My mom brought me to my first yoga class when I was 10 or 11 years old, and I remember thinking it was slow and that it was funny and weird to spread my toes apart. I was so used to being told to point my toes in skating and in dance.
I found yoga just as I was transitioning out of ten years of competitive figure skating. As an athlete, I was familiar with rules, guidelines, and criticisms from coaches, choreographers, and Pilates instructors. Everyone had an opinion about how I moved, what I ate, how I trained, what I weighed, and what color nail polish I wore. This was a normal and happily accepted part of my life as a competitive athlete. In direct contrast, walking into a yoga studio felt freeing. As I transitioned into life as a college student, I started practicing pretty regularly at Yoga Soup. I loved that I could move any way I wanted without worrying if it was “right” or “wrong.” I could take child’s pose if I wanted…whenever I wanted.
I love the exploration of the body, movement, and self in a Yoga practice. How we move and how we live are intrinsically connected. We can choose to move mindfully; we can choose to live mindfully.
My yoga practice has been there for me in good times and in bad…For two years, I struggled with internal parasites. t had a huge impact on me physically and emotionally. My body felt foreign. I couldn’t digest food normally; I didn’t have the energy to be my regular, super-active self. Yoga thankfully kept me focused and grounded throughout the healing process. Yoga allowed me to feel like me. Dr. Eric Baumgarden at Alchemy Arts (down the street from Yoga Soup) helped me through the whole thing. I will forever be grateful for his help.
This is an eclectic list of a few songs that I’m currently loving, which I like to play as I practice and teach: “Set Me Free” by Molly Williams, “Hunger of the Pine” by Alt-J, and “A Place Like This” by Majid Jordan.”
For asana inspirations, check out these articles I wrote for MindBodyGreen Magazine: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/wc/justine-malick