Young and Idealistic: All I Really Want to Do Is Drink Beer
At my first yoga class in my high school library in 2002, I discovered yoga as a way to both exercise and relax. Yoga then accompanied me through college in South Carolina and Alabama, graduate school in Illinois and New York City, and law practice in rural Illinois and Chicago.
Through the challenges (divorce, autoimmune disease) and triumphs (launching a law firm, completing two graduate degrees) of my twenties, yoga was a constant companion, though not one to which I paid much attention. I swam; I jogged; I did yard work. I read a lot of books and drank a lot of beer. Yoga was there, but I was not truly present in the practice. And teaching yoga was certainly something that I could do “later.”
So What Is This Yoga Deal?
Yoga is the practice of uniting breath, thought, and movement to achieve balance and confidence in the mind, body, and spirit. It ignites power and energy through the combination of stretches, core activation, and deep breathing, releasing tension and increasing physical energy, strength, and focus. To me, yoga means finding the balance between strength and flexibility – seems like a paradox, but that’s life!
Practicing and teaching yoga has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, with over 20 million active yoga practitioners as of 2012 and another 120 million interested in learning. For example, Chicago, Illinois is made up of 50% people between the ages of 15 and 44, and 68% of yoga practitioners fall within that age group.
What does this mean? This means that more Americans are ready to sweat, play, and have fun!
Older and Wiser: “Later” Is Right Now!
While being a lawyer was intellectually challenging, after three years of practice, I longed for a more creative, emotionally fulfilling career. (Spoiler alert: being a tax litigator in downtown Chicago was not exactly fun or rewarding.) As I grew increasingly cranky, I began to brainstorm alternatives. But what’s a young woman to do? Go back to school (again?).
As I pondered, I also returned to yoga. Hot power yoga was new to me, but, hey, I know all the basic poses – how much different can it be?
In a room heated to 90 degrees, flowing quickly between beginner and intermediate poses, I truly thought I was going to die (or at least pass out) in my first hot power yoga class. But, unwilling to admit defeat, I kept going, kept sweating, kept wobbling and falling.
I became entranced, almost addicted, to how I began to feel during and after class. I had forgotten just how wonderful yoga made me feel, and also saw how happy (albeit sweaty) the students and teachers were. How could they not be? Yoga is the exact opposite of law practice: where the latter is a toxic completion, the former is a peaceful empowerment.
I had my revelation: “Later” is right now!
Listen to Rilke: You Can Change Your Life!
Now that I feel healthier and happier, I want to help others do so, too. Deciding to turn my daydream of teaching yoga into a reality, I completed teacher training in June 2014 and launched a mobile yoga business. I could not be more excited about empowering others to find the same strength, flexibility, and peace on their mats.