Howdy, and welcome to my blog. This is meant to chronicle my continuing journey and specifically, my yogic path. If you read the “about me” page, you already know that my first significant yoga experience was with Sivananda yoga and Yoga and Inner Peace in Lake Worth.
After my experience with Bikram I tried gym yoga. If it’s a gym, they must know what they’re doing, right? It was not for me. The teachers I met at gyms were basically people who had taken a few years’ of classes and decided they could teach it. I really got nothing out of those classes. This is not to say there are not good yoga classes at gyms; I just didn’t experience them.
Then I did what everyone does under circumstances of not knowing what to do next – I googled my address and yoga and came up with a Sivananda yoga center called Yoga and Inner Peace on Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL. I did not know that I had found my home for the next several years through that google search.
Because the types of yoga I had done before Sivananda were strictly hatha yoga (physical exercise) it took me a little while not to giggle whenever we would chant at the beginning and end of the class. Learning pranayama (breathing techniques) was often good for a giggle as well – I think it was mostly from the lightheadness at first, but alternate nostril breathing just cracked me up at first. While these teachers were much more down to earth and accessible than the Bikram teachers, who all looked like they were waiting to be discovered as actors or models, and they weren’t as ethereal as some of the Bikram teachers (including the one who memorably told me to allow my toes to droop like ripening grapes on the vine) the Sivananda teachers were very earnest and serious about their yoga. Not just their physical exercise, but their mental exercise, and exercise for their hearts and souls. Among others, Bharata, Cindy, Neal, and a bunch of other Sivananda teachers patiently answered my questions and encouraged my interest.
Slowly I tried to let go of the prejudices and allow my mind to expand. Bharata taught me about many things, both about yoga and about myself. I learned to meditate. I read the Bhagavad Gita. I learned about Karma yoga and selfless service. Slowly this began to spill over into my lifestyle. It didn’t cause me physical pain to allow cars to merge with me on I95. It didn’t delay me much to let someone go before me at a cash register who only has an item or two. I could smile and say hello to people and they would smile back, sometime even initiating a conversation. Little common courtesies that seemed forced at first have become more natural. Most of this is because of yoga.
I spent a wonderful time at the Sivananda Ashram in Woodbourne, NY. I got picked on a little for going to an ashram, and I think that’s when certain friends decided I was a hippy throw-back. But I cannot even describe the peace and beauty of the ashram. It’s as simple as nature and as complicated as sitting for mediataion twice a day. Or vice versa. Anyone who can and wants to experience and ashram should definitely do it and I cannot recommend the Sivananda experience at the Ashram enough.
Yoga was slowly inching its way into most aspects of my life. Then my daughter, who is the center of my universe and used to be the center of my day, left for vet school. I knew it was coming and I knew I had to begin to prepare myself for living a life that did not center entirely around my child. That’s when I really began to open my mind and heart to yoga.
I hope you enjoy reading my posts and please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line. Thank you for being here.