When did you first start coming to yoga?
In 2008 I was serving in Iraq, and sustained life-altering injuries when a vehicle I was riding in was blown up by an IED. I used to weigh a healthy 200 lbs, and was down to 150 lbs when I thought I was going to lose my life. I was suffered from a brain injury, back injuries, and everything in between. I was exposed to yoga and started practicing consistently in 2014. It wasn’t until I found Baptiste yoga that I made yoga a regular practice. If I go 2 weeks without yoga, my body knows it.
Why Baptiste yoga?
For me, Baptiste Yoga differs from other types of yoga that I have tried because it allows me to hit the manual reset button. There is no disconnect between mind and body, and Baptiste yoga represents that. Once I started practicing Baptiste yoga, I began to heal from the inside out; I was getting stronger with each practice and my back pain was finally going away. If you make yoga a practice, the benefits are inevitable, all you have to do is show up with an open heart and mind. I truly believe that there is no way you can show up on your mat, every day for a month, and not feel different at the end of that month. I remember when I first came to class, I couldn’t sit still in a pose, and after time I learned to gain control in my body and mind, and that allowed me to accept things in my life that I couldn’t change.
What does yoga mean to you?
That is constantly changing, because I am always changing and growing. Right now, yoga is my lifeline, I do it for my health and well-being, both physically and mentally. It is what I look most forward to, and it’s the best part of my day. Yoga helps me get through my day and deal with stress better, and totally impacts my life off the mat. The whole goal of my practice is to be a better person when I leave class.
What’s your favorite pose?
Balancing poses are fun, and we always do them mid-way through class when you’re already feeling fatigued, I love that challenge. I really like humble warrior.
Chair pose – it has always been a hard one to stay in for me.
What is your favorite part of the practice?
Savasana. Letting it all go. It used to be the hardest pose for me, because I couldn’t sit still…now I fall asleep.
What advice would you give someone who is afraid to try yoga?
Don’t judge yourself. Don’t let your ego get in the way or keep you from experiencing and trying new things. You might feel awkward or uncomfortable at first, but that goes away. Yoga is so humbling; you can’t go to a Baptiste class and not feel humbled walking out the door afterwards