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Embracing The New

February 17, 2009
This is my first ever blog post!

I guess this is another in a long line of firsts for me recently, and exploring how my mind and body respond to them has been quite an illuminating experience. Its been less than two years since I left my job as an on staff dietitian at St Luke’s hospital for a leap of faith. At the time, I had no idea what that leap would amount to, but all I did know was that I had this innate feeling that there was something else I was meant to be doing.

I am lucky and grateful in the sense that I was raised in a family that was able to provide me with all the love and encouragement I needed, and have been blessed to have found friends who are just as close as family and who constantly offer me support and sincerity. However, I feel it is important as I initiate myself into the cybersphere that I offer my gratitude to the one companion that has stood by me throughout many of the trials, tribulations and exaulted experiences I have endured in my adult life…Yoga.

I began practicing asana as a college freshman and immediately fell in love. With what, I wasnt sure, but I knew the feeling I had in final resting pose (savasana) was something I could not live without again. I started going to class 3 to 4 times a week, and without fail I would leave class with a euphoric feeling that I immediately labeled as “yoga stoned”. (I was in college after all:)
The truth is, my practice at that time was mostly physical. I loved the way yoga made me feel, but at the time I couldnt pinpoint what that was, so I garnered the most satisfaction from the strength and length I had begun to acquire.

I have to admit, over the years my attendance in class wained in its consistency and some months I would only attend a class every other week or so. Looking back however, I believe it was during this time of resting my body that my mind was processing all I had learned and expanding its awareness and understanding of the subtle intelligence yoga expounds. A teacher of mine once told me, “The yoga works on you”, and I fully believe and offer this message to my students, and anyone who asks me what is the purpose of yoga is.

Yoga is a personal journey and the beauty is that to reap the benefits, all you have to do is want to, because yoga is life and life is yoga. Mr Iyengar writes in one of his many books that the only mistake yoga practioners ever make is to stop practicing.

When I started to resume my asana practice on a regular basis about 5 years ago, I was amazed at how much had changed since my first class half a decade ago. I began to notice how my body wasnt as eager to do some of the postures it used to and the fear that sorrounded the experience. At first I would push myself or just avoid the whole thing altogether, but at the end of class, as I lay there I recognized that familar feeling and it occured to me that this is what its all about. I had the ability to cultivate this sense of clarity not only in final resting or as I am trying to hold a challenging pose, but I could carry yoga with me all the time. I could manifest courage when I am faced with challenging decisions and life choices, I could cultivate patience and compassion within a frusturating situation or relationship and I could find peace in the groundlessness of the unknown as I did when I took that life changing leap of faith.

It is my commitment and dedication to constantly refine and redefine what this practice means to me that has guided me to where I am able to offer Sangha Yoga Shala to you. I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support we have already received and am thrilled you are as excited as I am to be a part of this gift that is yoga. The word Sangha means community and it is only by recognizing your “self” in another that can truly transform us as individuals.

So Much Love,

Alana

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