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Community Voices: First Yoga Experiences
May 31, 2014
Do you remember the details of your first yoga experience?
Yoga came to me unexpected. My first yoga experience was initiated by a close friend. One rainy evening, she asked me to join her at a new studio in Vancouver, Canada. I was very hesitant and had previously made up my mind that I didn’t like yoga. She asked me several times to go, and mostly to support her, I attended.
When I arrived at the building, it wasn’t what I expected. I had to ring a buzzer, walk through a courtyard, up some stairs, and finally to a door with just a number on it. Upon entering, the smell of burning incense tickled my nose and I saw some mystical statues and photos looking back at me. I was greeted by her partner, who I knew as a boat-loving Vancouverite, but what I didn’t know, was that he was also a yoga instructor.
He introduced me to yoga that evening. During my first class, I learned that he lived for several years with Swami Vishnudevananda, at the young Sivananda Headquarters in Canada. After that evening I was hooked, and I can say that my life has been forever changed.
I am now a long-time Sivananda Yoga teacher spreading the wisdom of yoga around the globe with my company, Nectar Yoga. I truly believe “what’s for you won’t pass you”, even if you’re not looking.
I had attended some yoga classes in New York City and became quickly frustrated that I could not (and felt I would never be able to) get into the poses that others were doing with ease. A few years later, I tried yoga again, but with a different attitude that I would only focus on my body on my mat, on my breathing, on the instructions of my teacher. And yoga has transformed and benefited me ever since.
I began yoga in 2000. I had 5 young children at the time and was running a business with my partner. Very stressful time! Yoga was my escape, my refuge. Something I could do for my Self and my own well-being. It was challenging but I loved it.
The biggest challenge I had was finding the time and being able to go to classes consistently. I would manage to go once or twice a week for a while and then I would let life get in the way and stop for 3 months. My yoga teacher was amazing and very attentive to his students. Occasionally when I was not getting to class he would give me a friendly call and encourage me to come back.Â It always worked and slowly I became more and more consistent. I simply loved the quiet space and the physically demanding postures. My body and my mind began a slow transformation.”
I remember my first class very well. I attended a Hatha Yoga class with my old teacher Pilar who had trained at one of the Sivandanda ashrams. It was early in 2005.
It was all very new to me. I was a little anxious. I found it difficult to remember all the different asanas especially the different parts to Saludo al Sol (sun salutation) and to co-ordinate the breath. I persevered though. At the end of the class we lay in Savasana and my mind was jumping around like a monkey. I thought: you think they’d mind if I left early? I didn’t leave though. I persevered.
Now I attend yoga classes twice a week. It’s like going home, comfort food. Some of the asanas are like my favourite shoes or jumper. They just fit.