By Ellen de Jonge
They had to drag me to my first yoga class. I always thought yoga was not for me. I was not ready to sit on a mat and talk with something higher than myself. I am a sports person and not a dreamy softy. That was my idea of yoga. I was so wrong. Right after my first class I felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders and I asked my teacher for a book to learn more about yoga. I needed to know what this was all about. How could just one class have given me the feeling I touched something magical ? From that day on I was a student and soon became a teacher.
My life changed and all for the good. So yes, I agree that with a steady yoga practice great things happen. You can read everywhere about the benefits of yoga, physically, mentally and spiritually. The beauty is that it works on all levels, there are teachers and styles for everybody. And we know that it is not just about a strong and healthy looking body (nothing wrong with that of course and it comes with steady practice) but that a healthy mind is also important to prevent disease and live a longer, healthier life. Meditation is no longer a scary word or practice.
I love the direction my life has taken since that first class. I’ve gone from teaching part time to full time and opening a Yoga studio in Playa del Carmen, a dream come true. The biggest part of this dream is that I am able to help people, help them feel good, help them look inside themselves and help them create a better life for themselves. Is yoga really that big? Yes it is. I see it every day with my own eyes, the changes, the happiness and the growing number of people who are taking a teacher training course , joining in a workshop or try a class for the first time.
In my daily classes I teach Vinyasa flow, a dynamic way of practicing yoga with lots of hard work, sweat, and a lot of smiling faces. Linking poses with other poses and connecting them with the breath. Adding pranayama and awareness of the breath makes it a complete class. The messages I kind of sneak into the classes are bigger and more profound than the physical movement and when the student is ready they will understand. All in their own time. Every level is a treasure and the journey is worth every down ward facing dog. Because we love our down dogs. And of course our chaturangas.
So YES, yoga is big and if you let it into your daily life, magic happens.