My introduction to yoga and meditation was a humbling experience. I am not a former dancer or a gymnast. When I took my first beginners yoga class, I could not touch my toes in any forward bend poses and felt intimated. The magic of yoga is that if you have the right teacher, you quickly learn that there is no competition in yoga and that it is all about the relationship between you and your own body. You learn to enjoy the path rather than focusing on an end result. You learn to be present and ultimately achieve a peaceful mindset on and off your mat. In order to access this state, I had to rewire my brain. Yoga and mediation gave me the tools to do that.
As a corporate executive and business owner working grueling hours, I had associated my happiness and self worth with the success I achieved as a CEO. I was a perfectionist, workaholic and expected the same standards of perfection and dedication from my employees. Looking back at those days that I left behind, I wish I had the knowledge and tools I have now to deal with stress and conflict in the work place.
I initially turned to yoga to bring my stress level down and address health issues I was having (anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain in my jaw). When I got deeper into my practice, I realized that the health benefits I received were the tip of the iceberg. I was able to stay calm in highly stressful situations, felt healthier and more energized, my health issues started to disappear, I felt a spike in my creativity and started having more clarity in my thoughts and decision making process. But the most profound change happened when I learned to access my inner resource, the joy that resides in me thus becoming less dependent of ego-driven factors (fame, money, recognition, status) for my happiness. I started living each day with a deeper awakening that brought an abundance of joy and gratitude for the most basic things in my life, starting with the fact that I am alive and breathing.
Driven by my desire to share the gifts of yoga that I received, I got certified as a yoga teacher. When I discovered the healing powers of yoga, I dove deeper into my education. I am a C-IAYT, E-RYT 500 and RYT-500 certified yoga teacher and yoga therapist. What this means that I have advanced training and fulfilled the rigorous requirements of International Association of Yoga Therapists to be certified as a Yoga Therapist. This journey involved studying for four years under the leading medical doctors and yoga therapists in the renowned Yoga Therapy Program at LMU (Loyola Marymount University) in Los Angeles, California. This first and only university-accredited Yoga Therapy program in the United States integrates medical science with 5000-year-old yoga tradition to give individuals the necessary tools to tap into their body's inner pharmacy in order to obtain optimum wellness.
E-RYT-500 credential means I am recognized by the Yoga Alliance as an experienced teacher that has at least 2000 hours of teaching experience. I am also proud to have been certified by the Chopra Center as a meditation teacher. I consider Deepak Chopra to be a visionary guru who has been a guiding force introducing the science-backed benefits of meditation and self-reflective practices around the world. I am honored to be one of his ambassadors to help spread the gift of this ancient wisdom.
Once you start practicing yoga, you will notice that you are on a path to empower yourself on and off the yoga mat. Whether you are new to yoga or an advanced practitioner, I invite you to join me on this magical path of wellness and enlightenment. Yoga has changed my life for the better. It will change yours too.
As a yoga teacher who offers yoga and yoga therapy classes, my goal is to bring not only the physical but also the mental and spiritual benefits of yoga to my students. Yoga opens channels in your physical body while creating stillness in your mind which helps you look at life through a crisper lens. Within this stillness and peace, you learn to tap into the power of “now”, enjoy the preciousness of every moment you experience and become more fulfilled in your daily life. Yoga also helps you deal with adversities or unexpected twists in life. Metaphors turn up often in yoga. Your experience on your mat, in a sense, mirrors your life. When we are working towards challenging peak poses focusing on upper body twists, it is a reflection of the twists and turns in life and how nothing is permanent and how with perseverance, we get through tough challenges. When we are doing back bends and opening our hearts, we are also becoming vulnerable - in a positive way - and being open to receiving love. Child’s pose invites us to tap into the child within ourselves, take care of our body, relax and breathe. Savasana - the final relaxation pose - is where we learn to detach our minds from our physical body and quiet our minds, allowing our mind and body to experience the ultimate recharging and rejuvenation.
Whether you are a teenager or over 80, it is never too early or late to start practicing yoga. if you want to increase your fitness level, lose weight, get in shape or bring peace and joy to your life, you will see that yoga will transform you physically, mentally and emotionally.
While practicing, it is important to work with a certified teacher from a reputable organization. Also, make sure that your teacher is continuing her/his education, staying current with the new research, findings and advancements as it pertains to practicing safe yoga. You also need to honor and respect where your body is and work with a teacher who has a thorough understanding of human anatomy. Make sure your teacher is creating a path of improvement in a mindful way, challenging you within healthy boundaries without pushing your limits. Having practiced yoga around the world, I have learned from some amazing teachers. I am very lucky to have obtained my teacher training certificate (RYS 200) from one of the most highly respected organizations - True Flow Yoga in California, U.S.A. and have studied under one of the best teachers in the industry, the formidable Brynn Rybacek. I then continued my education at one of the top yoga educational institutes in the world, Loyola Marymount University's Clinical Yoga Therapy Program, which integrates western medicine with 5000 year-old yoga tradition. Through deepening my knowledge in yoga anatomy, yoga therapy and philosophy working with some of the foremost experts, doctors, physical therapists and master yoga therapists in the world, I obtained the C-IAYT certification.
Following the teachings of all yoga masters, my goal is to spread the joy and gifts of yoga without holding back and keep on changing lives.
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