I remember the attitude I had regarding yoga when I first started in the fitness industry. I was into all the hard core classes, high intensity cardio such as boot camp and highly choreographed step classes; I had no desire to ever attempt a “boring yoga class”. I had preconceived ideas about the people that practiced and taught yoga. I thought the “Yogi’s”, the term associated with those who lived and breathed yoga, were all extremely flexible and that they all sat around chanting their mantras in some weird sort of way. Many of the poses I was familiar with, were advanced ones that looked so unattainable, that I dismissed the idea of ever attempting a yoga class.
I’ve learned over the years that preconceived ideas are limiting and can prevent us from experiencing a full life. Luckily I had a job as a group fitness coordinator at a local gym and the owner wanted to add yoga to our program. Needless to say, as group coordinator, I was required to teach all the classes on our schedule. I was extremely intimidated by yoga but decided I would take on the challenge. It was a part of my job to get yoga on the schedule and introduced successfully to our members. I signed up for a basic certification class and was introduced to some basic, intermediate and a few advanced poses. Although, I was not very flexible, I learned that I could do yoga and I might actually like it. Aside from the flexibility and strength benefits, I learned that the relaxation and meditative aspects of the practice were invaluable. As I begin to teach yoga, I realized that I didn’t need to be extremely flexible, or know all the phrases used ( Sanskrit words for yoga poses (asanas) and concepts) to be a good teacher. I made the class my own and started as a beginner with my students, and over the years I gained more knowledge, confidence and love for the practice.
Later, I was introduced to the Les Mills program Body Flow, which is a licensed choreographed mix of Tai Chi, yoga and pilates. This program has been an extremely valuable learning tool for me. It provides continuing education, tips and breakdown of the poses introduced in each release. It has provided me with the confidence and skills I needed to become a better instructor.
Yoga is now one of my favorite classes to teach and I hope to inspire others to open their mind to yoga and what a difference it can make in their lives. The benefits of yoga are endless; it improves strength, balance, flexibility and strengthens the core. In addition, it is an amazing stress reliever; once you learn to let go and relax, you become better equipped to handle anything life throws your way.