I fell in love with yoga over a decade ago when I was 18 years old, new to Uni, struggling with an autoimmune disorder, anxiety, bouts of depression and the stress of working and going to school full time.
All I knew was that when I did yoga I felt better. My symptoms decreased, I slept better, ate better, my body hurt less and as a result I felt happier and less worried.
At the time I thought I couldn’t get too much of a good thing, so I went crazy on yoga, doing two hour practices every morning, trying to follow all the yoga lifestyle rules and obsessing on what I ate or did.
But I’d always hit a wall. It would be too extreme. I’d isolate myself from my friends, feel like I couldn’t keep it up, get overwhelmed, and then rebel against it and quit for a while.
That is until all my symptoms started to show up again, and then I’d throw myself at it again and swear I was going to run away to live in an ashram.
I had found yoga, but the truth is, I hadn’t yet found what would heal me.
One day in one of my rebellious “I can’t live like a yogi” phases I saw my yoga teacher. I was meek and apologised for not coming to class every morning and mumbled some excuses.
I thought for sure he would scold me for not being dedicated, but instead he told me to be easier on myself. That if I really wanted to make yoga part of my life, I didn’t have to go to the extremes. He told me to do less, but more consistently.
It hit me hard (in the best possible way) and I suddenly started to shift my idea of what living a yoga lifestyle meant. I started thinking about it more in terms of sustainability. I even had one of those Homer Simpson “duh” moments, I was studying environmental sustainability at Uni after all.
The lesson comes that when we make small changes we stick to them, and when we stick to things for the long haul, that’s when our life really starts to change. It might not happen over night, but it happens in a big way that lasts. And that is what’s healed me.
This is why I’m so passionate about the yoga lifestyle programs I teach, because I know that what people really need to change their lives is a formate and plan to make these habits practical and sustainable.
Both the 30 Day Yoga Evolution and the 10 Week Transformation Programs do just that. We workshop and plan how to live a yoga lifestyle in the modern world, not in a cave and that genuinely works for us as individuals. After all, our practice is supposed to help us live a happy life, not become another burden.
I’ve also learned that when we go it alone, making changes to our life is so much harder.
Sangha is the Sanskrit word for “community of like minded people” and is an essential part of yoga. When we surround ourselves with like minded people we feel supported and empowered in living the way we want to live.
And in our modern culture we really need this because living a more relaxed, healthy, peaceful and harmonious life goes against what the media giants are bombarding us with on a daily basis. We need to come together and use our collective strength to move against that cultural current.
One thing I’ve heard from the people who participated in the 30 Day Yoga Evolution was how inspired they were by each other. How simply the act of sharing, exploring and diving deep into discussion with like minded people is transformational.
I also see this exact same magic happen on the Bali Yoga retreats I teach, and honestly I think it is one of the most powerful aspects of the experience. In fact, this is exactly what I want to facilitate — transformation through the gathering of like minded people all supporting each other along a journey of ever more conscious living.
Let’s have the conversations that inspire us, in class, online, in a group or over a coconut in Bali.