My Yoga Story

Happy International Yoga Day! 

 

Today, this is my yoga, a quick flow after @otfbrighton (my Thursday AM routine). A moment of peace to show gratitude for this practice I have developed. A moment to acknowledge how important tris practice is to me, how much it has changed my life. 

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I found yoga after my junior year of college. I had just spent the entire spring in bed with a mysterious illness (that really was never diagnosed) that lead to arthritis & swelling in multiple joints, high fevers & extreme fatigue. I was beat up and beat down emotionally, mentally & physically. I had gained weight and barely exercised for the past 4-5 months. The doctors didn't know what had happened to me so they didn't want me exercising. For those of you that know me well, you know that exercise has always been my stress relief, my refuge. So after 4-5 months of nothing, the drs recommended low impact activity. As a college athlete, runner & weight lifter, I had no idea what to do. I spent HOURS of the stationary hike & elliptical. That was great but it got old fast. Somehow, I stumbled upon yoga. 

I had tried it one or two times at the college gym but never a studio. I was living at Tufts for the summer & had a job as a PT aide so I had a car. I found a studio in Davis square & I made it my new Thursday morning routine. Yoga saved me that summer. I changed my entire diet around, ate healthier, went to yoga & slowly got myself into better physical & mental shape. Yoga was challenging & exciting while also calming & relaxing. It was exactly what I needed. 

My last year of college, I had an on and off relationship with yoga. It was always there for me but I didn't always go. When I needed it, I'd jump back in. 

I dove fully back into yoga when I returned to Boston after traveling &a working in Europe. I had been suffering from anxiety & PTSD for almost a year & I was looking for an outlet for stresses of new jobs, finding an apartment & applying for graduate school. I still remember the first class I walked up to at Prana Power Yoga in Newton (now @yogaworks_boston)....

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I almost backed out of my first class. I was stressed and running late. I was nervous to go to a new studio. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to keep up or I wouldn’t fit in. I didn’t

Have any quarters to pay for parking and I was panicking.  This was probably one of my most anxious periods of my life.  I walked into the studio and tried to make change with my debit card but they couldn’t do it.  The SA must have seen how stressed I was and how much I needed to go to class.  She handed me quarters from her own purse and told me she would leave the door open for me to come in a minute or two late. I am forever grateful for that lovely soul. If I did not go in that day, I don’t know if I would be where I am today. That class started a love affair with Prana Power Yoga and with hot vinyasa yoga in general. I started going frequently, sweating out my stress, diving deep into my practice and learning. 

 

When I found out I was rejected from all 9 (yes NINE) schools that I had applied to that year, I cried and then I went to yoga. When  I finally, found a therapist I went weekly but I also went to yoga.  I refused to take anti anxiety medicine because I knew that what yoga could do for me. When my Nanny died in March, I cried and then  I went to yoga. When I had NO idea what to do the next year (because I had thought I was going back to Physical Therapy school), I turned to yoga. And when the email for Yoga teacher Training popped into my inbox at the same time that my mother let me know that Nanny had left me $1,000 or so dollars when she passed away, I knew it was a sign.  I used that money from my Nanny and I applied to Prana Power Yoga’s Teacher Training. And I could say the rest is history, but that’s not true.

 

Over the years, yoga and I have gone through ups and downs together. In fact, I almost quit my Yoga teacher Training after the first weekend.  My first weekend I ended up having to miss half of it because my cousins planned a last minute wedding.  I was assigned an essay to write for teacher training, I had started a weekly GRE class, I was taking anatomy & physiology all day on Fridays & I was working 40-50 hours week as a personal trainer and Physical Therapy aide at the time. I cried hysterically when I got home from the wedding that weekend to my then boyfriend.  I didn’t think I could do it.  As much as I could say a lot of bad things about that person and that relationship, he listened and he encouraged me to stay with it.  And thank god I did. I am not going to say that my Yoga teacher Training was easy or that fall was easy.  In fact, that boyfriend and I broke up in the middle of one YTT weekend and it took all my might to get to class that day. I was exhausted, overworked & pushing hard.  But I did it. And I am so glad that I did.

 

As my career continued to progress, I taught more yoga classes and I learned more about myself and my practice. I went through periods of dedicated practice and periods of not so dedicated practice.  Yoga has been there for me even when I haven’t been there for it. Each time I came back after some time off, I remember why I started and how much it helps.

 

Even to this day, I have taken some time off from my personal studio practice.  Even though I practice almost daily at home, there is something different about walking into the studio and surrendering your mind and body to the practice. There really is nothing like it for me.  As I dive back into weekly/biweekly classes, I am reminded how much my body and mind craves that hour/ hour and a half of movement to recenter and refocus.  It calms my anxiety, inspires my creativity and refuels me when I am running on empty. I truly cannot say enough about what yoga as done for me. What I can do is show you—show you all through my personal practice and my dedication to introduce yoga to as many people as possible. 

 

I truly believe that yoga is for every BODY. No matter how long or old, tall or small, flexible or inflexible. Yoga can be adapted and modified to fit any portion or time frame of your life.  And that is the beauty of yoga. Yoga was there for me when I was my weakest (physicaly and mentally) and there for me when I was my strongest.  At times my practice has consisted of lying in childs pose and pigeon pose for 45 minutes and at other times I have flowed through the sweatiest, fastest, vinyasa out there.  Whatever you need, yoga is there. I cannot express that enough and at this point I am rambling.

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Now here I am, I made it through graduate school and I am working in my dream career as a Physical Therapist that helps others heal.  With that said, I don’t think I would be where I am if I had not gone through my yoga teacher training or if I had not taught for the past 3.5 years.  Yoga is a HUGE part of my Physical Therapy practice especially with my concussion patients (Thanks to Love Your Brain Yoga teacher Training).  While I am still figuring out exactly how yoga and Physical Therapy fuse together in my professional practice, I know they work together and complement each other. Yoga has helped me become a better person and a better healer. I have already learned so much about myself, my career goals and my personal practice and I know I still have so much to learn. I can’t help but be excited for all the learning that is to come.

 

A special thank you to my friend, Meg- who went to my first yoga class with me.  Thank you to my parents for supporting my lofty goals and overworked craziness, thank you for always trying yoga and never doubting how important it is to me.  Thank you to that ex boyfriend who encouraged me to stick with it and thank you for breaking up with me so I could find yoga and be a better person.  Thank you to my sister for trying anything I throw at her and always taking my yoga pictures. Thank you to Chris for coming to my classes and being my newest yoga photographer and most importantly, knowing better than anyone when I need to get my ass to a yoga class. You are the greatest mirror the greatest love, I am so grateful. And of course, Thank you  to all my students for  showing up each class and inspiring me to keep teaching and to keep learning.  I would be nowhere without all of you

Happy International Yoga Day & Happy First Day of Summer!!

If you want to come flow with me, check me out at Taireikie Wellness Center at 8:30 PM on Wednesday evenings for Restorative Yoga.  More classes to come after settling into my new PT position. And as always, stay tuned on Instagram for the latest schedule and classes!

Kerry McGinnComment