Yoga Student Story: EVERYbody has a Story

My last student story was about Janelle, one of my students in my chair yoga classes, who at 95 does yoga weekly.

This month, I am sharing Christy’s story.

When I offered Christy a private yoga session at my house last December, she was hesitant; she wasn’t sure she could DO yoga. She had never been to a yoga class, she wasn’t flexible, she wasn’t in as good of shape as she wanted to be. Sound familiar?

As most of you know, my personal mission for my yoga teaching journey is to erase from people’s language “I can’t do yoga, because I’m too _____________.” I want everyone to experience the benefits of yoga and to know that yoga is accessible to everyone. I strive to create a safe, encouraging environment so everyBODY (and mind!) can access yoga. I opened that door for Christy 9 months ago, and being the brave and curious person she is, she stepped through it. Despite her self-doubt and lack of experience with yoga, she said yes!

Christy has been on a journey since December that has, in her words “brought about a full transformation – physical and mental.”  December was a time when several major changes in her life had just begun; she ended a long-term relationship, she started yoga and exercise and began working with a doctor on weight loss.

In 9 months, Christy has lost 76 pounds, committed to doing yoga at least once a week and regularly walks or does another form of movement and exercise. Christy told me when I talked to her about her journey “my persona now is beyond my weight loss. I wear different clothes, I have a different attitude, and approach decisions differently and I interact with people differently. And people interact with ME differently.”

I asked her about yoga and what her experience has been. She told me the first experience she had was during the private lesson with and she realized how out of touch she was with her body. And how little she moved every day, and how sitting at a desk all day for 18 years was “killing me”. Instead of running from the realization, she made a commitment to start moving. She came to my yoga class every week and said that once she started moving she was much more aware of her body. And where it didn’t feel great. And what made it feel great.

She continued doing yoga weekly and added other exercise while she maintained healthy eating practices. And she kept losing weight and the more she moved and ate well, the better she felt – physically and mentally. Christy appreciated the benefits of yoga physically by moving more, and as we talked this week, she shared that the mental benefits of a regular yoga practice have been transformational. She described it this way “Yoga helped me like myself again. It gave me the tools and language to have more positive self-talk and be kind to myself. To know where I am today is just fine. It has given me mental strength and made me mentally limber.”

Christy’s favorite pose is Warrior II. She shared that growing up, she was taught to host tea parties and be ladylike; she didn’t have any positive messages about being a strong, independent woman. She loves Warrior II pose because it reminds her that she is a strong, powerful woman. It reminds her of her unlimited potential and being an independent, vibrant, powerful woman is a beautiful thing.

It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of Christy’s journey. Her weight loss is apparent when you see her, but more inspiring is the positive energy that radiates from her; it’s as visually apparent as the weight loss. And the joy of knowing Christy is experiencing the deeper, inner changes she has experienced. I think I say at least once during every yoga class “Christy – look at you! You couldn’t do that 6 months ago!”

Christy closed our chat by telling me “I never, ever, imagined that I would have this habit of doing yoga once a week.” She makes time in her day now, to get up and walk and stretch and breathe deep. “Now” she says, “I can’t NOT do it.”

Namaste Christy!