Yoga Story – Vanessa
What first brought you to yoga?
I’ve tried to stay active as an adult but usually chose high impact activities. I would try yoga while in PT but it never really stuck. It wasn’t till I moved back to SD from the east coast that a friend brought me to Pilgrimage and I developed a love for the practice.
What do you love most about yoga?
I love that yoga has taught me and continues to teach me about myself and how to connect with others in a thoughtful way.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
My favorite pose is Mountain Pose. I never knew there could be so much thought in the placement of my body while standing still. I feel strong in the pose and if I am not feeling strong in other aspects of life it helps me reconnect with that.
What do you do to stay inspired or motivated in your own practice?
I’m inspired by the people who guide me through the practice. They all have such a different energy and offer so much to consider regardless of how gentle or challenging the class is. I’m motivated by the people in my life and my desire to be a good person and friend.
Anything else to share?
As a teenager I had to wear a brace for scoliosis for many years and I only saw my body in terms of what it couldn’t do. It was a limitation to be tolerated and not something I was comfortable in. This feeling stayed with me for many years. As an adult I chose high impact exercise to push my body in ways so I didn’t have to connect with it or even stay present with my thoughts and feelings. I could, and did, actively disengage.
Nearly a year ago I was dealing with a personal loss and depression. I had gone back to my old ways of dealing with difficult emotions. I was running everyday to check out. It was then a very good friend brought me to Pilgrimage. At first I would go to occupy my time and thought it would be another way to distract myself. That quickly changed. I had no idea that yoga would be one the few things that I would actually want to do during that very dark time. I had a place where I felt safe and supported while I worked through my feelings. I found in my practice there was nothing to hide behind and no place to run. I was exposed and rather than running I embraced it. My mat has seen tears and sweat in equal measure. The guidance and kindness of the instructors helped me stay present and find kindness within myself for my life and body during a truly difficult time. The gratitude I have for them and the practice is immense.