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Community Voices: First Yoga Experiences

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Do you remember the details of your first yoga experience?

“Yoga came to me unexpected. My first yoga experience was initiated by a close friend. One rainy evening, she asked me to join her at a new studio in Vancouver, Canada. I was very hesitant and had previously made up my mind that I didn’t like yoga. She asked me several times to go, and mostly to support her, I attended.

When I arrived at the building, it wasn’t what I expected. I had to ring a buzzer, walk through a courtyard, up some stairs,  and finally to a door with just a number on it. Upon entering, the smell of burning incense tickled my nose and I saw some mystical statues and photos looking back at me. I was greeted by her partner, who I knew as a boat-loving Vancouverite, but what I didn’t know, was that he was also a yoga instructor.

He introduced me to yoga that evening. During my first class, I learned that he lived for several years with Swami Vishnudevananda, at the young Sivananda Headquarters in Canada. After that evening I was hooked, and I can say that my life has been forever changed.

I am now a long-time Sivananda Yoga teacher spreading the wisdom of yoga around the globe with my company, Nectar Yoga. I truly believe “what’s for you won’t pass you”, even if you’re not looking.” —Amrita

 

“I had attended some yoga classes in New York City and became quickly frustrated that I could not (and felt I would never be able to) get into the poses that others were doing with ease. A few years later, I tried yoga again, but with a different attitude that I would only focus on my body on my mat, on my breathing, on the instructions of my teacher. And yoga has transformed and benefited me ever since.” —Mark A.

 

“I began yoga in 2000. I had 5 young children at the time and was running a business with my partner. Very stressful time! Yoga was my escape, my refuge. Something I could do for my Self and my own well-being. It was challenging but I loved it.

The biggest challenge I had was finding the time and being able to go to classes consistently. I would manage to go once or twice a week for a while and then I would let life get in the way and stop for 3 months. My yoga teacher was amazing and very attentive to his students. Occasionally when I was not getting to class he would give me a friendly call and encourage me to come back.  It always worked and slowly I became more and more consistent. I simply loved the quiet space and the physically demanding postures. My body and my mind began a slow transformation.” —Omkari

 

“I remember my first class very well. I attended a Hatha Yoga class with my old teacher Pilar who had trained at one of the Sivandanda ashrams. It was early in 2005.

It was all very new to me. I was a little anxious. I found it difficult to remember all the different asanas especially the different parts to Saludo al Sol (sun salutation) and to co-ordinate the breath. I persevered though. At the end of the class we lay in Savasana and my mind was jumping around like a monkey. I thought “do you think they´d mind if I left early?” I didn´t leave though. I persevered.

Now I attend yoga classes twice a week. It´s like going home, comfort food. Some of the asanas are like my favourite shoes or jumper. They just fit.”  —Katie