Over the many years I have been in practice, I have learned new ways to relieve pain and stress and I have shared those disciplines with people all over the state of Florida. This young lady, Holly Garrett is one of them and she offered to guest write a few blogs for my site this month. Thank you Holly!
Yoga: An Ever-Evolving Journey
By Holly Garrett
” My first experience with yoga took place when I was 19 years old. It was the summer following my first year away at college and I was home for summer break. My best friend and a close friend of Val’s invited me over to Val’s house to do yoga.
I had heard of yoga, but at the time it seemed like some sort of weird, mysterious cult-like phenomenon that only celebrities did. Being the young, open-minded whipper-snapper that I was, I decided to give it a try. How hard could it be?
Turns out, it was pretty dang hard!
My memory of those days is a little fuzzy (that was over ten years ago now!) but I believe it was a Rodney Yee tape on VHS that we followed along with in Val’s living room floor. I remember being out of breath and giggling with my girlfriend at all the funny postures and their names. Silly as I found it in my immature mind, I cannot deny that some seed of Truth was planted in me on that day.
Over the next few years of college, I found myself attending the yoga classes that were offered at the university’s gym. I started taking it more seriously; really tuning into my breath, going deeper into the stretches, and really focusing on allowing my thoughts to “pass like clouds in the sky of the mind” as the teacher would instruct during Savasana, the final resting posture. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but there was no doubt in my mind that something about those classes left me feeling lighter, clearer, and more joyous.
Fast forward a few more years. I had received my Bachelor’s degree but was struggling—as many do right out of college—to find employment. I was working dead-end jobs in restaurants as a waitress and I was miserable. I wasn’t making enough money to afford a membership at a studio, so I began practicing at home, using YouTube videos and #yogachallenges on Instagram to keep my practice inspired. During this time, yoga had become my anchor, grounding me into a place of peace and gratitude despite the fact that I was unfulfilled in other areas of my life.
I believe it was during this period of time—when my practice was really my OWN and not just me doing what I was instructed to do by teachers—that I really began to realize that something magical was taking place on my mat every day. On the days that I did practice, the person I was off the mat was more calm, steady and patient than the person I was on the days when I didn’t practice. I became obsessed with understanding more about yoga and how it had the ability to make me feel SO good.
In 2015 I received my Hatha Yoga Teacher Certification from The Lotus Pond Center for Yoga & Health in Tampa, Florida. The teacher training was an unbelievably transformative experience in personal growth and self-awareness, and while I had attained the certification, I left teacher training with the realization that yoga is not something that you can just master over the course of a few months, or even years. It is a daily, ever-evolving practice of coming back home to yourself, every time you hit the mat.
To this day, yoga still remains a large part of my life. Like the moon, I tend to go through phases with it. At times I’ll practice every day, other times I hardly make it to my mat at all (and trust me, I miss it when that happens) but to me, yoga is like a good old friend; the type of friend who you can go weeks or months without talking to, yet as soon as you see them again it’s like no time has passed whatsoever. Yoga always forgives, always welcomes me back, and continues to evolve with me as I grow through this life. I am so deeply thankful for this practice and for Val for introducing it to me and completely changing my life for the better.
Thanks Val! ”
You are welcome Holly!