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Why I Do Yoga

Why I Do Yoga

 

I have been practicing yoga since I was 12 years old. I was invited to my very first yoga class when I was having a sleepover at my best friend, Jasmine’s house. I loved sleepovers at her house. Her parents were vegetarian-artist-hippies that were so much fuimg_3180n and made the best food! She was an only child so there were no little brothers there to interrupt our girl time. Jasmine and I were both in the Drama Camp at the local college and our dad’s worked together doing interior design and later on, decorating. Long story…

Weekends at Jasmine’s house meant getting out of the city and heading to the beach with cool artists, vegetarian food, and yoga. I loved hanging with Jasmine’s parents and their friends. Jasmine used to roll her eyes when I would say, “Let’s just hang with your parents.” She’d get annoyed when I would ask if her parents were bringing us to yoga tonight? She’d say you’d be over it, too if they were your parents.

No, I was like give me all this hippie stuff all the time! With Jasmine and her family, I found my love for the mat and good veggies at a really young age. While my friends were chasing boys, teasing their hair as high as Brooklyn could see, and playing with makeup I was practicing yoga. I consider myself lucky to have been introduced to yoga so young.

Jasmine and I grew apart by high school. Her parents moved to Tribeca and she went to a different school and found new friends. I continued my yoga practice.

I went on to college and to working in the fashion industry, still with yoga every single day. I moved to Aspen and had a yoga practice even more intense than ever, sometimes more than once or twice a day. Aspen is where the idea of being a Yoga Teacher first came to me. When I lived in Chicago, I found one of my favorite studios to this day right around the corner from my apartment. Everywhere I’ve lived since college, yoga was a part of my life until I moved to New Jersey.

When I moved to New Jersey, my only choice was an hour drive or a daily, ok twice daily, home practice. Soon after being in New Jersey, I was pregnant and there was no prenatal yoga to be found. I taught myself prenatal yoga every single day, twice a day in my home. Yoga made my pregnancy so much easier. My OB attributed my smooth, easy, quick labor to my yoga practice. My nurse said it was my mindfulness, visualizations, and my self-hypnosis, something I had also taught myself, that made my labor look so easy.

p3233190Why yoga? Yoga has given me something no other thing has. For me, yoga is more than an exercise. In 2009, I did my first Yoga Teacher Training with YogaWorks. I loved the training but I learned in that training that I don’t like to sweat!

I have been showing up every single day for about 30 years on my mat. WHY? Because yoga is life. Yoga is movement. Yoga is everything. Without yoga, my body feels stiff, lifeless, and stuck.

Today, on my mat in class, I realized that I wasn’t thinking. I was breathing. I was moving. I was going through all of the vinyasa, sweating, and breathing. I was sweating. Who cares? I am here. I am present. I am breathing. I am moving. My body is working without me forcing it. My body is working with nature, with my breath. My senses are off. Silent.

Before I went to class this morning, I thought… But you have too much work. If you go to class now, you’ll have to work later to catch up on what you aren’t doing now. You should really be doing this… You should be doing that… You don’t have the time… I changed into my yoga clothes, made myself a jar of Hawaiian Moon Water (recipe to come later), grabbed my mat and jumped in the car to class.

Once I got to class, I unroll my mat with my toes, place my blanket down for meditation, and stack my props neatly next to my mat. The distracting guilt slowly fades into the distance as I decide this is how to start my day. This is my time. My time to unwind and to be present. My time to move my body, get the blood flowing, get the systems of my body moving. My brain turns off and I focus.

It’s on my mat that the most brilliant, most beautiful mind-stuff comes to me. I know, I know… You’re not supposed to be thinking. That’s the beauty of it….!!! I am NOT thinking. My mind is flowing with my breathe and beautiful things float into it.

I am grateful.

Namaste.

Nicole

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