My Yogic Journey

From the moment that I first laid eyes on a collection of photographs illustrating the postures of yoga, I have felt an intimate connection to this art. I can vividly remember being mesmerized by the human form and how I attempted to emulate the bends and contours of each graceful posture. I was only 8 years old and this inspiring book belonged to my father.

Although I was intrigued by the images in that book, my growth in yoga did not mature for another 15 years. This is the point at which I truly began to feel the benefits and understanding of what yoga is about. Throughout my yogic journey, my biggest inspiration and advocate has always been my father. He’s the one who purchased my first yoga mat, countless pieces of literature, props, DVDs, and all the accessories I needed. He continually encouraged my growth through attending yoga classes with him. He literally handed me all of the tools necessary to improve my life, but only time helped me to realize the true impact of yoga. Even after I transitioned thousands of miles away from home, my father still encouraged my involvement in a local yoga studio.

Initially I was too timid and self-conscious to go alone. When my father flew out to attend a desert retreat hosted by the yoga studio I finally went along with him. There I discovered a deep and profound change within me. I was still the same person, but my perspective changed. My mind and heart were open and gushing with so much positive energy. Life started to click and really make sense. Being in the presence of such beautiful souls that were joined together for the greater good of themselves and the world around them was something I could not turn away from. After the retreat I started going to a few classes here and there, whenever I could.

Over time I found myself on my yoga mat more and more. In continually committing to my practice I was noticing huge shifts in my life. Not just on my mat, in my physical and emotional health as well as the way I perceived and reacted to all events in my daily life. I am now constantly looking for ways to feed the hunger I have towards the powerful and beautiful wisdom cultivated through the experience of yoga. Attending yoga teacher training would be the perfect way to take the next step on this spiritual path I have dedicated myself to.

I am attending yoga instructor training at Yoga Blend in Burbank, California. Which is the very same studio my father first guided me towards. Ever since I first stepped into Yoga Blend, I have genuinely felt that I belong there.  Along my yogic journey, I have had the pleasure of learning from so many well versed, insightful, and experienced teachers. However, my greatest inspiration has been David Whitaker, he also happens to be my father. Although I don’t often have the chance to practice the asana portion of yoga in a class setting with him, I am constantly learning from him. His persistence, encouragement, passion and guidance has brought me true joy and deeper understanding of my authentic self. Every time I step through the door at Yoga Blend, I feel an amazing closeness to my father, even though he is thousands of miles away. All of the insight that I have received from him has acted as a catalyst to my path of self-discovery through the use of yogic teachings.

Through the practice and discipline of teaching yoga and meditation, I plan to foster the self-growth, introspection, beauty, strength, confidence, and pure bliss that I continually encounter throughout my personal journey. By sharing the ancient teachings with others, I am certain that it will open minds and hearts, cultivate confidence, and empower others to rise above conflict while remaining grounded. I will utilize all of these amazing tools that yoga offers as a means to harness ones best self on or off the mat. I simply plan to do this one breath at a time.


2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay

By: Emily Whitaker

If you liked this article and want them to win a free yoga teacher training, then make sure to vote for her by leaving a comment (scroll all the way to the bottom), and sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter. Each comment, Facebook, and Twitter share counts as one vote and you can do all three!

Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher? Then visit our Yoga School Directory to find the right teacher training. Or, visit our Yoga Retreats page to explore beautiful yoga vacations from around the world.

Join the Conversation

  1. Emily says:

    I look forward to this journey!

  2. Sommer Thome says:

    Beautiful essay Emily!

  3. David Whitaker says:

    So proud of this aspiring yogi!!!

  4. Karen says:

    May your light always shine and may you win this teacher training.
    Brightest Blessing!
    Karen Q

  5. Elyia says:

    What a beautiful story. It is amazing what a positive impact yoga has on the mind and body. Hopefully someday I can take your class and practice with you!

    • Emily says:

      Thank you Eylia!!! You will have to come back to LA for a visit, I would be more than happy to get you on your mat one of these days! xo

  6. Amy Hamilton says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring story. It’s so nice to hear about such a wonderful father-daughter relationship. I hope you get your teaching training!

  7. Ann Doyle says:

    Emily, you are such a beautiful person and an inspiration to every person fortunate to know you.

  8. Tammi Wilson says:

    Good luck!

  9. Nicho O. says:

    I’m so proud of you Emily! You’re devotion and growth in Yoga is an inspiration to all who cross your path. Keep up the hard work. Namaste

    • Emily says:

      Thank you Nicho, for allowing me to share my light within with others and not keeping it for yourself! You keep me grounded. xoxo

  10. Kristelle says:

    Em!!! Go and get it – following your heart, your dreams, making a practice out of your daily connection with yourself is SO INSPIRING – I support and admire your dedication! All my love!

  11. Lindsey Warm says:

    I vote yes, Emily is an amazing person and inspires many. Go Em!

  12. Rachel McCrickard says:

    “I simply plan to do this one breath at a time.” What an amazing and thoughtful essay. Good luck Emily!

  13. Sharon Louis says:

    Your essay was beautifully written & very informative. Good luck with getting the scholarship for I feel you deserve it. Love, Aunt Sharon

  14. Liz says:

    Such a beautiful and inspiring story!!! Im voting for you!!

  15. Eliana Crema says:

    Emily, that very same Yoga Blend retreat also changed my life and deepened my love for yoga. I’m happy our paths crossed at such important moment of our lives. Love you like a sister and wish you the best of luck in receiving a scholarship. You deserve it. I am positive that you will become a great, inspirational, loving yoga teacher. XOXO Eliana

  16. Cathy Casey says:

    Vote for Emily. I did

  17. Cathy Casey says:

    Excellent…vote for Emily…I did

  18. Jen Kilian says:

    Love this lady! And her journey!

  19. Jen says:


  20. Charles Whitaker says:

    What a Beautifull women,with such grace and skill,how incredible.She did not learn that stuff overnight.I would send her to school because she will return what she learns there to her students 150 percent at least.Dont you think so?Good LucK emily,your the best.

  21. Christine says:

    Very moving story Emily! You’re amazing, and good luck on your journey

  22. Diane Carter says:

    Emily Whitaker would be a wonderful addition to the yoga teacher training that is being offered. She is dedicated and will honor the benefits of learning and furthering herself and in turn, furthering others. Please consider adding Emily to your upcoming training!


    Diane Carter

  23. Dotty Browning says:


  24. Emily says:

    Thank you Dotty, namaste.

  25. Mary says:

    Emily is truly a beautiful person, both inside and out. She is very dedicated to the art of yoga, and I find her journey very inspiring. She has encouraged me to participate in yoga classes in my community — something I found very intimidating previously. She will make an excellent yoga instructor, and will touch the lives of all that cross her path!

    Good luck Emily!!!!

  26. Wendy Korotzer says:

    Blessings on your path Emily :)

  27. Abby says:

    Very inspiring, Emily! I hope you win!

  28. Joan says:

    Wonderful writer like your aunt Ann… Namaste to you Emily.

  29. Mary says:

    Good Luck Emily, It was a wonderful essay.

  30. chrissy+sadie says:

    your practice is beautiful! Also, really loved the essay voiceover atop the video of your asana session. Beautifully combined. You’ll make a GREAT teacher.

  31. Faith says:

    Excellent work, Emily!

  32. Annalea says:

    I hope you win :)

  33. Cynthia says:

    Best thing you could ever do! Got my Ashtanga certification and then went on to do my Hatha teacher training as well…and I just turned 40! Worth every penny and the time and effort! Good luck!

  34. aimee says:

    Best of luck on your journey!

  35. anthony says:

    Great read, I suddenly want to do yoga now!

  36. Juliet DuBois says:

    You’re are truly amazing and inspirational- I’m very proud :)

  37. Cindy Grayson says:

    Emily, I’m inspired by your beautiful spirit! Namaste

  38. Donna says:

    Emily’s presentation was very inspiring to watch and makes me want to take yoga classes again. Her positive energy is contagious!

  39. Priscilla Williams says:

    You’re so creative, love the finished product! You are going to be an amazing teacher, can’t wait to take one of your classes!

  40. Jessica Thimons says:

    Truly inspirational Emily! I have been wanting to try yoga for years, but have always been intimidated by it. Your story encouraged me to pick up a book on it. Next stop…a class!

  41. Mary says:

    Good luck!

  42. Ashley says:

    Good Luck Emily! Hope you get it!

  43. Lynn Ostrom says:

    What talent, strength and determination. Good luck with your dream, Emily. Reach for the stars!

  44. Diane says:

    Very proud of you, Ms. Em. Go, go, go!

  45. Frank says:

    Very inspirational Emily.

  46. Bobby Baker says:

    You are so full of joy and life, I know yoga has played a roll in that. Good luck with the training, I would take a class from you anytime!

  47. Glen Hamilton says:

    Emily, this was awesome! Great job!

  48. Alan says:

    Inspiring! Thank you for sharing Emily.

  49. Andrea says:

    Love you em. Good luck!

  50. Corrine says:

    beautiful, well written and inspiring essay, em. xox

  51. Emily Monroy says:


  52. Lindsay says:

    Good luck!

  53. Nancy A says:

    Way to go Emily!

  54. Lindsey Zinkevicz says:

    SO proud of you EM! You got this! You inspire me my love!!

  55. Sunshine says:

    This is gorgeous! :) it lights me up! Emily deserves this. She inspires me so much… And would be an amazing teacher. Kind, humble, and generous with her love. Thank you for sharing Emily!!

  56. veronica says:

    Way to go!

  57. Mollie says:

    What a beautiful essay! You inspire me! I hope you get this teacher training beacuase you are so perfectly suited for it!

  58. Frank Martin says:

    Emily will be a fantastic yoga instructor, we look forward to having her guide us on our yogic journey.

    Namaste and Good luck! Shubh Kaamnaayein   शुभ कामनाएँ

  59. Neva says:

    Emily, I loved reading about your journey thus far,
    And that you have this to share with your Dad is
    such a beautiful gift!!! I I wish you blessings
    & peace in all your adventures!!!
    <3 Neva

  60. david says:

    go em! it is a real treat to see the aggregate of all your hard work.


  61. bg says:

    soon you’ll be out yoga-ing the yogi

  62. Aly Jane says:

    Really lovely Emily :)

  63. Denise Murphy says:

    What a wonderful journey, “One breath at a time!” It’s a phrase that speaks volumes about your jouney and all thet you are experiencing. Thank you for that inspiration!

  64. Bob Turpin says:

    It sound like you are having an awsome journey keep the journey going good luck and I wish you the best on becoming a teacher.

  65. Lauren Corrao says:

    Em, what a beautiful piece. This was truly meant to be. You are forever in our hearts.

  66. andree-francoise onufer says:

    Allez Emily, allez……I can’t wait to take lessons with you….Francoise

  67. Chuck Onufer says:

    Emily, very inspiring essay.

  68. Allyson Sladic says:

    Go Emily! xo

  69. Warren J says:

    What a wonderful story and moving video! You have been such an inspiration to me on understanding myself, my body, and staying open to the positive energy around me (if harnessed)! There isn’t a better candidate for such a scholarship as you lead by example and with an open, willing heart.

  70. Sajeeda Khan-Woehle says:

    How wonderful! Hope you win the scholarship — you deserve it! :)

  71. Peggy JSingh says:

    Great essay! I’m very inspired, and want to start yoga myself. Best wishes!

  72. Don freihoefer says:

    Emily. Excellent essay. Inspiring.

  73. Tom Marko says:

    Emily –

    Excellent essay and video. Obviously your Dad has had a great influence in your life. As a current yoga student – best of luck!

    Tom Marko
    Yomitan-son, Okinawa, Japan

  74. NeaRia Thomas says:

    You sound very inspired . I wish you to win. Many good wishes your way.

  75. Maria Whitaker says:


    That is awesome! I need to be doing this. I will stop being nuerotic. LOL! This would be helpful to anyone, and everyone I’m sure. I’m proud of how you, and your whole family are doing. This obviously works! Let me know if you recommend any books.
    Aunt Maria

  76. Kay Sather says:

    Best of luck. You will inspire many.

  77. Gaby says:

    Best of luck on your journey!

  78. Julie says:

    Good for you! My cousin Lindsey told my mom about your site and my mom passed it on to me because she knows this is my passion as well— yes it is about asana and SO much more! I’m looking to take a teacher training as well… I can’t see myself doing anything else in my life! Yoga is Everything! (really, union)

  79. Marjorie Starnes-Bilotti says:

    I so enjoyed this presentation. I admire your goals and philosophy.

  80. Rita Klemm says:

    Lovely essay!

  81. david r says:

    Emily, you and your dad are good people and I wish you well. Hope to see you teaching soon.

  82. Nancy says:


  83. Tina Benenson says:

    Excellent presentation! Very inspiring! Good luck! Sorry this may be too late for you! I found Chuck’s message about you in my “junk”. Tina Benenson (friend of Chuck and Francoise and Nicho.

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