New Beginnings: My Journey from Windsurfing to Yoga

I’ve been inviting people for more than 25 years to, “take a comfortable seat, close your eyes, focus on your breath, move into stillness, and be present.”

I’m amazed and delighted how much I’m still thrilled to teach.

Getting in the flow connecting with each student, and coaching them through mindfulness and body awareness movement is a joy, a gift, and a unique opportunity to help others find a new way to love life.

Entering the beginning of this new year, I can’t help but think of my own yoga beginning. My journey with yoga got serious when I was thrown from a sailboard off the Kohala coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Windsurfing had been my passion for several years.

I suffered a severe whiplash that kept me in excruciating pain for several months. My chiropractor, acupuncturist, and massage therapist all recommended yoga. It was the mid-80s and fortunately for me there was a married couple on the Big Island who were teaching the therapeutic benefits of Iyengar yoga

It was definitely a journey with many different paths that I traveled to find a way to get myself out of pain.

This was the first time in my life that I learned how the body wants to heal and get back to balance. 

I wondered how long it would take. My yoga teachers asked, “How long have you been stressing and pushing your body?”

“Be patient and kind to yourself,” they would say, “Never give up, learn what works and serves your body; adapt, and be safe and gentle.”

At first, I just wanted to learn the poses to heal my back.

I was not interested at all with any of the philosophy or mindfulness practices they taught as part of their classes. My western upbringing had me thinking that part of yoga was too hokey, too hippie-dippy, and not quantifiable for health benefits. But, the pain in my body was real, and when I practiced certain poses the pain would decrease or totally disappear.

That was evidence enough for me that these movements they call “asanas” were helping my body.

It wasn’t until a few years later when the pain in my back had all but vanished that I noticed I was enjoying not just the poses, but the many different breathing techniques as well as the meditation/mindfulness practices.

Now, nearly 40 years later, my focus in yoga is mindful meditation, breath awareness, and moving my body through safe, accessible, adaptable, sustainable movements.

 

 

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