sacred space wherever I taught. A space where anyone and everyone would feel loved and supportive. I know how hard it is to step foot into a studio because of all the negative self talk we all experience at one time or another. When new students arrive I silently celebrate their bravery and courage to take that first step on their path to peace!
I encourage you to be brave and courageous. I can only speak for J.O.Y. Wellness and our wonderful community and tell you, when you step foot inside our studio (your studio) you will be met with kindness, you will be met by many shapes and sizes, and most importantly you will begin to meet yourself...which makes it that much easier to cultivate kindness toward yourself.
Namaste and Love,
jennifer is a mother, entrepreneur, artist, writer, peace activist, yogi, holisitc wellness and body work expert, and just a general lover of life in all its forms!
224 N Broadway
Salem NH 03079