Sometimes I feel like I’m better at yoga than I am at life. Going to yoga on a weekly basis is an easy decision, part of my routine. I walk into that heated room, lay my mat down in the front row, and begin meditating. During class I face my challenges, side crow, tripod headstand, and tolasana. But I’m constantly reminded that it’s just a practice and that my body and mind are different today than they were yesterday or will be tomorrow. “Your mind will tell you stories about what you are doing or are about to do” says Megan “just let go of those stories and be present with what is”. While it sounds easy, trying to control the mind’s thoughts is the most difficult part of practicing yoga for me. The poses are poses, I’ve been practicing many of them for a number of years now and I don’t even think much about it anymore, I just go with the flow. I’ve realized though that this lesson is much more difficult to apply to life.
One of the first things I think of now when I think of yoga is balance. There are so many ways in which balance is powerful in life and in a yoga practice. If you’ve ever had one of those practices where you felt like you were floating through all the poses, you might know the feeling of effort and ease balancing each other out. Some days I curse to myself about how hard a certain pose or even an entire class is! Or I find myself driving in my car and sometimes getting easily upset when someone else driving near me makes a bad move. On the mat and in life, I am now more aware of negative thoughts immediately after they happen. My next thought is “let it go”. This is a small step in the right direction I think. Being present and aware of your thoughts and actions more often in life can eventually lead to those thoughts that cause suffering to fade away. The mind is constantly being obstructed, but practicing yoga, meditating and being self-aware are key to freeing it!
I started that practice seven and a half years ago now and I feel like I’m ready to take my experience to the next level. I always wonder when the day will come that I can give back to the community through yoga. I’ve practiced under a lot of different teachers, gone through studio changes and ownership changes here in Washington. I have taken several workshops taught by my favorite yoga instructor, Megan Carroll, and find myself craving her classes. Megan has a very special way of teaching and it has been through her classes that I have experienced the most profound practices that have lead to positive life changes!
Megan’s classes incorporate meditation along with movement and breath in a way that is so organic and so incredibly gentle, yet strengthening at the same time. Sometimes, I don’t know how she balances the two so perfectly. But what I think is one of, if not the most important thing about Megan’s classes is how she draws amazing parallels between the practice of yoga and everyday life. It has helped me to understand just exactly how unique and insightful yoga actually is!
With what I’ve learned so far and with what I know I will continue to learn, I intend to extend my knowledge and experience to anyone else interested in the practice of a long, quality life. I want to be for many people to come, what Megan and yoga have been for me: purely inspirational! With an open mind and an open heart, anything is possible!
The Anamaya Resort sounds like a great place to learn and immerse myself in yoga for a month! It’s located in Montezuma, Costa Rica, “overlooking a stunning, 270 degree ocean coastline view.” The program includes beach excursions and waterfall hikes, a great way to free the mind and spirit! The instructor in 2012, Jackie Chiodo teaches lessons not only about yoga but also about ayurveda and meditation. I’ve recently become exceedingly interested in how the three elements bond together.
Jackie also teaches the entire classical yoga system which I can appreciate for its authenticity and pureness. Ashtanga yoga is one of my favorite yoga styles! I love the idea of going back to the roots of yoga and find it fascinating that part of the lesson will incorporate comparisons of ancient teachings to modern day life. All in all, this place is undeniably perfect for me!
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Ashley McDonald
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