Yoga

Red Hinduism symbol.

The first time I tried yoga I didn’t like it very much. I was a dance major in college at the time and one of my professors brought in a yoga teacher to lead a master class. She had been touting the benefits of the practice to us for weeks and, she being someone I deeply admired and respected, I figured if she loved it so much, it would be amazing and life altering. The poses felt way too challenging and my perfectionistic self hated that I couldn’t accomplish them immediately; the time we spent on breathing and visualizing felt boring and pointless; the weird language and constant emphasis on opening, deepening, being grateful…it all felt sort of silly. I didn’t explore yoga again until I graduated college and moved to New York City, and although I was more open-minded to it than I was before, I still didn’t quite understand the appeal. Sure it was nice to stretch, but other than that, what was I really getting out of it?

In the dance company I was a member of in 2009 I became good friends with one of my fellow dancers. At the time, she was a newly certified teacher at ISHTA and I was currently completing my Pilates certification. She expressed interest in learning Pilates and offered to be one of my practice students. After a few sessions together she invited me to take her yoga class. I wasn’t so sure at first, I think I even said, “I’m just not really a Yoga person”, or something like that. She said, “You just haven’t had the right teacher.” I don’t think she was necessarily talking about herself, but after taking her class a handful of times, it was evident to me that she was right. I can’t quite articulate how she guided me toward my eventual adoration for yoga; I think it has to do with how she seems to embody yoga and all its ideals and principles, there’s nothing fake or insincere about her or her teaching.

I have been practicing yoga consistently for about three years now and have come to learn more clearly why it appeals to me personally. I find it to be the perfect balance of structure and freedom, something that I also love about modern and contemporary dance. Additionally, it has become my “me” time, the chance to take a break and allow me the time to connect with myself. It has helped me draw my focus inward and address my issues with self-critique, unworthiness, fear, doubt and any other feelings that creep into daily life. Whenever the teacher says to set an intention for our practice at the beginning of class, mine is almost always the same, “To be open and receive”. To me, my yoga practice is the chance to receive all the world (and beyond) has to give me, and the eagerness to accept it.

I decided that in order to deepen my personal practice and enhance my knowledge of yoga that I could then pass on to others, I needed to enroll in the teacher training program at ISHTA Yoga. I completed the 200 hour level training in December 2013, followed by the 300 hour advanced training in July 2014. It is my goal to continue the wonderful lineage of ISHTA yoga and become, in my own way, a teacher who inspires others to connect them with their true selves, and ultimately to the universal consciousness that we are all a part of.

I recently completed the Trauma-Sensitive Yoga training with Jen Turner of the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute. I am currently involved with Safe Inc., an organization in Transylvania county of Brevard, NC that is committed to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and sexual abuse. By bringing the practice of breathing and moving to these women, I hope to help them begin to reclaim their bodies and provide them with the tools necessary to empower themselves as they move towards a life free from violence and abuse.

www.safebrevard.com

If you are interested in in-home yoga, contact me directly today!

ashleigh@agcorehealth.com

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