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How Yoga Changed My Life

I’d attempted yoga before.

A few times.

I say attempted, as that’s what it actually felt like.

Shockingly, it was when I lived in Santa Monica, California. In those experiences

there were no OMs, no meditation and nothing spiritual. And here I thought yoga

was supposed to be this mind/body thing but I didn’t experience that. I should also

mention I was in an over-a-decade-long love affair with Gold’s Gym Venice, The

Mecca, lifting weights and drinking protein shakes. To me that was exercise!

Years have passed. Life has changed and oddly it’s come from moving east, not west.

I’ve gone from daily drinking to daily meditating. I’ve abandoned the bar and dating

quest for the cooking-healthy and committed, loving relationship. I’ve left a

successful 20-year groundhog day like Hospitality career to be a DreamMason

(Leadership, Life, & Relationship Coach and Speaker), something I love and am

passionate about. I’ve even gone from resenting God & religion to discovering a

deep and divine spiritual connection.

That’s a lot of transformation.

Now where does yoga come in? A few months ago I started feeling blasé with my

gym routine. I was bored and unmotivated. I stopped going. I tried to reboot it.

That didn’t work. I tried Crossfit. It wasn’t what I was looking for.

For the first time in my life I just stopped exercising.

I decided I wanted to take on a new commitment for 30 days. I also wanted to use

this commitment as a foundation for rebuilding trust and integrity with myself.

After all, who do you lie and break commitments to most in life? If you’re like most

people, it’s yourself. We promise ourselves we are going to get healthy, lose weight,

go to bed earlier, use or phones less, get a new job, or travel more. And most of the

time what happens? We break those commitments. To our detriment we just do

what we always do, we justify or come up with excuses or circumstances to keep the

comfortable status quo.

A few weeks prior a friend took me to her yoga studio. I was so self-conscious and

insecure, as in the past I couldn’t enjoy the experience.

Why couldn’t I do a handstand like that 145-pound dude? I was way stronger than


Does the hot girl in all spandex think I look fat or lame as I’m gasping for air as I

struggle to do this awkward twist?

I believe there is no pinnacle to our greatness, we can always improve, rise higher

and learn something new. Growth and transformation comes from exploring the

unknown, and the unknown is typically uncomfortable. As a person who is

determined to create greater personal growth and self-discovery, and as a coach

who helps facilitate that with my clients, I saw this as an opportunity to get

comfortable with the uncomfortable. I could see that my issues with yoga were

about me, my insecurities, my expectations, needing to be good at things right away,

my relationship to results and my excessive judgments about myself and others.

Yoga seemed like the perfect 30-day challenge.

30 days would push me mentally, physically and is enough time to push my limits in

regards to commitment and circumstances. I live in New York City, I’m busy. How

was I going to fit 60-90 minutes, plus the commutes, changing, and showers into my

already busy life? In 30 days, life, people, work, money, time or circumstances were

bound to show up and try and get in my way.

So what did I learn? First, I learned that I could do 30 straight days of yoga and that

I love how yoga makes me feel. After every class I felt that my body, my brain and

my soul had taken a spiritual bath. To enjoy the gifts of yoga I quickly learned to get

out of my head. I noticed how much my self-judgment and judgments of others hold

me back from experiencing true freedom. Not only does this habit keep me from

getting out of my own way in discovering my authentic self and what I truly desire,

but it also prevents me from living a truly authentic purposeful life.

Surprisingly, I learned so much about support through sharing my goal. When I

started telling people about this 30 day challenge they supported me, actually got

excited for me, rooted me on and a lot of people ended up coming to yoga with me.

Then there’s the best and least expected part. The new people I met, the new

relationships I formed, and the beauty, friendship, support and love that came into

my life. All my judgments and my fears led me to be inauthentic and were

preventing me from the opportunities and relationships that life provides. This

commitment created one of the best months of my life. I am grateful to NYC’s

Laughing Lotus yoga studio a magical balance and blend between hip-hop and

Ganesha, Venice’s vegan, yogi-meets-skater vibe and a touch of San Francisco

crunchy-granola ambiance for welcoming me with open arms.

Yoga went from being a place of fear and judgment to a place of love, comfort,

friendship, compassion, learning, healing and growth. This happened because I kept

coming back and it happened because of the things that brought me back, love, the

people and the community.

There is something transformative about sitting with a group of people who are all

in different places in their lives and yoga journey, yet are all in class to experience

the same workout, teacher, and spiritual growth together. The warmth, love, smiles,

and enthusiasm from those who worked at the front desk, the teachers, and the

other yogis, kept me wanting to come back. I don’t think I’ve ever met so many

positive, supportive, happy and passionate people. The community was all love.

Yoga changed my life. I realize that by saying we want to do things and by avoiding

commitment we hide from new experiences or challenges and in that I was actually

choking myself with my own hand, ensuring my own failure or disappointment. In

committing I was pushed to give up my expectations and judgments, and was then

able to experience something scary and new. I actually found calmness, peace,

clarity, joy and love. I learned how easy and joyful a commitment can be when you

plan, decide, take action and then just let yourself go.

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