Yoga takes us on a journey with ourselves. It is an unknown path to all of us, until you notice you begin to feel different and better than before. There lies the discovery. It is a discovery of self, in a way we could have never imagined. But how are we to know this? We don't, until we begin to create a consistent practice and commitment to ourselves.
When I discovered yoga and began to take classes in 2011, I didn't know what yoga was. I had the opportunity to meet a close friend at a tiny Bikram Yoga studio in San Francisco. I remember it was a sunny day in February. Meeting her there was the only way I would get to see her on her very short visit from New York. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was, I wanted to see her and experience something different. And different it was.
Bikram Yoga is a 90 minute heated yoga practice of 2 breathing exercises and 26 postures. It is practiced in a heated room of 105 degrees and 45% humidity. It was HOT! But I was determined to stay with my friend who had been doing this practice for some time. So I went with it. Little did I know I would come out of this experience wanting to explore more. I remember leaving the room feeling the obvious-- sweaty, tired, thirsty, but incredibly amazing. As I quenched my thirst, I felt relaxed and in disbelief I had just stayed in that hot room! I was really in a place of WOW! The class was very challenging and I felt great afterwards. I was hooked and left curious.
I believe it was where I was in my life at the time that brought me to that moment. Yoga came in for me at a time where I was over weight and very uncomfortable in my own skin, physically. Spiritually, I was disconnected and disconnected to my physical body. My mind was a stressful mess and it had affected my skin. At the time, I had no health insurance because I had left a ten year corporate job two months prior. I was left trying to navigate how I was going to help myself feel better and reverse the damage I had done to myself, unknowingly. Awareness came in that very special day. My journey had begun.
What really felt amazing about the yoga experience was how I was guided, encouraged to move and feel my body in a different way. My mind was also challenged in a way it had never been challenged before. There was nothing more I wanted to do than to run from that heated room. The teacher encouraged the students not to leave the room, to do what you could and rest if needed, inside the room. Respectfully I stayed in the room. When the class ended, I felt like I had completely melted on my mat. I was sweaty, tired and thirsty and yet, very relaxed.
There began my own journey. Yoga met me where I was at that time in my life and a path of self-discovery began. I can say this now looking back, because to be honest, I had no idea what self-discovery was either. While I was in it the first few years, I just knew I loved it. Within a year or two, I knew I wanted to teach yoga. I came very close to getting Bikram Yoga certified, but something else told me, that was not my path.
Since then, life showed me a different path within different yoga practices. In this journey, yoga has met me where ever I was in my life at that moment or time. I kept exploring the unknown within myself through the journey. Eleven years later, I am honored to share this journey with you.
We are all travelers on our own journey. You are the one, the explorer, the traveler, just as I am. We travel together and the unknown becomes self-discoveries that encourage our journey through ourselves and to ourselves.
Yoga meets you where you are, in that moment, at that time. That is the beauty of yoga.
Let's stay curious and journey together.
With deep gratitude I share this with you.
Ana De Paz
Resident Yoga Teacher and
Self Care Doula