While a college student in France, I gathered enough courage to attend a yoga class at the university. I had never done yoga before and this class was completely over my head. I didn’t understand a word the teacher said and I fled the class thinking I would probably never do yoga again.
Fast forward fifteen years and, once again, I was living overseas, this time in Senegal, West Africa. There weren’t a lot of exercise options for women in that country and culture, so I tried yoga on home DVDs with Rodney Yee and Baron Baptiste. Through those DVDs I learned the basic asana poses, but had no idea of the vastness of the yoga world.
Back in the USA, I began to explore yoga with different teachers and in studios. I was very fortunate to find a wonderful teacher who introduced me to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Eight Limbs of yoga. She also modeled for me what it was like to create a sense of community within a yoga class. It was this teacher who helped me to take my yoga practice to a much deeper level and to discern whether to enroll in yoga teacher training.
Having worked in international education for many years, I was looking to combine teaching with holistic service and I needed a new tool to work cross-culturally with immigrants in interfaith settings. Yoga was something I already practiced, it was universally applicable to different faiths, and it offered an integrated, vocational trajectory for the rest of my life. So I enrolled in teacher training at Radiant Life Yoga in Minneapolis where I continued to discern how I might use yoga to build bridges and work with different people, particularly within immigrant communities. I now teach classes in the East African and Latino communities in addition to the classes I teach with Yogadevotion.
Yoga is a path I choose because it enables me to view the world through a lens that creates space for compassion, discernment and gratitude and fully incorporates body, mind, soul and breath. Yogadevotion offers the opportunity for me to combine my own Christian faith experience and language with yoga philosophy. Practicing yoga alongside others generates both support and accountability. It creates space for care and acceptance for myself and for others from which the benefits overflow into other areas of our lives and, thus, have a positive effect on the overall health of our entire community.