“It’s just stretching” my dad has said, to which I add, “Stretching doesn’t make you break a sweat”. Others I know have said that yoga is too slow and easy, compelling me to educate them on the different types of yoga practice, suggesting a Vinyasa flow to help her see otherwise. I’ll be the first to admit, I come off as a know-it-all sometimes. That can be why when I receive skeptical statements about yoga, I always give in-depth explanations and reasons why that person should try it for themselves. In fact it’s taken 3 drafts, and heavy editing just to cut down my words to the essay you have before you. Maybe I do run my mouth (or words) but I can’t help but be so enthusiastic about this thing that has changed my life. I believe that a good teacher is one who is passionate about their subject. I feel nothing short of passion for yoga.
I am working towards becoming a yoga instructor because I would like to help others by sharing what I have learned and continue to learn. However, I wouldn’t be so sure that I could help others if I didn’t first know that I could help myself. Through yoga, I learned to overcome health problems that I was starting to accept as normal. It seems like all my life, there’s always been something to deal with. There have been tumors, chronic stress, migraines, and anxiety just to name a few. About a year ago, I came to a make or break point, leading me to take my casual yoga practices seriously. I made it a daily ritual, and my health issues have gone from being the thing that controlled me, to the thing I control. For example, meditation and finding my Ujjayi breath has improved my circulation, alleviating migraines and anxiety attacks and doing regular asana practices forces my mind to stop fixating on outcomes I can’t control outside of myself. On a superficial note, I’ve also come a little bit closer to having Michelle Obama arms. In short, yoga has taught me to rely on the strength of my body and mind and that is something I want to pass on to others.
Of course, I didn’t get to this point alone, and it was through my instructors that I found inspiration. One teacher in particular, would be Antoinette of Yoganette studio, based in my neighboring city, West Covina. Antoinette has a teaching style that reflects her upbeat attitude and passion for yoga. She never fails to give the class a challenge and I learn at least one thing I didn’t know before class. Coming from Hacienda Heights (like myself) Antoinette created Yoganette because she knew how hard it was to find a good yoga studio that didn’t involve commuting to West LA or paying top dollar for a membership. As someone living in San Gabriel Valley with a small income, I couldn’t be more grateful. It is because Yoganette provides community classes that I have been able to learn from passionate and skilled instructors. When I looked up Yoga Blend, a Burbank based studio participating in this scholarship program, I was reminded of the upbeat, varied, and non-dogmatic approach to yoga, which I have seen at Yoganette.
Eventually as a teacher, I’d like to take my focus back to my home roots. I’d like to start a studio somewhere close to my hometown of Hacienda Heights or somewhere close to East Los Angeles. Being inspired by Yoganette, I want to do my part in making yoga as affordable and accessible as possible to others like myself who are struggling. I know that many have a misconception that yoga is a past time for the wealthy. High membership fees and connotations with Hollywood trends don’t help to clear up this misunderstanding. I know that yoga provides many real and attainable benefits, but those stereotypes just tend to turn people off. I want to do what I can to erase that stereotype and make it easier for people to realize that yoga is more than a trend, it’s more than designer stretchy pants, and more importantly it’s more than just stretching. I know that yoga can help one to become a stronger, happier, and healthier individual. There’s nothing high-end or pretentious about that, and there shouldn’t be. This is what drives me to deepen my practice and why I need to teach yoga.
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Sylvia Lopez
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