Allison tell us about your yoga journey.
I came into the practice of yoga after an injury. I began a practice on my own and didn’t really realize I was doing yoga, funny enough. I started doing a series of postures to heal and release—what most would refer to as a Yin or Restorative Practice. Soon after I was asked by a friend to attend her hot vinyasa class and I decided to give it a shot. I couldn’t believe how challenging it was, and how I felt after that class. I knew I needed to go back for more. I went in with an athlete’s mentality and started to practice up to five times per week. I soon learned that I could not approach yoga in the same way I had approached sports in the past. I slowly got that message in class and had it solidified when I went into Yoga Teacher Training. I wasn’t there to push myself, I was actually there to surrender myself once and for all.
My first mentor would be my mother. She was a single-mother of six and she most certainly practiced yoga, even though she may not have realized it. She taught me how to discern, how to look deeply at myself and be responsible for my energy. I am also deeply inspired by people such as Martin Luther King Jr and Mr. Rogers. I valued their pivotal lessons and their uniqueability to communicate with anyone, all while maintaining their message, never apologizing for what they were here to do in this world. I also love and look up to Dr. Wayne Dyer and have been deeply mentored and guided by the writings of Virginia Woolf.
I wish new Yogis knew that Yoga can check off every box for their life, and that’s why they need to commit to it. It will heal you, improve your health, your mobility, your confidence, your personal relationships and so much more! THAT is why Yoga is different than all other fitness pursuits. Most fitness programs are about getting into shape, which is a wonderful goal, but in Yoga we do ay more than that. We look deep into the soul and what it needs to be fit and balanced. We also work on breathing and meditation, which are they key to releasing stress and allowing the brain—which is always working—some time to recover. If you want more than just one or two objectives to be accomplished, do Yoga. On our mats we do all the work.
My favorite pose is Warrior II. For me, this was a pose I did, but felt little connection with when I started Yoga. Other than the connection of it burning my inner thigh! Now, I settle in that pose and I feel such pride. It is there I can really acknowledge how far I’ve come and how strong I feel, both physically and mentally. I think we all have that one pose that connects us to our inner warrior. It’s a space where we don’t feel ashamed of our pride in ourselves. Sometimes celebrating our journey can be hard. We can feel like we need not share it, or offer it, as we might look arrogant. However, in Yoga we find poses where we get to bask in the life and lessons we have gathered, and for me, it’s that pose.
Well…I’m reading a lot of my own book set to be published in 2020. Editing quite a bit, and so that has really taken over my reading time. However, I always read my favorite two books come the new year, so I am really, really looking forward to be done editing and move into those words. First is To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, and second is always The World According to Garp by John Erving.
In five years, I see myself working on my second or third book, and continuing to speak on those topics, especially in my classes, workshops, speaking engagements, and my annual conference event. For me, getting the message of yoga and leadership into the stratosphere is the most fulfilling work I have ever been a part of, and that’s where I do my highest work within the community.
I feel most connected when I am dancing, doing my physical yoga practice, sitting in nature, and relishing in the love of my family. Yoga has taught me how to not hold back. So, I saturate myself in these spaces so deeply, and it recharges my soul. When we practice this, we can step into failure, and even heartbreak with a new sense of wisdom and even appreciation. For me, unleashing my connection has been the key to staying with my breath and in peace no matter my surroundings.
My main goal as a teacher is to let each student know that they are already a miracle. They are already divine. They already have that ticket, and to take great comfort in that. Once we can truly see, feel, and know that truth—which can be very hard to grasp—we are free. It’s not about perfection, it’s about connection. Once we can make a home within ourselves, we stop setting expectations of others, we stop comparing so much, and we stop believing in so many false truths we may have been taught. I try my best to offer an invitation, or a permission of sorts while on the mat. I know I needed to hear that permission from my teacher. And because I trusted her, and saw her testimony through her actions, practice, and her words, I began to really consider that invitation. It just takes one moment like this, and your entire lens can change.