Hi there! I hope you are staying safe and well during this time. For the time being, I am offering Gentle Yoga class every Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on Zoom. In lieu of paying me, I ask (if you are able) to donate to a charity or organization that could use monetary support at this time. Above is the class I led last Sunday. If interested, shoot me an email (email@example.com) and I’ll share the link with you! Also, make sure to support your local yoga studios, I know my favorites are offering virtual yoga classes via Zoom!
“So, what made you interested in all this at such a young age?”
One of my classmates was intrigued that I was attending a workshop entitled “Transform Your Energy, Change Your Life” at Kripalu, a center for yoga and wellness.
It’s a question I’ve asked myself as well, noticing that I’m often times the youngest person whether I’m in yoga teacher trainings, reiki courses or other wellness related workshops.
I began to share my story.
I’m fortunate to have discovered yoga while I was in high school. I remember a couple of close friends and I planned to go to a class together at our local gym— plus we heard the instructor was cute. What was originally a mini social event turned into something much more. Yoga seemed to alleviate my monkey mind and the pressure I had put on myself to “do it all”. It was junior year of high school and I was in the midst of over extending myself with AP classes, playing travel soccer year round, and keeping up socially with my friends. At about this time I was also diagnosed with ITP, or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. I’m fortunate that ITP allows me to live my life quite normally, but the one symptom that never leaves is fatigue. Yoga was a source of movement that didn’t completely deplete me, but instead nourished and energized me.
Since my first yoga class, I kept following the “spiritual breadcrumbs” as Pam Grossman likes to say. I can’t really pinpoint when this happened, but after a couple of years of practicing yoga I realized it was not only a physical practice for me, but a spiritual experience as well. Throughout college and onwards I explored different types of yoga classes, a yoga teacher training, reiki classes, a meditation course, and various other workshops and trainings. I notice I do tend to be on the younger side of these classes, but it’s never something that made me feel alienated or uncomfortable.
After all, what attracts people to these types of trainings has nothing to do with age, but everything to do with curiosity, a search for something “bigger than ourselves”, and a desire for community. Furthermore, these trainings are filled with storytelling, which relates people regardless of age and background. Hearing people speak their truth breaks down separateness and differences.
My question is, what is the “correct” age to do all this? My answer: there isn’t. As a lifelong learner, I see these courses I take as “college for adult life”. What all these courses have in common are that they offer ways to alleviate stress and add lightness to everyday life. I tell my peers about the courses I take, and the interest is there. One obstacle for people in their early 20s may be cost, as these courses have ranged anywhere from $250 – $2,400. It’s easier for people to have this kind of disposable income when they are more developed in their careers and have paid off student debt.
As time goes on I believe these trainings will have more representation from younger age groups. Yoga and mediation are being exposed to kids in elementary school these days, and I think exposure has a lot to do it with it. Yoga classes were offered at my local gym while I was in high school. I know that wasn’t the case for my parents. I believe it’s generational.
I’ll continue to explore my spiritual curiosity because I know my presence and participation enhances the experience (that can be said about anyone, no matter the age or background!) for all.
I created a 25 minute video that touches on how to modify your yoga practice if you want to bring extra care and attention to your knees, hips, and ankles. I believe yoga is a sustainable and accessible practice for everyone, and concerns about certain body parts shouldn’t prevent you from getting to your mat! My ACL surgery on my right knee is actually what catalyzed love for yoga, but that’s for a different time. Grab a blanket or towel some books or blocks, and get ready to pay some extra attention to these hardworking joints!
Yoga and running certainly complement one another! Since I’ve started running (I’m training for a 18 mile race in October!) I’ve been more intentional about structuring my yoga practice so it can support my running game. These poses help to stretch out sore leg muscles, release tension in the hips, and strengthen the lower back. This would especially be nice as a cool down post run or on off days.
This past week I completed my Reiki Level 1 course at The Reiki School in Philadelphia. For the past 12 weeks I made heartfelt connections with my classmates, I have developed more of a loving relationship with myself, and now have another self-care tool in my wellness tool-belt. However, Reiki is relatively new and is not as well known as other self-care practices such as yoga or meditation. So, what exactly is reiki?
A quick google search could give you the answer, but I though I would offer my own definition, what reiki means to me. For me, reiki is a form of meditation. Reiki is administered through touch. I start by resting my hands on my head and then make my way down to my legs, stopping for a couple of minutes at each body part. I place extra intentions when I am at the parts of the body which correspond with chakras . Sometimes I’d have physical releases- headaches would subside during a self-reiki treatment, or emotional releases- thoughts arising that despite uncertainty and life transitions ahead of me “everything will be okay”, but most of the time reiki was a time for me to relax. Relaxing is revolutionary in our day of age. When there’s always a screen to consume or money to be made, doing nothing can be very challenging. I admit that some mornings I didn’t want to practice reiki, I thought, “I should get my day started instead,” but by prioritizing reiki I prioritized being instead of doing.
In addition to developing a reiki self practice, I also got to practice reiki on others. Towards the end of our training we had clinics, in which we practiced on clients for 60 minutes. I won’t go into too much detail for the sake of privacy of the clients I saw, but all of the clients I saw were visibly more relaxed after the reiki session, and they told me so to boot! At the very least the clients were able to be in a space where nothing was expected from them, where they could be in a space of non-doing.
I am looking forward to doing reiki level training 2 so I am qualified to have regular clients (after completing reiki level 1 it’s recommended to only practice on friends and family) and volunteer at hospitals that offer reiki services.
Comment below if you have any questions are would like to share what reiki means to you!
When I socialized my decision to attend a coding bootcamp, colleagues, friends and family alike asked me, “So, what’s the similarity between yoga and tech?” To the external world these were two evident interests of mine, however, personally, I couldn’t articulate what those similarities were. So I began asking myself, what are the similarities between wellness and tech? Over the past few months as I have been maintaining a coding, yoga, meditation and reiki practice, I have come to find some common threads amongst these seemingly different topics.
Let Curiosity Lead the Way
Often times I find myself following my curiosity, not trying to force anything out of a given interest. For example, while I was going through my yoga teacher training, I didn’t put the pressure on myself to become a yoga teacher. Instead, my yoga teacher training served as a catalyst of exploration into other wellness practices which were exposed to me during the training, such as mediation, reiki, and journaling. If I had been fixated on becoming a yoga teacher, I may have been all consumed and not given space to deeply explore related and complementary interests.
Similarly, I often get asked what my plans are after Flatiron’s coding bootcamp.I am keeping an open mind. Right now, I am fixated on learning the art of code, building projects, and having fun with being a beginner. I am keeping myself open as to what can come along the way.
Every morning before I leave my apartment, I meditate for 15 minutes. This has been a daily routine of mine for a year and a half, and honestly, I meet resistance most days. “I’m too tired”, “My mind is too scattered”, or “I have to get going, I don’t have time”. I feed myself excuses, yet I still sit in order to show up for myself. Daily practice is so important because the benefits of meditation cumulate after many sessions.
Similarly, with coding, on days I don’t feel sharp it’s easy to try and procrastinate and think, “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow when I feel better.” But the truth is, we can’t control the ebbs and flows of how we feel, we have to work towards our goals even when we aren’t feeling our best. One day I was lamenting to my friend Mary about how I didn’t complete all of the coding lessons I had set out to do that day. In response, she quoted Morgan Harper Nichols, “If today was one of those days, that’s okay. Whether you accomplished everything or not, you are well on your way.” I go back to his quote when I come up short on my learning goals, or if I had a scattered meditation session, to remind myself that I did make progress.
They Depend on One Another
Why wellness needs tech…
For yoga, specifically, I’ve thought of several projects to build that would make my life as a yoga teacher easier. For example, a web application that has all of my yoga class plans which I can refer back to for inspiration. Because currently, all of my class plans are in various journals stacked in my closet which is very inefficient and takes me 15 minutes to find a specific class plan, if I’m lucky.
Why tech needs wellness…
In tech the term ‘burnout’ pops up a lot. I believe wellness practices offsets stress, and improves the overall quality of one’s life. My personal wellness practices ‘fills my cup’ and allows me to show up in the world to be my best self. In the context of Flatiron’s full-time bootcamp, I’ve had to prioritize my wellness practice in order to handle the load of the program.
In all, I don’t think I’ll ever have a concise answer to “What are the similarities between wellness and tech?” , because the answer will continue to evolve as I move through my coding and wellness journeys. I’m looking forward to asking myself this question in a few months or in a few years, to see how my answers have changed.
Let me know your thoughts on the overlap of wellness and tech, I would love to hear from you!
My morning meditation practice is my morning coffee. Yes I need to have my caffeine fix as well, but if I had to choose between the two meditation would have to win! I find that if I can start off the day in a calm and centered way, I can find trails and bits of the same relaxed state throughout the rest of my day. However, some days finding the discipline and will to sit still can be tough. In order to relax the body and prepare my mind for meditation, sometimes I do a mini yoga flow! Below is a 10 minute yoga flow and 10 minute meditation.
“The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. Breathe before it’s gone.
Sorrow prepares you for joy.
It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”
Ah, hip openers. They’re grounding, sweet, infinite but also uncomfortable and jarring. We come up against unexamined parts of ourselves. Often times in my classes I queue that we store unsaid words or unexpressed emotions in our hips. Where did I get this from? I truly believe that we hold memories and experiences in our bodies. Hip openers may bring up feelings of grief. The grief doesn’t have to be linked to its source, but after a yoga class or a personal practice if grief comes up move through it. Journal about it. Talk to a friend. Often times after the grief passes through, a raw and peaceful feeling may arrive, similar to the dessert of a good cry.
I made this video for my friend Alison, but wanted to share it with you all as well! Enjoy this sweet 30 minute hip opener sequence, perfect for decompressing after a long day.
Let the gifts you have to offer the world lift you from the weight of persistent self-criticism.
It’s tough to admit but I would never talk to another being the way I speak to myself. It seemed to help me academically and professionally (or so I thought), always doing more because my ego was never pleased. Although when it comes to teaching yoga, it releases this manic, negative, weasel of a monster.
As a yoga student I have deemed myself as quite the yoga teacher critique. I have taken so many classes that I have learned what I should be listening for. So as a beginner yoga teacher, I am aware of the gap between my current abilities and what my aspirations are.
In classes I stutter, have moments when I am at a loss for words, and am so frozen in fear I am unable to move around the room. I have mounts of anxiety in the leading hours before class, then during class, I am sabotaged by my mind’s critiques: “You didn’t say those queues correctly- that made no sense,” or “That student looks very unhappy, she must not like your style of teaching.” What’s the point of teaching if I am suffering so much?
I circle back on my intention of teaching. Yoga has been my guiding light and constant through my ever changing life. Yoga builds both emotional and physical strength, cultivates an inner knowing, and leaves me feeling centered. In short, yoga allows me to enjoy life more. I teach so I can gift the benefits of yoga to others, so they can find the peace it offers.
I’m looking forward to teaching a weekly class (Monday’s at noon!) at Wake Up Yoga Fairmount, and to share the light of yoga. I’m sure my negative self talk will persist, even if I know my thoughts are not true. However, knowing I can offer a relaxed, nourishing, and revitalizing space for yogis and yoginis for an hour during their day makes it all worth it.
I grew up listening to an eclectic range of music including smooth jazz, Bruce Springsteen, The Carpenters, and Alanis Morissette. Music always played in my childhood home. Bragging rights were often rewarded to whoever could answer the question “Who knows who sings this song?” first. The music flowed from being the topic of conversation to background music as my family of 7 would converse over the dinner table.
The constant of music has circulated into my adult life and influences the production of both yoga classes I teach and my personal yoga practice.
I hope you enjoy this playlist that reflects my personal style. I carefully selected songs— listen to the expressive lyrics, soulful melodies, and sweet sounds as you move through a yoga practice, house chore, or daily commute ride.