I must begin by saying, “thank you.” Because if you are reading this post, it means you are a supporter of You Call This Yoga, and you help make possible one of the most uplifting programs I’ve ever been a part of.
Now, I have two questions for you. Why do you do yoga? And what impact has it had on your life?
For me, yoga means growth. It’s the practice of going deeper into myself, physically, mentally, spiritually. It’s a tool that brings me consistently closer to my soul—to become more “me.”
As much as doing yoga molds me, teaching it makes me dig deeper. Teaching drives me to understand the concepts better, so I can explain them. It encourages me to read, seek inspiration, and create new sequences that I can share. It keeps me consistently out of my comfort zone—vulnerable in the front of a room full of both friends and new faces.
Teaching Chair Yoga at Alliance Medical Ministry over the past four years has challenged me on every level, while fueling my passion for the practice. Sometimes I arrive to class exhausted after a full day’s work, wondering how I’ll muster up the energy to lead the next hour. The moment I walk into the clinic and see the students’ faces, the worries of my day begin melting away. By the end of class, I feel light.
Of course, the students are incredible. They are upbeat and positive, even while they share their stories of physical pain, minor injuries, diabetes, and tight shoulders. They also talk about their progress—how many miles walked, how much weight lost, or the healthy meals they’ve been cooking (often with the vegetables from the Alliance garden).
Alliance supports them physically, mentally, and spiritually. The clinic provides holistic care for working people who don’t qualify for health insurance—so people who would otherwise “fall through the cracks” of our healthcare system can get what they need.
Yoga is a natural part of the holistic health puzzle. Most patients have never done it before they start at Alliance.
When I teach I do my best to make each class both accessible and challenging. Each class is in both Spanish and English. I offer modifications on the chair, on the mat, and standing. I encourage the students to listen to their bodies. I push them to try new movements, or to hold a pose for longer than they think they can. I’m consistently impressed with what they can do—and, often, so are they!
Many patients who I’ve spoken with over the years have told me that they come to yoga simply because they feel better after class. I hope that feeling better is just the beginning. That each of them feels a clearer path beneath their feet, leading them toward their fullest selves. That they can share a bit of what they learned at class with a family member or friend who wants to feel better, too.
Through You Call This Yoga, the power of yoga impacts people and communities that wouldn’t otherwise have access. So more people from every walk of life can use this incredible tool to grow.