I've been in the fitness industry for 20 years. I started out when we wore g-strings over our spandex tight (eeek!). I was also introduced to Kripalu Yoga (www.kripalu.org) in 1989 by my mother. It was my first taste of non-western exercise. Kripalu is a wonderful yoga although it didn't satisfy my very busy 21 year old mind at the time and I soon drifted into many other forms of fitness.
At the end of 2008, I reflected on my year and I felt the desire for balance of mind and body. After dedicating so much time and effort to what my outside should look like, I felt very lopsided. Training and living in the life of figure competitions is a very disciplined lifestyle but I found it very one dimensional. I have huge respect for all of the competitors but I was missing the nuturance and the balance of my spirit. Additionally, I had lost a great deal of range of motion due to the training. All of my muscles were being trained in a contraction.
I read an article in the newspaper about a place in Shadyside called Amazing Yoga (www.amazingyoga.net). These were the yogi's the Pittsburgh Steelers. Boy, did that appeal to me. I figured if it's physical enough for the Steel Curtain, it's right up my alley. I took my first class in January and was instantly hooked from the physicality of it. As I continued my practice, I became more aware of my imbalances such as tight shoulders, tight hips, etc. It started to become a source of frustration AND a challenge. Also as an instructor, the yoga practice greatly enhanced MY classes. I became more mind-body focused.
Yesterday I took Karen Conley's class (http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A20488). Karen and her husband Sean, own Amazing Yoga. The class was intense and varied from the other classes I had taken. Her transitions were seemless, her guided meditation was powerful. For the first time in years, she took me to a place of physical and emotional surrender. I felt a release and success within myself that I had never before experienced. I felt my strength in a way in which I never had while cutting and training for a competition.
Needless to say, I'm inspired and I'm hooked. I am looking forward to what the next 20 years will unveil with the help of Amazing Yoga.