“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self”
It’s strange to think how the trajectory of your life can change so much in a matter of seconds. At 15 it seemed I already had my life planned out for me. That summer, I was prepped and ready to study at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York City in the hopes of becoming a professional dancer. My life already consisted of 4-5 hours of intense ballet training Monday through Friday with 6-8 hours of rehearsals for dance productions on the weekends. That was it, that was what I was destined to be – a ballerina with silken pointe shoes on toes. Until one night, only weeks before I was headed to New York, everything change: I broke my ankle and was told I would never perform ballet at the level I had before. I was devastated.
After months of healing and physical therapy, I was introduced to Bikram Yoga, an extremely intense, 90-minute yoga asana class in a room heated to over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. I remember my mom dragging me to my first yoga class in Orange County. I was absolutely disgusted at the thought of staying in a heated room for over an hour, but somehow made it through the first class. Despite my intense ballet training and discipline, it took me over 3 months to get through a Bikram yoga class without feeling like I was going to either vomit, cry or die of heat exposure, but somehow and for some reason I stayed on my mat and continued to return to the studio each week. I noticed subtle changes in the way I felt after class and as my ankle started to get stronger so, too, did my yoga practice as a whole. I could only describe the feeling as a snake – every time I came out of a yoga class, it felt like crawled out of my “old skin” and exposed new clean and bright skin – it was incredible.
I’m 22 now and I have been practicing yoga every week since that fateful accident. I’ve traded in my pointe shoes for a yoga mat and received my yoga teaching certification this summer in Crete, Greece! As a college senior at the University of Southern California, I’m excited to share my love of yoga and tips on mindful living and practices to help young people like me find some peace and focus in their daily, hectic lives.