My journey to a yogic lifestyle was not initiated by some horrific event, trauma, or “bad” episode in my life. I was simply someone looking for something different, something new, and something challenging. And boy did I get it.

Before yoga, my passion had been volleyball. I was highly competitive, aggressive, and absolutely loved every minute of it. I contribute many of my more positive characteristics to that sport, but eight years down the road, I found my self satisfied and decided to end my path there.

I enjoyed my break from the constant weight lifting, running, and plyometrics that was involved, but over time I noticed a subtle void was beginning to form where volleyball had once been.

Yoga was completely foreign to me at this time. I had attended a class once before and found myself giggling hysterically during the meditation session. It was clear that my maturity level was totally unprepared for the yogic path. It was only through the wheels of fate that I the very discipline I had laughed at before, would fill that
void in my heart and ultimately change the way I saw the world.

Yoga is physical. It is mental. It is emotional. On my mat, during those many first months, my body exhilarated at each new challenge that I met. “Pushups” suddenly took on a meaning other than punishment. Soreness was welcomed after each and every practice, no matter how much my legs ached the next day. I was there, in each practice, joyfully choosing how much I wanted to push myself.

My choice!

There was no coach telling me to run. My practice was to serve me. My spirit, my heart, my strengths, and my weaknesses. My competitive streak and what I would now call a “baditude” (bad attitude) started
to fall away; irrelevant to what I had in my life and what yoga had began to teach me to see. Abundance. Endless possibilities.

I am in my early twenties. I have yet to experience some of the harshness and true roller coaster rides that age and experience offer us. I have yet to pay endless taxes, cry at a funeral, or carry my sleeping child to bed. What I do know though is that my yoga practice is here because it’s what I want to do. It fills my cup from half full
to pretty darn full.

The rest of my cup is contributed by my family, my cookie (he knows), and my adorable little spaniel, Shiva.

Ayako Gaia Flow Yoga Instructor