Yoga attracts people for many reasons. Some come to relieve back pain, others to learn how the practice can help them become more flexible and still others come for the community and support they receive in the process. There are as many reasons as there are students that practice.

I came to yoga in the midst of going through a painful divorce 24 years ago. Going to a gym and working out regularly was just not enough to help me mentally or emotionally. When my church offered a class, I decided to check it out. From that first experience I was hooked. Yoga gave me a more integrated approach to healing through the physical practices and the philosophy that awakened and healed my heart.

I continued my journey by taking a teacher training in 2000 and then by opening the center in 2004. Along the way I found Todd Norian who has since founded Ashaya Yoga and his method and messaging took the practice to a much deeper level. There is a common saying in yoga known as “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.” That is what happened to me and the journey continues.

Yoga is a lifestyle of awakening on many levels. It is a path to truly knowing yourself both your shadow self and your light. To embrace all parts of yourself and practice self-love along with self-care in the process. You become aware of what you eat and drink. How the movements build both strength and flexibility. How your breathing affects everything as you learn to practice pranayama (breathing exercises). Through the philosophy which includes the Yamas and Niyamas you become aware of how you show up in the outer world as well as how your inner world aligns with all you do. Ultimately you become aware of a bigger energy that weaves itself into all you are and all you do. For me, that is my spiritual essence that is within and all around me. And, the most important part is you cultivate a consciousness that evolves to a higher way of Being. Not only is it self-care on a human level but it becomes Self-care of your spiritual energy as well.

Yoga is a practice of radical self-acceptance. So that when you react to a situation negatively rather than beating yourself up about it you take a step back and recognize the underlying why and make amends where needed. You release any “victim attitude” and recognize that all your life experiences are meant to help you grow and evolve. Yoga is needed now more than ever with this ongoing pandemic it is a practice which teaches you to persevere and build resilience with your dedication to yoga as self-care.

Yoga has helped me move through all the ups and downs of life since divorce. I have grown immensely in the process. The support of the community of teachers and students at the center has been such a joy as well. There have been many friendships and connections made through the center. It has enhanced all our lives.

What brought you to the practice of yoga? How has it helped you and what have you learned? I appreciate all your comments and any feedback so that we can all continue to grow and support one another.

Janie Gunn