Competitive Runner to Mindful Yogi
My Yoga Story
For about 8 years, around 13-years-old to 20-years-old, I was a competitive runner. When I was a teen, ALL I ever did was run. My best mile was 5 minutes, 15 seconds. I did both cross country and track throughout high school and it was everything to me.
When I got to college, I started going to the gym, but did small abdominal and arm strengthening exercises, yet still remained focused on running and not much else. I ran two half-marathons while in college, along with several other fun runs, 5k's and such.
Throughout those 8 years I probably ran on average 5 to 10 miles per day. Of course, I gave myself a couple days off here and there when I really needed it. Running became addicting for me and it was the best way for me to relieve stress.
During my senior year of college, I finally discovered the power of yoga. I started going to classes inconsistently for a few months until I was able to remember how to do a "Vinyasa Flow." At the time I was working as a Behavioral Health Assistant at Rady Children's Psychiatric Unit and I remember the moment when I decided to drop everything and focus on yoga. Working there, I was really saddened seeing how much medication was relied on to treat mental illness. One day I was with a patient who was experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, so I tried to find ways to calm her. I sat her down with a towel and showed her some breathing and stretching exercises I had learned in yoga. After about 20 minutes of this, her entire energy changed before my eyes. I came back the next week and she had practiced what I taught her every day. It was then that I realized the power of yoga. I immediately wanted to become a yoga instructor so that I could get to know yoga more while I continued diving into the mental health field.
Flash forward to today, I've been practicing consistently ever since I became yoga-teacher-trained that very year. I honestly don't know what happened with my love for running, but I know that at the time, yoga was what I needed most. I decided to listen to my body and dedicate it to my yoga practice. There are days I do miss running and I will run a mile or two every now and then, but since my teacher training, I've fallen in love with the practice of yoga and its spiritual and mental benefits.
Because of my many years of running, there are definitely certain yoga poses that I struggle with to this day. There are so many areas of my body that have been tight since day one, but I continue to put the effort into it. There's nothing quite like the mental and physical workout that I get with yoga.
In the past two years, I have also explored meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation. It's been so rewarding discovering myself, practicing self-compassion and living a more present life. I'm content in my imperfections, of which I am constantly working to improve upon moment by moment.
Photography compliments of my lovely friend,