Sometimes I unroll my mat and I look down at it and I’m like “COME AT ME BRO”. Give me what you got. Show me what I need to see. Open my eyes, my heart, my soul to what I need to listen to. So often we hear what we want to hear, we see what we want to see and we close ourselves off to reality. We also end up closing ourselves off to possibilities. To chances. To new beginnings. We don’t like change. Or rather, I don’t like change. I like to know what’s ahead of me, what to expect. I like to be in control. I have yet to experience a change in my life that hasn’t ended up to be positive in some way. Either as an important lesson or a welcome shift that needed to take place. Every now and then you need to throw caution to the wind, to step blindly off the curb and trust that the universe has your back. I always trust that my mat has the answers. Whether it’s welcoming in a new idea or letting go of an old one, that time I carve out each and every day to spend on that 71”x26” piece of rubber or whatever the fuck recycled shit its made out of, is my time to get to know myself better. We put up walls, hide behind layers, bury emotions and feelings so deep that we fail to even recognize or understand them anymore and I truly feel like my yoga practice is time each day that I can dedicate to untying the knots, shedding the layers, and understanding myself just a bit better. This yogic perspective that I’ve cultivated the past few years has allowed me to shift from relying on my 60,75,90 minute yoga practice providing me with the answers I seek, to having the tools to figure them out off the mat, and in the world. That has been yoga’s greatest gift to me. There is this fantastic quote from E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View that has stuck with me ever since I read the novel in 10th grade: “Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them.” What began as a purely physical workout has evolved into a lifelong practice of finding myself, my satya, my truth, my authentic life and purpose, and leading said life as humbly and gracefully as I can. As an instructor I feel as though I need to meet people where they are. I often start with a physical challenge, some light breath work, and a quick dharma talk, maybe a quote. I keep it light and allow for people to open up to the true beauty of this practice. I’ll tell you this—it’s not a perfect chaturanga or headstand, but rather the ability to understand who you are as a human being, what your true purpose is here on Earth, and how best to share that with those around you. There comes a moment, maybe it’s a distinct moment in your practice or maybe it’s just one of those things that you look back on and suddenly realize it’s already happened, but there comes this time where you make a transition from performing physical postures to really practicing yoga. It doesn’t happen all the time, it’s not some magical thing that makes you perfect and happy at every moment, but it’s definitely a shift that occurs if you stay with the practice long enough and open your mind up to it’s potential.