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“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”- B.K.S. Iyengar
In 2008, I began my yoga career, not out of any deep seated spiritual desire to grow or to become a yoga teacher, but it originated out of a curiosity, a motivation to find something more physically. I wasn’t sure at the time what “more” actually meant or exactly what I was searching for, but at that moment in my life I wanted to have a routine that offered clarity and peace in addition to having a visual impact on my body.
My on again, off again relationship had taken its toll over the years. I found myself working out at the gym constantly beating myself up. I allowed the internal dialogue to dictate my emotions. My workouts were not effective because I couldn’t break free from the negative chatter wreaking havoc in my mind. I couldn’t take it any longer, a 30 minute workout felt like 2 hours and I felt more defeated than when I began. I finally said enough was enough. My curiosity and desire for “more” got the better of me, and that is when I discovered yoga.
Yoga and meditation are centuries old practices contrived as a means to boost overall health and well-being. Yoga once thought to be merely a physical practice is a complete system focused on asanas, the postures in the physical practice, breath awareness, meditation and self-realization. Diet and proper nutrition also play key role in yoga. Yoga in Sanskrit means union, the link between the mind, body and the soul, the universal energy reminding us we are all one striving for the same goal. The word yoga comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit that is no longer spoken in modern times. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj meaning to bind, join, attach, to direct & concentrate one’s attention on finding a deeper understanding and awareness of not only oneself, but the world around us.
While the misconceived notion is that yoga is solely based on stretching this is only one component of the entire practice. The practice of yoga in its entirety is completely individual, but it can focus on strength, flexibility, mindfulness, meditation, breath awareness, diet, & living a balanced life.
Mahadev Desai describes yoga as “the yoking of all the powers of the mind, and soul to God; it all means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that yoga presupposes; it means poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly.”
Without knowing anything about yoga I took a chance. My first class was a challenge. I joined an all levels course based on the vinyasa practice. Vinyasa, a sanskrit term derived from hatha yoga is used to describe the synchronizing of breathe with movement. The practice flows fluidly from one asana, or posture to the next. By focusing on connecting breath with movement one can escape from the recesses of the mind and find peace, and that is what I needed.
I continued to practice over the next three years, using yoga as my personal outlet from the stress of everyday life. Working full time and maintaining my studies I needed yoga. When I graduated college I wasn’t quite sure where my life would lead. I had managed restaurants almost a decade and I needed an outlet that would be more fulfilling.
Being drawn to yoga initially for its physical practice over time it had evolved, I evolved. I decided to pursue the teacher training program in Scottsdale at the At One Yoga Studio in the spring of 2011. It was there that I was surrounded by other like-minded yoga students. Teacher training is not only meant for those seeking to instruct other practitioners. It is also a program to deepen your own knowledge and understanding for personal growth.
After working with a team of phenomenal instructors I knew I wanted to share this special gift I acquired. I wanted to teach others not only about the physical benefits of yoga, but I also wanted to help improve and guide individuals on their own spiritual and emotional journeys. I didn’t realize at the time of the yoga teacher training that the tools I procured there would have such an impact, that they help me navigate through life’s challenges with grace and ease.
Daily I use the principles in yoga to reflect on my blessings and become more self-aware. I am at a point in my life where I am following my internal compass discovering that the more I open myself up to the to the world the possibilities therein the more happiness and joy I find.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”-Mahatma Ghandi
HELLO! MY NAME IS
EMILY DAWN SZAJDA
I am a professional chef, writer, yoga & meditation instructor, sports nutritionist and adventurous traveler.Discover more
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