The first thing people say to me when I tell them I’m a yoga instructor is…

I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible. 

Although I tell them that yoga makes them flexible, not the other way around, I can see in their eyes that they have convinced themselves already that yoga isn’t for them, and this is just a convenient excuse. 

If you are nodding your head, thinking yes, I’m not flexible either; I can’t do yoga. Then this blog is for you! Keep reading…

I could list and detail all the benefits of yoga: improved strength, balance, and flexibility, but you could google that. And you should! Researching an activity that could impact your health before your start is an excellent idea! 

However, I want to share why I do yoga and the benefits I have received in my 20 years of practice. 

I started when I was 26 and pregnant with my first child. I was scared of childbirth, and the doctor suggested prenatal yoga. Also, the relationship I was in wasn’t a good one, and I was stressed and depressed. I had always used running to control anxiety but suffered horrible morning sickness during the first and second trimesters and wasn’t allowed my normal stress relief. 

It wasn’t love at first downdog. I was huge and felt awkward, but I stuck with it. 

After the birth, I continued going to classes to help recover from birth and get my body back in shape. I did it in tandem with running, and the weight fell off, my body was less sore and fatigued, and I could run longer and faster. 

Now, I was hooked. 

Flash to two years later. I was a single mom and a college professor in a high-stress tenure-track position. I often did yoga poses at my desk between committee meetings, classes, and office hours to relieve stress. I often suffered panic attacks, and I would use breathing techniques I learned in class to help me get through it. 

However, yoga truly saved my life after the birth of my second child eleven years ago. 

At 9 months old, my son stopped talking. He didn’t talk again until he was 4 years old. After many visits to the developmental pediatrician, we learned that our son was autistic. 

A happy side note: I met my husband in the intervening years, and I had his support through this unexpected journey. 

Why is this significant? Yoga gave me the insight and confidence to pick a partner worthy of my love. Through much meditation and inner reflection brought on by my yoga practice, I became a new version of myself. 

Ok, back to my son. It was like he had disappeared. The light in his eyes had gone out, and he would grunt and scream, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get through to him. He refused to potty train or play with others and would throw toys around the room rather than play. 

Those were very, very hard years. I spent more nights than I can count crying myself to sleep. But I continued to practice yoga. Doing ujjayi breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and Kirtan Kriya gave me the patience I needed to help my son. 

At the age of four, after years of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and special instruction, he came back. It felt like a miracle, but it wasn’t. It was the hard work of myself, my husband, and the amazing IU professionals. And, dare I repeat it, yoga. One of the only things I could get Benny to do was yoga. We had a Good Morning Yoga book and a Goodnight Yoga book that we would do daily. It was one of the only things that kept him still. 

This is what inspired me to go through yoga training. And, yet again, yoga changed my life. The panic attacks completely stopped. I have had maybe 2 in the last six years when I would average 2-3 a week previously. My migraines became less severe, I started sleeping better, and I was much happier. 

Now, I am mostly retired from academic teaching, and I now run Airmid’s wellness center. I teach the most amazing autistic adults weekly through BARC Developmental Services and monthly through Autism Cares. I work with different IU’s in Bucks County and have a few private clients. I have seen how yoga has changed their lives as well.

Oh, and my son still does yoga weekly with our wonderful Kid’s Fun Yoga teacher, Gail Rowan, on Saturdays at 12:30p. She is a special education teacher by day and a superstar yoga teacher by night, weekend, and summer! 

Lastly, I use yoga for pain management and have done it without realizing it since I started. When I was 6, I was in an accident where I went through the windshield of our car and, unbeknownst to me, herniated 6 discs in my cervical spine. 

They ruptured three years ago, and I have been in significant pain ever since. When I finally got the nerve up to go to the surgeon, he was impressed with how much flexibility I had in my neck and that I had been managing my pain through acupuncture and yoga all this time. He was shocked at my balance. Most people with my condition have no balance, and I could balance easily forever a minute. 

I will be getting surgery in September, and while I can’t teach for 3 months, which will be torture, I’m allowed to practice on my own after the first two weeks, and you had better believe I will use yoga to heal from my surgery. 

I hope I have convinced you. If not, give me a call, and we can chat about it more. There is nothing I love more than talking about yoga. 

Hopefully, I’ll see you on the mat.