The Knowledge of Life

knowledge of lifeSometimes 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

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. Roniq Bartanen says:

    Great article by Ashley McDonald, very passionate and heartfelt!!!!

  2. Amber says:

    Good luck, Ashley!

  3. Mark says:

    How wonderful it feels and I’m right there with you.

  4. Noel modeler says:

    Ash your hard work will pay off. Much love sweetie.

  5. Randy says:

    You are truly a pure and benevolent soul who continues to inspire and enlighten me from 4000 miles away. Namaste.

  6. Scot says:

    wow, i feel inspired after reading this! super glad and honored to have a friend like you, go Ashley!

  7. Phil says:

    Yay Ashley! Do it!

  8. kate says:

    Fantastic article, Miss Ashley. I wish you the best of luck, you really deserve this!

  9. Jennifer Towers says:

    I loved this article! Im feeling inspired, thank you!

  10. Meghan says:

    Go girl!

  11. Cindy Staula says:

    Good Luck Ashley! You will make an amazing instructor!

  12. Julie says:

    Ashley, you are also VERY ‘good at life’!

  13. Jo Anne says:

    good luck Ashley!!

  14. cameron says:

    :) best yoga teacher i can think of!!

  15. Linda says:

    Good luck Ashley

  16. Kyle says:

    Good luck Ash!! (Tipper)

  17. Travis Boyd says:

    Come on Ashley,,,,,, your in “DO THIS”!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll send my wife down to see ya!!!

  18. Becky says:

    Very good article Ashley. I know will accomplish anything you set out to do.
    Good luck and good wishes

  19. Pat says:

    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
    Live the life you have imagined. “Herry Thoreau”

    Go for it Ashley

  20. vonna says:

    thats one yogi that can get in touch! amazing!

  21. :-) says:


  22. Amelia says:

    I think you would be a great yoga teacher!

  23. Danny Gadd says:

    Well done Ashley. Be present, steady and patient. Om Shanti.

  24. A. Klatt says:

    Well written!

  25. Nate says:

    Awesome Ashley, good luck!

  26. Elliott says:

    I never thought about yoga this way, very inspirational article!

  27. lexi says:

    yeah! go ashley!

  28. Cyrus says:

    Go Ashley, go!

  29. Deane says:

    Congrats on a great accomplishment, Ashley!

  30. Deena Eckroth says:

    Excellent article!!

  31. Rischel says:

    Thoughtful and inspiring. Best wishes Ashley!

  32. Linda Frangello Franco says:

    This article is beautifully written and shows the passion and maturity Ashley has gained through yoga. It also reminds me what is important and what should be “let go” in everyday life. I believe she will benefit by studying to be an instructor and sharing her knowledge and spirit with many others. She will help many people with different things in their lives and maybe they will be inspired, as she has been, to go on and apply lessons and maybe even teach yoga. Good luck Ashley! Your head and heart are in the right place.

  33. Edy Zelinka says:

    Great article! Good Luck

  34. Chilly says:

    nice work. Good luck, Ashley

  35. aubree Cox says:

    Woo Hoo!!

  36. shani says:

    Best of luck Ashley! :)

  37. Barb Knutsen says:

    Best of everything to you with your Yoga pursuits. Very inspiring!

  38. Alex says:

    Great perspective, seize the opportunity and go after your passions!

  39. Jo Simpson says:

    Great article Ash!~ I vote for YOU!

  40. Chris Burris says:

    Ash, it looks like you have found a path to follow, and as I read this I am so happy to recognize some places you are headed, good places. Teaching is hard and humbling, but those who watch and wonder if they are lost, may very likely follow your leap of grace and confidence, with their own, because of the good places you have been. Down the road, your students may find parts of themselves, in the places you go with them. may you be blessed with peace and strength in your work.

  41. Sara Nagy says:

    Great article Ashley – its always amazing and often rare to find something you love to do. Good luck!!

  42. Mattie says:

    Beautifly written Ashley! Good luck on your newest endeavor!

  43. NIPPER says:


  44. Brook says:

    I hope your wish is granted! It sounds like you’re on the right path.

  45. Keith says:

    Go Ashley!

  46. shan han says:

    She’s a lady, woah woah woah, she’s a lady. live yr dreams!

  47. Adam Garnich says:

    good luck Ashley, great article

  48. ramger says:

    good luck

  49. Dan Digs says:

    Great article, Ashley!

  50. Rick Brooks says:

    Go Ashley!!! Will you teach me yoga?!?

  51. Cody Klinich says:

    sounds like you know what you have too do !

  52. reece says:

    Well stated! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  53. Teresa Marble says:

    Great Job Ashley!!

  54. Joel says:

    Go for it!

  55. danielle says:

    pennies in your karma pool, girl!

  56. Chris B says:

    Ashley is the one.

  57. cameron says:

    i endorse this.

  58. heather says:

    love you ashley!

  59. demian johnston says:


  60. David Newman says:

    Ashley rocks! She needs yogic knowledge.

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