Living large and ever-expanding

I’ve been so caught up in working on my Heart Chakra for the month of February that I almost forgot about two other very important dates in February! I taught my very first official yoga class on February 4th of 2020-- right before the world turned upside down and I needed my practice more than ever, it seems. I remember being very nervous, but having a lot of fun and laughing through much of that first class. My teachers were there, as were family members and friends. They made my first class easy and fun. 

The other date of importance is Thursday, February 12, 2015. It was the day I built up the courage to walk into a yoga studio and take my first class. I had decided to try yoga for 40 days as part of my Lenten journey that year, and at the time, the studio was offering a special that coincided with that timeframe. I’ll never forget. That class was all about Love (in honor of Valentine’s Day). Opening the Heart Center. Helping the circulatory system by getting that heart pumping and the blood circulating and moving. It was exhilarating, exhausting and enlightening all at once.

I knew very little about yoga before walking into Urban Yoga Chicago. Before February 12, 2015, I knew there was yoga and hot yoga. Leading up to walking through the doors of UYC and smelling the heavenly aroma of homemade Yogi Tea, I had never known how many types of yoga exist-- much less anything about Kundalini Yoga. 

What I did know was that I loved that first class. I loved the instructor. I loved the tea. I loved the community. I knew I wanted to come back and try another class. And then, another. And another!

Before coming to class, I emailed the studio first. I was really nervous about coming into a yoga studio as an abundantly-sized, physically challenged black woman. My weight had been up and down since 2010 and this was one of those times it was creeping back up. My knees, which have always been a challenge for me, are usually extra painful and stiff in the winter, and that day was no exception. I had no idea what to wear, or what to bring. Both Savitree and Jodh, the studio owners, were extremely encouraging. I had to take that first class (and many following) in a chair. They had things set up and within reach for me. All kinds of props! I still felt self-conscious, but everyone was truly very friendly and I also noticed that much of the time, our eyes were closed. A lot of yoga is about being present in the moment and concentrating on SELF. That helped me get a new perspective on being self-conscious.

Hard to believe that just 5 years after trying something so completely new and foreign to me, I took over the very class time I had been attending as a student. And here I am, another year later on my actual 6th anniversary of that first class, having survived as a teacher for a full year now-- pandemic and all! It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in a short time. How much can be learned. How much we can grow. While I may be working towards shedding and releasing weight to take pressure off my knees so I can continue this work, I also realize that the paradigm shift in my life has been about expansion-- expanding my way of thinking and expanding my consciousness. 

Are you ready to expand? Let’s do it together!

With an expanding heart center full of love,

IzzyJi

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