Yoga Story: Zane Zillner
Growing up I never felt the need or desire to take out time to exercise in a designated establishment, I was always running around as a child and have been active my entire life. When I moved to San Diego and started massage school I began to learn about the needs and benefits of taking a holistic approach to health. Treating the body as my temple I began to learn about its’ subtle nuances, what it liked and didn’t like, discovering new sensations I never even knew existed. My first yoga class was Kundalini influenced, besides being lost in poses, Sanskrit, and the unexpected amount of movement, I fell in love. Shortly after, I started practicing at Pilgrimage soon after the North Park studio opened, I decided to focus on my desire to learn about what my body could do and what it would be like to be a part of a community that had the common interest of enhancing health.
My first week I went to four or five classes; I couldn’t get enough, and found that my body responded naturally and effortlessly, this is what it was made for. Feeling the strength of the Earth be channeled up my body gave me fuel and a new understanding of strength and body mechanics. I noticed also that the more I practiced the more spiritual clarity I received; everything seemed to flow smoother as I progressed on my journey through life. My massage practice began to improve as well, I found more stamina and a deeper understanding of the body and its posture, it was easier to describe how aches and pains form and offer stretches to ease and prevent them. My yoga practice became a weekly ritual that I looked forward to, discovering aspects of my personal power long forgotten.
Then, after about 8 months of consistent practice I lost my motivation and my focus, the amount of time I practiced dwindled from four or five classes a week to one class, maybe. I stopped going completely for about six months, and at first I made myself feel guilty for not going, I wondered what had happened to the energy that had sustained me for those 8 months? As I moved through this process I began to accept that there is a time for everything and that everything happens for a reason, though every day I could feel my body compressing in on itself craving the openness of my yoga practice. I proceeded to patiently observe, looking for the lesson that I know was hidden in the experience.
When I went back to my first class after my break it was like a breath of fresh air, I knew the reasons why I had to take a temporary vacation. Like anything in the alternative health profession you don’t really get a clear understanding of how beneficial and how good something can feel until you’ve experienced it, but after you have experienced how good the body can potentially feel you can never go back to ignoring it, at least not the way it was before. By taking my six month break I learned the powerful benefits of yoga in my life in a way that I wouldn’t have completely understood had I continued the practice.
Now I am back with a deeper appreciation for the movement of my body and the open receiving that occurs. I take note of any anxiety or fear that arises from taking a new class or attempting a new pose and patiently offer space for it to fully express itself, and I consciously experience the honor of sharing my practice with my fellow yogis knowing that we all have difficulties, fears, and anxieties in our lives but we still show up and do the best we can for ourselves. What I am finding is that especially right now there is a lot of shifting happening on a global and personal level and while sometimes it may seem that we are all alone in our process we have the balancing aspects of our yoga practice and the support of each other to help us move along.
Within my personal practice I don’t know if I can say I have just one favorite pose, but rather a 50/50 split between headstand and handstand. I’ve noticed that I LOVE to be upside down, it offers a new and fresh perspective of the world and it builds my self-confidence, knowing that I can support my body in these poses is symbolic of my ability to support myself while going through major transition or unusual circumstances. I also love the idea that the energy flow is reversed, I often get caught up in my mental projections and I love to feel them drain out into the Earth. These inversions offered me some of my greatest challenges in learning how to stabilize and strengthen my body and these poses constantly remind me how important it is to trust myself, knowing I am fully supported.