My Yoga Story –
How It Began
As a young child who was working through PTSD after my angel mother’s tragic death, my amazingly supportive and progressive step-mother exposed me to many tools, including yoga, to support my healing.
It was the 1980’s and my step-mom (Mom) had recorded a Raquel Welch yoga workout that PBS aired as a special.
To my absolute delight, Mom recently gifted me the book ‘The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program’ which outlines the sequence she did on that PBS special…AND when doing research for this post, I found the original special right here on You Tube! (Excuse me while I go practice for the next 90 minutes…)
My best friend John and I both have vivid memories of getting together to ‘play’ in the early 1990’s, and finding Raquel’s yoga workout to be the best way to spend an afternoon. How fitting that as adults we both became certified yoga teachers.
For me, the way the sequence of postures developed and doing the breathing exercises in the beginning, caught and held my attention.
I loved the standing series in the beginning the best. All of the postures challenged me to stretch and balance at the same time.
As an athletically-challenged child, I was never enrolled in any dance or gymnastics classes to develop confidence in my body. But while doing yoga, I felt strength and confidence that were bursting to emerge.
In retrospect, the best part about doing yoga as a child suffering from the pain and processing of my angel mother’s death, was the ability to escape.
I had found other escapes, like television and movies, which would move my mind away from the trauma, but they always stilled my body and left me feeling detached.
This was different.
I would escape INTO my body.
Into awareness of the present moment… What I was doing. What I was thinking. How I was moving, or not moving. How I was breathing.
How it all worked together – my breath, my body, and my mind.
This introduction to yoga laid a foundation that has led me to the path of healing and wellness that I walk today.
For that, and so many more reasons, I am eternally grateful to my Mom… and to Raquel Welch…
Many years later, in 2010, I walked into a yoga studio to try a yoga class that one of my friends was raving about – Bikram.
That first class I was so nervous to unroll my yoga mat in a 105 degree heated room with a humidifier pumping out precipitation for a full hour and a half.
But I pushed through my nerves, only to be delighted as I began the practice and felt the familiarity unfold…
This was Raquel’s video all over again!
The silent celebration of familiarity only lasted a few seconds as the intensity of the heat and the practice overwhelmed my senses.
That first class, and many that followed, were some of the most intense mental and physical challenges of my life.
But I finished the class, and many after that. Even when a studio would close its doors, another always seemed to open.
Who knows if I found this specific ‘Bikram’ practice, or if it found me?
It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it was meant to be. To unfold just as it did.
Little did I know that this practice that I first began as a child, was going to hold me together when my whole world fell apart… but that is a story for another day…
Thank you for being here with me today. I appreciate you.
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