I discovered yoga 3 summers ago after thirsting for inner peace & forgiveness  from enduring an emotionally & mentally draining relationship. Initially, I tried confiding in several school counselors and professors, professional people who I thought would be able to help me stay afloat from drowning in this vast, dark sea, but I felt like they just didn’t “get” me. The interventions they gave me seemed superficial and did not dig deep into what was the underlying cause of this exhausting emotional stress. After sitting under the stars many nights just contemplating, I began to growing fonder of nature and found a pure truth and trust in it: a spiritual epiphany that everyone, everything in this universe is all interconnected. It was such a fancy thought for me and was quite unbelievable at how simple and true it is and how it’s always been like that, but I’ve never paid any attention to it until that moment.

 

Going with the flow, I thought about how meditation works for many people. What is it? How does it work? Who can teach me? I had no clue who on my college campus  did, my family and friends are very unfamiliar with this because church and prayer is their way to ask for peace that didn’t work for me, and being even more introverted & shy at this time to ask and seek around was a minor hindrance. Soon, yoga came to mind and I naively figured somehow yoga was like meditation, and so I set out to begin my yoga journey.

 

Initially, I was most concerned with trying how to get the poses “right” by fumbling and looking all around to see how everyone else is doing it. But after learning that yoga practice is not a competition and that we’re all on own our journey, the poses will come to us when you are ready. And I’ve applied that concept to many aspects of my life eventually learning about (with surprise of discovering the origin) this Buddhist proverb: “The teacher will appear when the student is ready.” Thus, I have learned to strengthen my patience, to forgive myself for having expectations and hopes that are not conducive to my growth, and to accept what I do and who I am right now.

 

Enter Yogi’s Heart. Being able to have a consistent practice has given me something special that I’ve never experienced before: feeling like there is something that I am good at. This practice has been healing and building the most important parts of me… within. Yoga has been the perfect remedy for the emptiness and the hole that was once inside, nurturing and supporting my growth and unleashing my potential as a warrior. It has helped sow and bloom self confidence, self-esteem, self respect, and most importantly self love which I have finally been able to begin understanding and appreciating through venturing on my journey so far.

 

When I first began,  I never forgot what Trella, the founder of Yogi’s Heart, wished for me after receiving the scholarship… which was growth. I didn’t quite understand what she meant, but it stayed in the back of my mind. I remember my first month being introduced to bakasana, crow pose, and it was scary! I couldn’t do it, either from lack of focused muscle strength or just fear and felt a muscle strain in my triceps. My headstand required wall assistance and I so badly wanted to pike it down as I had seen fellow yogi’s were able to. I didn’t understand what it meant to “square your hips” and why it was important to constantly focus on breath.

 

It has been 8 months since I began my consistent practice, and I can now do bakasana without a faceplant, headstand without assistance and a soft landing pike, working on forearm balance now, being able to square my hips in warrior poses, and delving into inner peace and bliss as I listen to the sound of my every breath, and the feeling is definitely breathtaking.

 

Looking back is such a great feeling, bearing witness to my growth not only physically, but also spiritually. I have learned so much more as I practice yoga to accept things as they are, forgive, letting go, and embracing the power of now. Being able to experience this personal growth has without a doubt added more color and purpose in my life, making me feel and believe in beauty and my worthiness as a young woman, a human being in this wild universe.

And for those who, like me, once thirsted for peace and love… just take a seat there, be quiet, go within, and breathe. What you seek is all within you. Namaste warrior.

 

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

~ Kathleen Capiroso

 

I received my Yogi’s heart scholarship at the end of January. Yoga has been a part of my life since the beginning of high school but I never really pursued it in a spiritual way. School and work and all those other ridiculous excuses that students in college can come up with “get in the way”.

My mom has been teaching at Yoga Synthesis for 4 years and I have watched her blossom into a strong, independent and all around amazing women. She juggles a full-time job at Valley Hospital as an open-heart surgery nurse. She gets up at 6, goes to work and comes home at 4, Monday-Friday. When she gets home from work she always finds someway to tie in a yoga practice to end her insane day. She is the absolute definition of superwoman.

I began to envy my mom’s practice and wanted to start a practice of my own but knew I couldn’t afford it. I turned to Yogi’s Heart and quite literally jumped for joy when I got the call from Lindita that I had actually been awarded it. I have ALREADY seen changes in my life since I received my scholarship. I become a little stronger each and every day. I may not be able to kick up into handstand quite yet but I know my motivation and focus will get me there.

I want to thank Yogi’s Heart for this amazing opportunity and want to thank my mom for being the biggest inspiration. I am so excited for my journey and cannot wait to see where my practice takes me.

 

NAMASTE

 

I was thinking of a really cool way to start off this blog. Should I use a quote? Song lyrics? Should I be uber spiritual, and work in some Sanskrit words? Probably not, because I don’t even know many Sanskrit words. I do know one word, though, and that’s Namaste. As I was contemplating my life-changing blog starter, I started to roll the word around in my mouth. Namaste. Na-ma-ste. I found myself focusing on the last syllable, ste or STAY.

When I think of the word stay I think of patience. I typically say that I have none of that, but the truth is that I really do have the ability to stay. Receiving the Yogis Heart Scholarship and living my life’s journey (so far) has shown me that I am here, I am here to stay, and I have the ability to stay put until life goes the way it is supposed to.

 

I applied for the Yogis Heart Scholarship last June, and received it in July, right around my 20th birthday. I was ecstatic. Amy Jean Pastore, one of my first yoga teachers and a true friend, called me up and gave me the awesome news. I was a little shell shocked, and my response was a foggy, “Thanks…?” Two minutes later I was hyperventilating: I was going to have the opportunity to dig deeper and practice unlimited yoga for an entire year! That’s crazy! I immediately started investigating which studio I wanted to practice at and I was met with a dilemma. My parents live in New Jersey, where I was living at the time, but I would be soon moving to Manhattan.  What was I going to do?

 

Well, what I did was I stayed; I stayed in the moment. I trusted that things were going to work out and that I would make the right decision, one way or another. And you know what? Things did work out. Miraculously, Alison McCue and Seth Weisberg decided to open a Hoboken location of Garden State Yoga, which is very accessible to me in the city. This was ideal. I would have a studio near my parents’ home and a studio where I lived! Furthermore, the Hoboken location was set to open in Fall of 2013, just when school was starting. Perfect!

I started the school semester super positive, trusting that the Hoboken GSY studio would open within a few weeks and I would be on my way. It did not quite happen that way. Because we live in the real world, and life happens, the studio took a bit longer to open than anticipated. Month after month, the GSY Hoboken’s Grand Opening was postponed. I started to get really despondent and antsy. Having not practiced asana in a while, I worried that I was losing my yogi status. But here’s the thing: just because I was not practicing asana does not mean that I was not practicing yoga. There are eight limbs of yoga, and asana is just one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE asana, but I realized that because I waited, because I participated in the stay of Namaste, I was practicing yoga. Receiving the scholarship was like a birthday present, but recognizing my ability to NamaSTAY? Now THAT is a real gift.

 

I officially started my Yogis Heart Scholarship at GSY in January, upon the opening of the Hoboken studio. Since then I have tried out every single teacher at the studio and made a host of new friends. I feel so lucky that I stayed. I feel so lucky that I have a community that bolsters me and promotes wellness. I feel so lucky that I get to practice yoga on a regular basis! I appreciate my current asana so much more because I stayed, and I feel lucky to have been given that opportunity.  NAMASTE!!!!

 

~ Elinor

 

WOW, I can’t even believe what a year it’s been! . . . I’ve met some pretty incredible people who I feel utterly blessed, honored, privileged and grateful to have in my life. Essentially, it has been a year of monumental love, creation, realization and growth. I wrote a love letter to yoga that I wanted to share with you:

Dearest Yoga,

I feel so truly blessed that you have entered my life! When Nana introduced me to you, I was only 12. I was particularly interested with the girl who was bending in a way I didn’t know existed. I thought, “Wow I don’t know how I can do this, but one day, I will.” We went our separate ways for a while after, and for that I am sorry. When you came back into my life, I was ready to explore with you more. Ready to let you show me more of me and more of what I am capable of, despite my own belief. You were at my house almost daily, but that may have been too close for comfort. We needed some guidance to help us make it work.

Cue Yogis Heart. When my year of yoga began, I was really intimidated and you showed me this side of you that I have never seen before.  Regardless, I accepted you and all you had to offer me. Today I stand here in Tadasana, hands at my hearts center, so grateful that we have taken this journey together. You have come back home with me when studio time isn’t available and I am more comfortable with you than I ever have been. So comfortable in fact, that I see you multiple times a day. Thank you for sharing with me and for showing me my own effervescent light. I have seen some pretty amazing things happen in this practice we have and as the days go by, a beautiful shining soul is revealed to me more and more. Stunningly, Searchingly, Peacefully Beautiful is the way I now flow. My Breath moves, body moves, and I am on a cloud. You have showed me who I am and the love that I am capable of. Showed me that I was made to love and be loved, share love and give love. Made to feel and create and dance and laugh! You have showed me who. I. am. The world is better for you are a part of it, and the world is an even better place for you have showed me that I am such an important part of it as well. I have loved every minute we have shared together. Thank you for being a divine guiding light. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me next. Yoga, it is time I say those magic words to not only you, but myself and everyone that surrounds me. I LOVE YOU and THANK YOU.

Shanti,

Bianca

One year on, my practice has expanded to depths and poses I never thought I would ever see myself doing. I have learned that it is not our bodies that are stiff, it is our minds. Yoga is not about a crazy circus gymnastics routine, it is a soul searching divine connection to life and beyond. The movements and poses are just there to guide us through and it is when we are connected that those amazing poses come.  Last year I was talking about tacos, and truth, this year the truth is I am far more patient, calm, compassionate, accepting and understanding than the being I was last year, or even a few months ago. But the thing I have learned the most through yoga, and more than once, is life’s most aphoristic and yet overlooked truth: Embrace everything that comes your way, as life would never give you anything you can’t handle. Never stress because everything will always, always work out the way it’s supposed to. And never, ever, ever take anything for granted, everything in life is a blessing, including those in disguise. And if it’s not immediately a blessing, it’s a lesson to make your life fuller. Never become jaded toward anything, take in all of life’s magic with the wonder and awe of a small child. Life is pretty effing special, and to quote Holden Caulfield; we’re damn lucky to be living it. Be absolutely grateful, GRATeful, GRATEFUL for everything in your day, because the world doesn’t owe you anything. When you step off your mat the true yoga begins. e m b r a c e it all and absolutely love life!

I can’t express my gratitude toward the beautiful humans at Yogis Heart who have given me such an amazing opportunity, and an amazing start to a wondrous yoga and life journey. Yogis Heart will forever be on top of my gratitude list. Keep an eye out because I have big BIG dreams manifesting. I have seen so much in one year, it brings me such joy and peace to know what is in store for this coming year. Brace yourselves; it’s going to be a good one. Big love, and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

The light in me so humbly bows down to the light in all of you,

Namaste and many OMs,


Bianca xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

I came to my mat in February of 2009 as a struggling, unhappy college sophomore.  I was depressed, suffering anxiety and my emotions ruled my life.  I knew very little about yoga, the main attraction for me being some promise of tranquility with a side of muscle tone.

 

My first class was painfully awkward, and it showed.  I naively kept my socks and sneakers on until the instructor gently informed me yoga is practiced barefoot, then stumbled around my cheap rubber mat for an hour.  I even caught the instructor chuckle to herself when I fell out of Warrior II.  Yes, fell…as in, onto the floor.  As I cursed all warrior poses, my untamable breathing and the tanned, sinewy rubber band practicing on the mat next to me, I was completely unaware of the little seed of light burrowing into my mind.

 

During my second visit to the yoga studio, something in me shifted.  The teacher instructed everyone to place one hand over their heart and the other on their abdomen during the opening meditation.   As I sat on my mat feeling the long, deep breaths flow in and out of my body and my heartbeat under my palm, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of safety and comfort.  I had never before paid such close attention to the two biggest reasons I am alive.  Its grounding effect was instantaneous, and grounded, at that time, was something I rarely felt.  At that moment, something clicked and yoga became my new best friend.

 

While it took time for my muscles to stop screaming during every forward fold and lunge, I kept coming back to my mat.  Maybe it was the soothing music, the candles, the incense, or the sweaty, cleansing workout.  Perhaps it was that a challenging class gave my mind something other than my self-esteem to gnaw on for an hour and a half.  Regardless of the exact reason, yoga fostered a focused sense of introspection that I never experienced before and drew me to the practice like a moth to a flame.  As I deepened my practice I delved farther into my psyche, clearing dark cobwebs from my mental space, disrupting harmful and unneeded thought patterns and very often sprinkling my mat with tears.

 

Any problem I couldn’t solve was fixed on my mat.  When I was scared or hurting, I tucked myself into double eagle or leaned into gomukhasana.  As I learned to steady my breath, my thoughts steadied in return.  When I achieved balance in bakasana or headstand, my life outside the yoga studio equalized.  As my body became more flexible, my mind relinquished the control it tried to exert over every situation.  Each transformation on the mat was met with a congruent change off of it and I slowly morphed into a different person.

 

Throughout the development of my practice, my passion for yoga and meditation quickly merged with my interests in science. What was once a form of personal therapy became firmly rooted in my academic and work live. The  focus of my senior capstone project at Northeastern University on mind-body medicine and I also spent the first six months of 2013 as a research intern at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.  In August, I entered into Georgetown University’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine program, where I now study physiology and mind-body medicine.

 

The circumstances that led me to roll out a yoga mat for the first time were dark and are not easy to recount.  However, I have tremendous gratitude for those lows; without them, I never would have found yoga in my search for a way out and may not have returned to mental and emotional health as quickly or robustly.  Consequently, I never would have developed my academic interests and career aspirations into what they are now.  By continuing to practice, I keep my head and my heart on an even keel.  When things get hairy, which they still sometimes do, I roll out my mat.  In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”  And learn to surf I did.

I left Rutgers University this May with confusion that many individuals share post graduation.  I had a different college experience than those around me. I started my college career in Fairfield Connecticut, unfortunately never finding my place. I then bounced around after my first semester of college and transferred to a community college in my hometown.  I found myself very alone in a deserted town where all my high school friends were happy away at college.  I started Rutgers as a sophomore, and continued to search for my niche.  I began college with high expectations that were unfortunately not met, but I can’t say that I would change my experience. Even though it didn’t turn out as what I had hoped or expected, I believe that obstacles are placed in our life to make us stronger, and it’s the challenging situations that help us learn and grow. I believe the perspective of how we choose to look at a situation is a conscious decision. I grew the most as an individual during some of the hardest times in my life, which has shaped me into who I am today.

 

Yoga has been an outlet that I use to cope with some of the challenges in my life. I fell in love with practicing yoga throughout college, and it was a very positive channel for me in a dark and tumultuous time in my life. I loved the physical challenge that yoga creates, and the mental clarity that I take away from each class. Yoga became a healthy outlet to pour my energy into. Yoga has taught me so much about myself. Growing up I never found an aspect of my life that evoked passion. This all changed when I found yoga. My practice gets me out of bed in the morning, and has taught that attitude is everything. Each pose presents a new challenge and the dedication that I have in my practice can be applied to any other endeavor I begin. Yoga has taught me to create balance in my life, and has been a guide to help me listen to what is best for my body, and my life. It has taught me self-control, and has allowed me to become attuned with my body of when to push myself and when to back off.

 

Having a consistent practice has helped me take control of my life and has cleared up my post graduation cloud of confusion. I am extremely excited to say that I am starting my teacher training this October through Samadhi Sun with Sharon Manner and Yulady Saluti. All of my recent growth in yoga can be attributed to Yulady’s motivation and guidance. I have a long-term goal of working towards a graduate degree and opening up a private practice as a counselor. I would love to one day be able to incorporate yoga with counseling. Both can provide numerous health benefits for the mind and body, and I think that yoga would be the perfect outlet for people that are struggling with the challenges and stresses of life.

 

Yoga has been the spark that has put energy and strength into my life.  All of this wouldn’t have been possible without Yogisheart. I will never able to thank Andrew and Trella Dolgin, Kelly Corcoran, and the Yogis Heart board and foundation enough for allowing me this opportunity to go deeper into my practice, and help me realize how I want to make yoga a priority and a significant apart of my life and career. I hope that one day I will be able to pay it forward to many others in the future.

 

~ Gina

 

I used to work as the Outreach Coordinator for an art museum. It was a perfect job for someone who wanted to make a career in the art world. But instead of devoting myself entirely to my great job, I manipulated my work schedule any way possible so that I could get to my favorite yoga classes. If you think people are bendy in yoga, you should have seen the pretzel I twisted myself into just to make it to class. After a particularly stressful day of hoping that my museum bosses didn’t notice the touch of yoga-practice sweat on my brow, I reached a type of career enlightenment: maybe I should change careers and make yoga a part of it.

Yoga has taught me more about myself than I ever could have imagined the first time I stepped on a mat. I have learned to be patient with others – and with myself. When I struggle for years with a pose that I desperately want to achieve, I have learned to take a step back and enjoy the journey of each pose that leads up to it; each hamstring and shoulder opener can be as meaningful as the handstand hops for which they prepare you. I have learned to be attentive and to listen to what speaks softly and subtly rather than to the screams. Sometimes the true moments of bliss in my daily practice are when I sense a tiny muscle I have never felt before and know the pleasure of understanding my body just a little bit more, not the slow, steady burn of chair pose.

I have learned about failure- how to regroup and keep going. Each pose is like a microcosm for the greater, more drawn out challenges in life. You struggle and breathe and reach and focus. Sometimes you experience the burst of joy that comes with the full length and breadth of a challenge and sometimes you fall on your butt – all within the span of a 5-breath hold. In my practice I have failed so badly and completely that I sustained injuries that have lasted for years. But I am grateful to my failures and to my injuries, because by regrouping and re-learning to move, I have discovered the subtleties of my practice.

The personal wisdom and guidance that yoga has offered me would be useful in any profession, but I think that it will be a particular beacon of truth for me as I embark on the long road towards becoming a physician. Yoga has taught me respect for the body that I hope to pass on to my patients. I have learned that true health doesn’t come just from sweating and eating kale- although those things don’t hurt – but through being attentive to what is lacking and fulfilling those needs. Most importantly, though, I think that I have learned to listen to my body as an integrated unit, and I hope to repurpose that careful skill to listen to my patients. For, as I have learned through my practice, the body cannot be healed without healing the mind alongside it.  Without yoga I would still be silently resigned to a great job in an art museum that left me completely unfulfilled, rather than embarking on the challenging but invigorating road towards becoming a physician. Yoga has been the light guiding my career, and I know that I will continue to draw great inspiration from practice as I grow into the doctor I now know I am meant to be.

Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, to Andrew and Trella Dolgin, Kelly Corcoran, and the Yogis Heart board and foundation for offering me this opportunity to expand my practice. I hope to pay it forward to the universe a hundredfold.

 

~Elizabeth Lemoine

Current meditation in words about her yoga practice from the amazing Ana, one of our scholarship recipients.

Yoga, it’s all about stretching right? BLAH! Whoever said that has been incredibly misdirected. Before my first time doing yoga about 6 years ago, I was that confused kid, “practicing” yoga with the illusion that it would help me become flexible. Don’t get me wrong, yoga can lead to flexibility, but it’s important to understand that yoga is much more than just physical, that’s realistically only 50% of it. The other  50% is the spiritual practice.

My point of view: The spiritual practice is much harder.  So for what reason might I want to do yoga again? Well, for the little bit of time I got to practice yoga, it was the only time I felt at peace with myself. Guessing your next question, “Why did you stop?” Well let’s just say that it wasn’t an action I chose for myself. I didn’t really have a choice, I HAD to stop.

I personally think it’s a very cliché story but it’s mine and there’s no changing it. I was no longer able to afford Yoga practice after my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was no longer able to provide for my family financially. As a result, I had to work every single free hour I had in order to be able to pay for my own college and personal expenses. In addition to kissing my social life away, my family began deteriorating with my sisters suicide attempt and my father’s death soon after. I literally gave up any bit of happiness I held onto surrounded by the immense stress and chaos in my life.

Now that I have been blessed by the universe with such a wonderful organization such as this, my hopes have drastically changed. I’m no longer looking forward to yoga like I used to, simply a stretching practice, I’m seeing it as my only way to truly begin to focus on myself again. After the many years I spent giving to others and helping them, I think it’s time I begin to help myself now to. Now that things are beginning to go back to a more stable essence, it’s time to release the stress. Looking at an original definition of yoga, “submission to spiritual discipline and experiences to reach the state of the divine,.”

That’s what I think yoga will do for me. I’ve been able to find compassion and patience through my Buddhist practice, but yoga is that extra push which I think will be able to connect my physical presence to the spiritual part of this world as a whole. I’ll be able to join the two and truly balance my being, executing tree pose for hours to becoming aware of my breath and thoughts all at once and even balancing out the energies around me. Easier said than done, but I’m determined.

I only recently began my practice again through the scholarship at a school mate’s yoga studio. Half way into a class, Jamie, our yoga instructor had us do lizard pose. There I am with my elbows touching the ground towards the left without a problem. But as soon as I switched to the right, I could barely even get my palms flat on the mat! I was so blown away to see how truly unbalanced I was. That small second of sudden realization brought so many images and thoughts to my head. I began to think how unbalance I am, physically and not physically; from spending too much time at work and school and not enough with my family, and how much I say “I” during the day. Worst of all, realizing how much I’m trying to control my life and how it works instead of simply letting it be and experiencing it and just tweaking it here and there.

This realization manifested within just one pose in one class?! I mean, that’s incredible! Either I’m really beginning to focus on what my mind is trying to say, or Jamie is an incredible teacher! But now that I think about it and put it into words, I’m sure it’s both. The joy I get simply on the way to yoga class, is a joy I know yoga can bring to me at all hours of the day, not just on my way to it.



I AM going to strive for big wins with myself! I will push myself, but I will respect my body’s limits with open arms. Balance you know? It really moves this world. Literally. Stephen Hawking, my favorite still living scientist, would probably agree that balance is growth: while the universe continues to stretch…it is balancing itself. We are minute examples of an enormous universe.

~ Ana

 

Trella Dolgin (our founder), Courtney, and Omni Kitts Ferrara (owner of Yoga Montclair)

 

Meet Courtney.  She has chosen to practice at Yoga Montclair for her unlimited year.  Now in her own words, her journey to the yoga practice:

I’ve spent most of my life constantly comparing myself to others, and never feeling like I measured up. I still remember with extreme detail, as if I‘m watching a movie in my mind, the first time someone called me fat. It was in the first grade, by a 5th grade boy, and it most certainly was not the last time nor the last person I heard it from. I was aware from that day on that I was “the fat kid,” it’s hard to ignore the fact that year after year, you’re the largest kid in your grade.

That stigma followed me through my entire adolescence, and it made me an extremely insecure person, and my own worst enemy. I didn’t exactly grow up in the most nurturing of environments either, surrounded by a “tough love” kind of principle that wasn’t the kind of love that I needed in my life. Difficult as it is to admit, I didn’t have a happy childhood. I never experienced the unconditional love that most adolescents need to help shape them into the best version of themselves. There was always a void, and in my later teen years I convinced myself that being “Skinny” would solve all of my problems. I was convinced that if I were thin, everything would be easier for me, that somehow it would make my parents, and myself, love me more- the two places I where I always longed for acceptance.

It was February of my freshman year of college, when I realized I needed to see someone. I was now a size 10 instead of 18, but I wasn’t any happier; in fact, I was in the worst emotional state of my life. About a month into therapy, my therapist suggested yoga to me. She told me that it was the type of exercise that “works the soul as much as it does the body.” The gym I worked at offered several yoga classes, but only one of them ran while I wasn’t working. From the first time I unrolled my mat, something changed in me. I started looking forward to my Wednesday night yoga class the way most people look forward to their Saturday night, because for 75 minutes of my week, I felt strong- emotionally and physically, and content with myself, until those 75 minutes started to leak into the non-practicing minutes of my day and started to shape me into a new person. Yoga made me strong where I needed to be strong the most- within my own soul and being.

With the help of yoga and therapy, I was able to get a grasp on my physical insecurities and develop a healthy relationship with food, I still had a lot to deal with at home. While I’m still not ready or comfortable with discussing my home life in detail, (and I’m ok with that, all things in time!) Bluntly- I was living in an environment that regularly challenged my will to believe I could ever have a happy life. In April of last year, I was spiraling back to into the depression I had been fighting off for so many years, and the only way to defeat it was to leave the place that was the root of it- my home. I packed all of my necessities (yoga mat in toe), and moved in with two of the most amazing souls I have ever encountered. They allowed me to live with them for free until I got my feet on the ground. With no car, $350 to my name, and no way to pay for my upcoming senior year of college, I pulled every ounce of inner strength that everyone now surrounding me believed I had, and made it work.

 A year later, I’m living on my own, I bought myself a car, and found a way to pay for my senior year of college. With all of the expenses of living constantly piling up, yoga has simply just not been in my budget. While the sun salutation every morning and youtube lead yoga practice held me over, it just wasn’t the same as practicing at a studio, with a community, with an instructor who cared about you. I needed more than the physical aspect of yoga. I needed to go to class and have my instructor say something that made me get that feeling of, “How did they know that’s exactly what I needed to hear?!”

Now, thanks to Yogisheart and my friend Katherine who suggested I apply for a scholarship, I am now having those “ah-ha!” moments of clarity that only yoga has ever given me on a regular basis. I am one week into my scholarship, and my practice has already begun to deepen my respect for my body, my soul, and my existence as a human being. I know that with my scholarship from Yogisheart, I am most certainly beginning a new chapter of my life. One I am ecstatic to start writing.

 

Its been close to 6 months since I’ve been awarded a YogisHeart Scholarship and my development in yoga has grown up as I have. Meditation is still a tricky and complex skill to obtain, my efforts have shown definite improvement. I realized that with meditation patience is a virtue. I learned to go at my on pace and watch the magic unfold. Meditation has also helped me with my focus is school. Being a general science major it is easy to say that courses can be arduous. However, meditation helped to ease my mind.

In my yoga practice, I have been moving towards more advanced classes and poses as well as inversions. Hand stands and forearm stands really invite a cleansing energy within the body and to incorporate that within my practice is very exciting. I learned how to do a scorpion which is fun. Overall my time at the studio is always fun and supportive.

Love is constantly flowing and with that I am finding my yoga.

 

~Carlos Olivares