• Tue. May 28th, 2024

Dwyn’s Den: My Experience With Yoga

   I have been practicing yoga since I was nine years old. My aunt was a teacher at a local studio, and a few years later my mother was employed by the same studio as well. Yoga had always sort of been there, in the background of my childhood.

   It wasn’t until I started facing mental and some minor physical health issues in my teens, that I truly delved into yoga.

   It started as exercise, as I had always been a runner, but I develop a lung condition in high school that made it difficult for me to run the distances I used to. Yoga was a safe way for me to exercise without flaring my condition.

   I practiced off and on and mostly went to the more workout oriented classes taught at the studio my mother and aunt worked at.

   However, going into my sophomore year of high school, I had been dealing with several mental health issues. I had moderate depression, PTSD related anxiety and was struggling with an eating disorder.

   Multiple people and things in my life encouraged me to find a way of healing that worked for me, and I was drawn to start with yoga.

   I began going to more classes and practicing on my own more frequently, and yoga became an escape, a safe place to work through my emotions. Soon I found my way to a teacher training program.

   It took a year, and I learned more about yoga and myself in that year than I had in the eight or so years of practicing off and on. It wasn’t just the intense learning though, it was the act of consistently practicing, consistently doing something for me.

   Over that year I slowly started to heal, my depression lessened, and my anxiety and eating disorder began to melt into the background.

   My teacher training program required one whole weekend a month spent practicing and learning at the studio with my fellow training teachers, and a lot of time practicing on my own. Yoga was something I was doing for me, and much like for many others, it’s a form of self care. Self care I needed.

   As I practiced more and more, I had to be more familiar with my body and how it moved through poses, and as a teacher in training, I had to learn how other peoples bodies might look in poses, and how everyone is built and moves differently.

   This taught me to value my own body and my own weirdness, like my externally rotated joints and hyperextended elbows. Things that before had made me feel freakish, but yoga helped me realize it wasn’t.

   Perhaps the biggest thing yoga gave me was finding my voice. I had always been afraid of being alone in front of a crowd, it scared me to death. My anxiety would flare and I would become acutely aware of how deep my voice was, and how many people were looking at me.

   Throughout my teacher training, this dread slowly softened. It wasn’t until I taught my practicum class, and stood up and taught a yoga class to all the people I had been learning with, that I really found my voice, though. I was still aware they were all looking at me, but I was teaching, they needed to look at me. I was aware I thought my voice was deep, but I didn’t mind anymore.

   My experience with yoga helped change how I perceived myself, it was my way of healing. Life can be hard sometimes, everyone has their stories and their struggles, and yoga helped me with mine. And I think it can help others too, that’s why I became a teacher.

Cerridwyn Kuykendall
Managing Editor