Meet Emily, one of our teachers at Yoga District. Read about her discovery of yoga, plans to challenge herself, and how she will grow her practice in the coming year.
“I encourage students to take what they need and leave the rest for another day.”
Check out Emily’s current class offerings below and sign up here.
My First Yoga Class
Yoga was worth a second chance. My first class wasn’t a good fit, and I left thinking that yoga wasn’t for me. At the time, I was a social worker and I was trying to adopt a better self-care routine. The class was mostly breathwork and meditation. I was antsy and couldn’t turn off my brain. I spent the entire time thinking about how much I could be doing if I hadn’t gone to class.
A year later, I decided to try a vinyasa flow class. It was a totally different yoga style and experience. I kept falling, sliding around my mat, and needing to take breaks because of my shaking legs. I was so focused on doing the poses and keeping up that I forgot about everything else. I actually felt present for 60 minutes! It was an incredible feeling. I was sore for days after, but all I could think about was going back to class the following week! From then on, I was hooked on yoga.
Students can expect to build heat, sweat, move, and play! I like to teach classes that challenge students to find their edge, get out of their comfort zone, and forget about daily stress. I usually offer options to play with inversions, arm balances, standing balances, and core work. I also always build in a little time for students to play with whatever pose they are working on or want to try. I strive to make my classes safe places for students to explore and attempt new things free of judgement and expectation. I encourage students to take what they need and leave the rest for another day. There are always options because we all need different things depending on the day.
Inspirational Yoga Moment
Last year I attempted a Scorpion Handstand for the first time (1). In that moment, I realized that yoga is the reason I am stronger at 35 years old than I was as a teenage gymnast. As a teenager, I couldn’t hold a handstand. It was a constant struggle that left me frustrated. Twenty years later, I can not only hold a handstand but touch my toes to my head at the same time! It was an empowering revelation to discover the current version of myself came farther than my teenage self thought possible! I think my yoga journey to handstand taught me greater body awareness and patience, qualities that I lacked as a teenager!
Learning From Yoga
1. Staying Grounded: Yoga is a place where you sometimes put yourself into uncomfortable positions and learn to deal with the physical and emotional stress that brings. For example, wheel pose always provokes anxiety in me because it makes me feel so exposed and vulnerable. I have learned to observe my emotional and physical responses to anxiety and identify coping mechanisms, such as breath or reciting mantras. Now I apply these coping mechanisms when I encounter stress off my mat.
2. Patience: I often think of yoga as a long game because progress can be slow and unseen by the eye. Human nature is to get frustrated when we hit plateaus, but yoga has taught me the skill of meeting myself wherever I am on that day. I literally had to work on handstand for five years before I could hold one for more than two seconds. A younger version of myself would have gotten frustrated, but yoga taught me to trust the practice and be kind to myself.
3. Learning from imperfections: I have good days on my mat where I feel strong and energized, and I have days where I feel unbalanced, unfocused, and tired. Through yoga, I learned that it is okay to fall, stumble, and fail. Rather than beat myself up over it, I try to use these moments as learning experiences. I ask myself, “what happened and why?”
New Year’s Resolution Challenge
I plan to work on meditation. I love power flow because it keeps me busy and focused. Even as a teenager, I worked off stress by running or going to the gym. Sitting in stillness, however, has always been my edge. My mind races as soon as I get into savasana. I think about to-do lists. I create hypothetical scenarios that won’t happen. I question decisions I made years ago. I honestly think I have an easier time holding a headstand for five minutes over lying in savasana for five minutes, and I plan to challenge myself to overcome this in the new year.