I began my yoga practice about 15 years ago and fell in love pretty immediately. It was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, but for some reason, I left class smiling and I couldn't wait to do it again. It was the first time I'd ever been completely at peace with my body. I felt accepted, welcomed even. I was about 70 pounds heavier and I remember feeling so intimidated before walking into the studio that I sat in my car trying to muster up the courage to go in. I was afraid that my body would not look like the other bodies, that my skin would not look like the other skin, that my postures would not look like the other postures. In the end, I found that none of that mattered. Once class began, everything but my breath faded away. I was at peace. I was home.
Yoga has a way of resonating with the core of your very being. It can ground you and make you feel as if you’re walking on air all at once. No two practices are the same.
Yoga demands acceptance of self, presence of mind and patience with body. It shows us where we are imbalanced and gives us an opportunity to realign. It reminds us to breathe. I find that regardless of where I am in life, when I step onto my mat, I feel at peace. “This is where I am meant to be and I am grateful”, whispers through my mind.
Over the years, I have found that there are only a few things I need when I step onto my mat: patience, presence, acceptance, willingness and openness. All of these attributes help me to let my body be wherever it is today without thought of where it was yesterday or where I hope for it to be tomorrow. I can practice without judgement, shame or guilt. I can celebrate being me in my skin, in heart and in my mind. I can be grateful. For me, that's more than enough.
I teach a vinyasa flow that focus on nurturing who we are today, in this moment. I encourage my students to let go of shame, guilt and judgement of self and allow themselves to just be. I love heart and hip openers because they challenge us to be vulnerable. Any chance we have to open ourselves up to more love, more life, we should grab onto it with enthusiasm. My motto is "move through fear. Do your best. Leave the rest behind." See you on the mat.
Shay Huff received her 200-Hour Power Yoga Instructor Certification through Core Power Yoga in winter of 2016.