The Magic of Yoga

Yoga is commonly referred to as a journey, as a path you walk sometimes forward, maybe a couple steps back, but one way or another you’re always on this road unfolding out in each direction. I’m a big fan of reaching out and stretching my fingers and feet wide, filling out a pose with an inner lift, but I can tell you my Yoga experience has been a bit more of and adventure than a path.

The first class I can recall taking was at the Park District within the small town where I grew up, in the Northern part of Illinois. (Where I currently reside.) My therapist at that time, had suggested trying Yoga to help me with my insomnia and anxiety. The years of dancing I had growing up, had me loving this new way to stretch, and I thought to myself, “I could do this.” After that class, I decided I would teach Yoga someday after I retired-much like the teacher before me had. The man was limber, strong and full of good humor, all of this much to my surprise, as he certainly didn’t look very fit or Yoga-like at all. The sorts of ideas my 14-year old self had about Yogis gives me a grin over twelve years later, but at that moment in time I really warmed up to the idea that I could grow to be a woman of confidence, full of love and capable in my body, and finally well-rested.

Through the passing years, I forgot the name of my first Yoga guide and often found myself forgetting to breathe. I moved through the practice with the goal of becoming this person I thought I should be. My therapist had been right and I’ve been enjoying sleep ever since, so I kept at the Yoga in addition to running, dancing, dating and being a classically busy late-teen, early twenty-something. I began to make a life of crossing off all kinds of ideas of what achievement looks like. At some point, I enrolled in a yoga certification program while living in Chicago. I quickly backed-out as parts of my life began to change or slip away. I clung to what I thought I had, fighting my way through, until several years later, I had no more energy. I was exhausted, totally drained and didn’t care much about anything anymore. At 25, I moved back home and started taking classes at the Park District again-thinking maybe my form was a bit off as I’d lost all the benefits my practice had once brought.

It was here, starting back from the ground, I met my favorite Yoga teacher-Barbara Cooling. I was in love after the first class with her, which wasn’t even a formal Yoga class-but a Yogalates class. She had the poise I once claimed during my dancing years, she took command of the room, she breathed in such a beautiful way-like waves on the Pacific Coast. I dreamed of that California coast-line every day and every night since my teenage years listening to relaxation tapes to aid me in falling asleep. I fell back in love with Yoga.

Aching to move away from the small town life, I once again gravitated toward the closet city to me and took a job in Chicago. This time, I kept up my practice. Few months passed and I decided to give up on that city, or maybe it gave up on me. But something inside knew the concrete beach at Montrose Harbor wasn’t quite the sunny, sandy coast I was after. I had to regroup, figure something else out, so I enrolled in a teacher-training program in the far Northwestern Suburbs of Chicago. Then the magic all started. (I call it magic and you’ll soon see why.) People starting asking me to teach them, left and right. As much as I tried, promising to teach them after I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training, I couldn’t escape! Plus, I needed another job. Freelance photography and writing can be a bit uneven in flow sometimes.

My dear friends, they inspired me-no make that they lifted me up to a happy place then kindly shoved me into reality by asking me if I’d ever feel ready to teach. There I was, in that moment, realizing as much as I wanted to be free, be that woman I saw Barbara reflect back at me, I was terrified, but I started to teach anyway-children at first.

It all came to me, I swear. I didn’t set out to teach this early on, but a small children’s class formed. They loved it, I loved them and I fell in love with teaching. During this time, more opportunities to share yoga started coming to me. Everyone I’ve admired has always said how one-day things just got easier and stuff just started to flow their way. First a gym, then a studio asking me to teach, so I did! And there I was, flowing deeply with my practice and the Universe delivering so many fun things to me. That’s the magic of Yoga as I know it now. It’s pure magic, the magic of life.

Every moment I stand before a Yoga class now, I channel a little bit of Barbara, and I become a little bit more of who I already am. My 200-hour training is flying by, and people are now bringing me the question, “What’s next?” Without even thinking, my heart floats to a Coastline. I see mountains, I see a community of health, happiness and abundance. I see me teaching, I see me in love. All of these things I see-I feel in my heart no longer waiting, but ready to unfold.

So naturally, I’ve chosen my next step as a 500-hour training in Lake Tahoe, California. I’ve never been, but if I can handle years of not sleeping, broken hearts, lost jobs and self-healing, I think I can handle this new challenge.

My goal is to help myself and help others reach beyond any path, continuing to unfold as the Universe expands and just see what the next breathe holds. To inspire the liberation of the natural creativity we all hold within us, sharing the magic of life through Yoga. And if that wasn’t big enough, there’s something new, something bigger inside of me that I’m ready to own. That something I saw in my favorite teacher, that something I see in my closest friends, family and people passing through my classes or on the street. And to that, may we all benefit from our own unfolding, expansion and adventure with the beautiful art of Yoga-it is magic.

magic of yoga

2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay

By: Rachel Wolfe

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. Anabella says:

    Rachel is truly a kind and caring and thoughtful being. she radiates nothing but greatness! she truly deserves this scholarship!

  2. CSThelen says:

    Beautiful. You’ve given me the gift of yoga and helped me see what it means to be happy on any path. You are achieving your “Big Goal” before our very eyes, so how could I not vote by sharing my love and comment?! You are the real deal.

  3. Hope Buckley says:

    A wonderful essay of truth!

  4. Sara Thomas says:

    Rachel is an amazing teacher! She is an inspiration to all who meet her. I have no doubt she will dedicate herself to furthering her understanding of this beautiful practice! Namaste:)

  5. Tamara Fana says:


  6. Kindra Fanatics says:

    Rachel’s story inspired me :)

  7. christina says:

    you an amazing and an incredibly inspirational teacher.

  8. Jamye says:

    Rarely does one have the opportunity to meet someone as kind, honest and hard working as Rachel. Her story is inspiring. If anyone deserves this, she does.

  9. Cheryll Reft says:

    Wonderful article, Rachel! Wish you all the best! :)

  10. Emily says:

    Ms. Wolfe writes from her heart. She injects new energy into this ancient artform with her own blend of knowledge and grace.

  11. Derek M says:

    Very inspiring, you are a special spirit and bring out the best in all of those around you.

  12. Stephanie Larson says:

    Rachel emits honesty and truth in all she does. and Love most of all. An unconditional love that entwines in all that she does, everyone she comes in contact with. Rachel embraces new challenges and builds on the ones that are manifesting themselves through her and others. Her strong intentions for life grab hold into an active happening. She is a wonderful entity that shines a glow – ever so naturally.

  13. Jules Shores says:

    Knowing Rachel pre yoga and post yoga influenced I must relay that I have watched this young woman truly blossom into a remarkably deep, passionate, and focused individual. She’s always been innately devoted and caring about everything she does and towards people, two qualities I find highly admirable in an authentic person. I feel she is steadily on her way to becoming a full circle Rachel. Your giving her this wonderful opportunity to achieve and realize her goals and dreams will surely shine on your yoga teacher training program. She will definitely be an exemplary role model for the quality/high caliber inspirational teachers that you turn out of this program.

  14. Matt says:

    Rachel is the best and should win the scholarship. I am sure she will pass on the joy.

  15. Jonathan Witmer says:

    Rachel you know what an inspiration you have been to me. Your essay is wonderful and magical :-) Oh I am now 51 pounds lighter, my mind is clear and my spirit soars. Speaking to those that are in charge of the Yoga Teacher Training……..I ask that you please consider Rachel for a scholarship because I know she would take the knowledge you would give her to help others find their path to a more healthy and fulfilling life through the Yoga lifestyle. Keep shining Rachel…

  16. Gina Johnson says:

    Beautiful essay! I know you will win.

  17. Linda Cannizzo says:

    Rachel is a beautiful and radiant light. Yoga has found an incredible vehicle through her.

  18. Jon Petersen says:

    Rachel, you are an inspiration to many. It is easy to see that you are truly dedicated to the magic of yoga and your students.

  19. Edyta says:

    Rachel, you are amazing and I am sure that through this journey you will enrich everyone’s life around you!

  20. Kristoffer Kuhn says:

    Lake Tahoe is amazing and no one else would be a better fit!

  21. Marina says:

    Go for the light my dear! :)

  22. Marty says:

    You have my vote! I am sure you will excel with the opportunity :)

  23. Erik says:

    Great job, Rachel! You’ll love Doug’s yoga method. I was in his workshop @ YogaNine in Smithville, NJ a couple of years ago, and plan to return to his workshops when he returns.

  24. Renee' says:

    Rachel is very deserving of this wonderful opportunity! I wish her nothing but the best in this pursuit of educational happiness!

  25. Tricia Wallace says:

    Rachel is wise beyond her years. She is authentic and kind, bright and shiny. Rachel is an inspiring student,teacher,and human being! She is a gift!

  26. Alison says:

    Wow! So glad I read this! I have just started practicing yoga to help with anxiety and sleep and feel a ton better already. Keep spreading the yoga love! Sounds like you have the passion and heart to help touch more people’s lives. Hope to take class from you one day.

  27. Debbie Wilcox says:

    That was a wonderful essay Rachel. I know Erik who is also a great yoga teacher. Doug’s brother David credits him for being his first yoga teacher. We all know how that work out. Good luck to you.

  28. Dee says:

    Good Luck…Hope you win Rachel ( :

  29. Stavroula says:


  30. Kurt says:

    No one more worthy.

  31. Kim Choin says:

    I hope you win because if you do, all of us at Curves will win too. Thanks for sharing all know so far and good luck winning this scholarship.

  32. Jenny lee says:

    The best of luck to you! What an inspirational essay, I know great things await you!

  33. Kim Buckley says:

    I know no other person more deserving of this scholarship than Rachel. She truly embodies exactly what yoga is, both on and off the matt. She is an incredible soul!

  34. George Hayman says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful piece of work!

  35. Mihai says:

    I hope you find what you’re looking for Rachel. Thank you for sharing your story.

  36. Art Budilowsky says:

    Rachel is a sweet, kind and talented Soul, who should really get this scholarship!

  37. Sara says:

    Rachel rocks! Hook a sister up!

  38. kacey says:

    well said. hope you win!

  39. Will says:

    I think Rachel deserves this scholarship because I know that she will act as a conduit to channel the positive creative energies of the universe to imbue others with peace and health.

    Good luck – your heart will lead you to happiness.ers.

  40. Deb says:

    I recently started taking Rachel’s yoga classes. I usually go in the class stressed out, wondering how to get everything done. I leave class feeling peaceful, strong & wishing I could take her class every day! Good luck Rachel & thank you!

  41. Julie says:

    Rachel is a positive, inspiring, passionate, amped-up ball of energy who always leaves enthusiastic comments on my projects, etc. What a supportive and wonderful person! I highly recommend her for any program that calls out to her heart!

  42. Linda Rauen says:

    Rachel, I read your story. It was wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Hope this part of your live takes you to new heights.

  43. Annette says:

    Rachel would excel at the training in Cali. I have been lucky enough to have had a 65 minute session alone with her. She is a good teacher.

  44. Annette says:

    Rachel would excel at the training in California. I was fortunate enough to have a 65 minute session of yoga alone with her. She is a good yoga teacher!!

  45. the mortician says:

    Great work! Rachel would you ever consider working with the death-care industry in your line of work?

  46. Mike says:

    Ive always known Rachel to be an upbeat, positive, friendly person. She seems very passionate and eager to share and recieve knowledge in this realm.

  47. Theresa Miles says:

    Best of luck to you, Rachel! Thanks for sharing your story. You are truly an inspiration….and a great dancer too!!

  48. Todd Jones says:

    Good luck – I hope it all works out for you.

  49. Rick Sharp says:

    Rachel has a strong passion in both learning and teaching. She would be an excellent candidate for the 500 hour training. I’m really looking forward to learning more about yoga from her.

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