The Importance of Yoga

August 2019

I am one of those hikers who always wants to climb to the top. Whether I am on a groomed trail, or just out enjoying the terrain with my sweet dog Bay, I find myself migrating up. I crave that 360-degree view, seeing my progress from beginning to end. Something about being high up on the cliffs makes me feel powerful and centered. Breathing the mountain air brings clarity to my senses and I feel free.

I found the importance of Yoga in my life when I was 18. I was a sophomore in college, swimming for the OSU swim team, not making many friends, and terrified out of my gourd. The insecurities I had from early trauma in my childhood lived in my bones and fascia. I had severe back, shoulder, and neck pain throughout my college years. At times the pain was so severe I had to stay in bed, take medications, and go to physical therapy.  Since very early in my childhood I had pain — psychological and physical.

Beginning

Injuries brought me to my first Yoga class. I stepped onto a yoga mat and a deep calm came over me. That calm met the storm of my emotions, and I began my healing journey.  As I practiced, I noticed that so much of the physical pain I had lived with throughout my life was vanishing. I was hooked. I grew up in the 80/90’s when the slogan, “no pain, no gain” was the mantra of competitive athletes and coaches. Years of pushing past and ignoring my pain had led to a deep numb. I was brought to my knees. 

The time had come to face my demons head-on and Yoga is what healed me.

It became my lifeline, my blankie during the cold, dark nights. For the first three months, I practiced diligently amidst the pain and anguish. I showed up and kept a steady connection with my teacher. Fear would arise, and every cell of my being wanted to run. Gretchen held me near to her heart, and together we climbed toward the top.

Importance of Yoga Practice

The practice of Yoga serves the highest potential of all human beings. It has no judgment and only one requirement —that you show up. All of us have those days where we do not want to get out of bed because life is too hard or scary. Times when the pain in our bodies, hearts, or minds is so daunting and overwhelming we just can’t face it. Or maybe we are elite athletes and training has taken its toll on our adrenals. When we choose to step into the healing journey, we aspire to live a vibrant, fresh life. Yoga gives us clarity and strength. No matter what hardships or challenges life brings, Yoga supports our vibrant, authentic nature.

Unlocking Your Potential

Combining movement (Asanas), breathing practices (Pranayama), and Meditation, Yoga begins to unwind and release the old patterns. Rivers have a natural flow moving downstream toward gravity. The river moves effortlessly when it is free. When a beaver builds a dam in a river, the river becomes blocked, and the movement of energy is diverted. The river wants to flow, but now it takes more effort. A bit of the freedom of the river is lost. The importance of Yoga is it empowers us to maintain the flow of our river. We keep the channels open, the water clean, and the path free. Yoga heals our wounds. It exposes our weaknesses, teaches us to stay with our current experience and to recover beyond the pain into the highest expression of health. 

Climbing to the top of our mountain requires a sure-footed step, diligence, and focus. Yoga took me to the highest peaks, and I never want to come down.