Life often presents us with challenges and uncertainties, causing us to seek solace and a sense of direction. For me, that solace came in the form of yoga—an ancient practice that would go on to radically transform my life. I often share – but have never documented my personal journey of how yoga became the guiding light that helped me navigate through the turbulence and find inner serenity, so in a long-winded way, lol, here it is!
A RESTLESS BEGINNING
My plans for post-college life were worldly adventure and love. But, in my final year of school – I experienced an epic romantic bomb and “failure” that turned my world upside down…and landed me where I never thought I would be – SMACK DAB back at my Mom and Dad’s house. Aaahhhh! (thanks guys you are truly the best ever).
In the months following, I spent lots of time devastated. I had no direction. For years I had been living with depression. Eventually my friend told me, “Enough is enough!” and made me come work at her coffee shop to keep myself in some routine (other than crying and sleeping). A few months in, I decided I had better get financially stable so I could go back out into the global unknown…and I made a decision that felt like I was rebelling against all of my hopes and dreams – I looked for and booked…DUN DUN DUN…a corporate job! Noooooo!! Of course, I grew and benefited so much from this career – and to this day I am grateful…but it also felt like I was letting myself down.
What I didn’t know –
is this path, and all the pain,
was divinely orchestrated, as it was bridging me to
the exact place God needed me.
I was young, unmarried, no kids and very little responsibility. I played my role pretty well and I was leading a life that appeared really successful – but inside I was totally restless.
My mind was a whirlwind of disappointments, anxieties and depression that seemed to have no off-switch. I remember waking up for work and crying, feeling like I was a bird in a self-imposed cage who wasn’t living up to my best spread-your-wings potential. But, I stayed in the same loop because I thought it was the responsible thing to do (well, based on divine direction, it turns out it was). I needed to make a change, to find a way to quiet the chaos within and regain a sense of purpose, but I just didn’t have any ideas on how!
One of the amazing humans I worked with – who had also become one of my best friends – was Tara Escalante. She invited me to take a hot yoga class with her – so of course I tagged along. Looking back, it was a LIFE-CHANGING invitation. Isn’t that amazing? You never know..one sentence, one smile, one invite…and you have the capacity to alter someone’s life and improve it forever. I don’t think I ever really told Tara how she impacted me – so if you are reading this – know you are an integral part of a journey that would catapult me into a new life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Like a lot of people who try hot yoga for the first time, I thought I was going to die.
It was way too hot, I was sweating like I never had before and I nearly passed out. I stressed over how on earth the people surrounding me were not only surviving – but seemed somehow peaceful doing so. Internally, it felt like an emotional bomb had gone off – years of depression were upheaved and I felt like I couldn’t cope. I may or may not have left that class early…the experience was HORRIBLE. And yet, as I left
I heard myself say, ” I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I didn’t even decide – I just knew – that I was going to immerse myself in this practice – FOREVER
THE PATH TO TRANSFORMATION
I started showing up daily to yoga – every time a hot mess of emotions poured out of me. I was very dramatic. Then just two weeks into my daily practice, I saw a small poster on the door that announced upcoming teacher training. BAM – I didn’t even decide – I just waltzed my way straight to the front desk and slid over my credit card and said, “I want to sign up for the yoga training program.”
The training started 2 weeks later – which means I was a mere month into my discovery of yoga when I started a 12-week training program to become a teacher.
1st class = I knew I would practice forever
1st hearing about a training program = I knew I would be a teacher
1st days of training = I knew I was going to leave my job and lead these training programs myself!
But, I had a lot of work to do first….
This deep dive into a dedicated practice and immersive yoga studies – introduced me to mindfulness, breath awareness, meditation and an overall conscious lifestyle. I began to observe my thoughts and emotions without judgment, gradually untangling myself from their incessant grip. This newfound awareness allowed me to let go of the past (and the future), and to find peace in the present moment.
As I delved deeper into my practice, buried emotions resurfaced. It certainly wasn’t a pretty process (and my classmates and teachers were witnessing it all…it must have been quite a sight). Between heart-opening poses and deep introspection, I confronted past traumas and learned to release the emotional weight I had been carrying. It provided me with a safe space to process my feelings and gradually heal from within.
Yoga became a vessel for my emotional healing.
The practice healed my depression.
A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE
One of the most remarkable aspects of my yoga journey was the shift in my perspective on ALL OF LIFE. The principles of non-attachment (aparigraha) and contentment (santosha) taught me to let go of outcomes and to find peace in the present moment. This shift in mindset extended beyond the mat, allowing me to approach challenges with greater equanimity and to appreciate the beauty and miracle of everyday life. It also reinforced a profound personal power – and authority to make bold choices – led by pure intention – to create the life of my dreams.
A BOLD MOVE INTO A NEW CAREER
Yoga not only transformed my relationship with myself, but it was a catalyst into a totally new career. Shortly after I graduated from my training, I put in my two-weeks notice at my corporate job and drove from my last day at that career to my first moments of my newly established yoga life. THAT WAS 15 YEARS AGO. Since then, I have continuously built my dreams with the goal of helping others find and learn about these radical yogic and healing tools. It literally transformed everything in my life.
I have helped numerous studios open and am now in the process of building out my own hot yoga studio..a total labor of love. I have trained over 500 students in my Soul Academy 200-hour yoga teacher training. I have led yoga retreats all over the world and created wild memories with groups of amazing humans. I have launched online programs and practices and built an online community.
Even better, all of these things facilitated meaningful connections with others. The sense of community I found has been unlike anything I have experienced before…and ever since I have been charged to help build that for others. Surrounded by like-minded individuals on their own journeys, I have felt supported and understood. We shared not only physical space but also a collective intention to grow and evolve.
My transformative yoga beginnings were full of self-discovery, healing, and massive expansion. Through dedicated practice, mindfulness, embracing yogic philosophy as a lifestyle…I found the tools to navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience.
Yoga gifted me the ability to find serenity within the chaos – a gift that I will forever cherish.
It inspired me to share the healing and evolving powers of this practice with as many people as possible – because if you are a human – this practice will benefit you. If you’re seeking a way to transform your life, I encourage you to explore the world of yoga and discover the magic it can bring to your own journey.
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