Yoga has had a major impact on my life since I first started practicing seriously in 2000. I came to Yoga as a fitness instructor and personal trainer (after taking dance lessons as a child), so I had a real appreciation for the physical aspects of the practice. What was new to me, however, was the mental/emotional/spiritual parts of Yoga. I swear these aspects have literally saved my life. I used to suffer from severe depression (including suicidality) and eating disorders, so the major lesson for me was learning to watch my own mind – learning that I had a choice what sorts of thoughts I allowed to occupy my mind. This is a great gift I offer my clients/students whenever I see a need for it.
For me at this point, Yoga is a complete lifestyle. Everything I do has some connection to the teachings and practices of Yoga. I use all six of the branches of Integral Yoga (raja, hatha, karma, bhakti, jnana, japa) every day. My familiarity with all of this makes me feel easeful with clients because I know I have the tools and the experience to share relevant practices with each person.
Since every person is unique, I strive to meet clients where they are. Many people have some knowledge of asana (yoga poses) and pranayama (breath work), but they might not have experience with meditation, chanting, or yoga philosophy for daily life. All of this contributes to mental health. I aim to give people an experience of the blissful True Self so they can carry that experience with them (remember and access it) as they go about daily life. This, more than anything, supports mental health. Vitality is the birthright of everyone!