Above: Lori, one of our favorite yoga teachers! Thanks for helping us find our breath.
It began a few years back when I was searching for some sort of physical outlet that didn't include hitting the completely packed gym, on the University of Western Ontario campus, 5 days a week. Not to say that the gym isn't great; it truly is. The gym was pivotal in helping me lose that unwanted freshman fifteen (maybe more like 25, but who's counting?). But I always felt there was something missing - something that made my eyes wander often - knowing I couldn't forever be faithful to that same old gym.
I fell into Moksha yoga by accident. Having done Bikram a few times, and being somewhat familiar with hot yoga, it was only a matter of time that I'd stumble upon the little gem of a studio in London, Ontario tucked neatly off of Richmond Row. My first class was hard. I questioned my strength, my endurance, and even my judgement. Why in the world would I choose to do yoga in a room hotter my dorm room in the middle of our Indian Summer. Am I absolutely crazy?! The class ended, and I was tired - even exhausted. My balance was off during each standing pose, my legs shook during downward dog, I couldn't even touch my toes during a simple forward bend. But oddly, a feeling of complete familiarity and calm swept over me at the end of class. As I lay there in savasana my legs ached, my shoulders were sore, but I felt really, really good - dare I say, even great... I attended more classes, tried out a few different teachers. Realized being hypoglycemic and having low blood pressure might make it a bit tricky to not feel faint for the hour and a half class. One very intuitive teacher suggested I put slices of strawberries in my water until my body got used to the heat and humidity, and to try the hour classes instead. I wish I could go back and thank her a million times because it completely changed the way I looked at my body and how I was going to approach my practice.
That's the beauty of it all; teachers have this natural and addictive way of interacting with us. A way that is so very authentic and honest, and I'm absolutely in love with that honesty. The teachers are truly the greatest thing about practicing in a studio setting. The energy they radiate, the energy they help you focus, and everything in between can't be replicated nor duplicated. I'm in love with every teacher that I've come across. The ones that push you further into your pose, the ones that take up position right next to your mat to show you that you need to tuck your tailbone in just a bit further to find that sweetness in Warrior 2, and the ones that talk you into savasana and calm you just with the sound of their voice. They are what have hooked me and kept me motivated through even the toughest of classes.
Perhaps they play the role of cupid in my intense rollercoaster of a relationship with my own practice. Perhaps they are what keeps me grounded when my Dancer's pose teeters, and perhaps they are what keeps my mind still in savasana - even when the sound of a car alarm is deafening from the adjoining parking lot. They have touched my soul and my practice in a very profound way, and I can't begin to express the gratitude I have for all those yoga teachers out there who help us find and keep our breath, even when holding it might seem so much easier.