Carol WratnyRYT 200

    I began my yoga journey in December of 2011. My daughter said to me, “hey Mom, I think 2012 should be a year of positive changes.” I knew what she was talking about. She saw me in a fairly unhealthy state. I was very overweight, I wasn’t sleeping well, I was stressed. These facts were not only impacting me but also the rest of my family. She had never been to yoga and neither had I so it was not only an opportunity to improve my health but also a way to share something really special with her.

    My first class was awful. It was crowded. It was SO hot. Getting into child’s pose was difficult and I couldn’t make it through the warm-up sequence without resting. In my head, I was screaming, “LET ME OUT!!”. But I made it through. In those first couple months, my goal was simply to survive the class! If I didn’t pass out or vomit, I considered it a win. By the way, those things never happened. As time moved on, of course, I progressed physically (and in other ways of course which I’ll speak to later) and I reaped the benefits that many realize: weight loss, healed my back pain, improved sleep, and reduced stress.

    I also found many positive changes in my emotional well-being. I’ve progressed in letting go of ego and judgment. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. I used to get frustrated, even angry, if I couldn’t balance on one foot. Now, I’m able to accept my practice from day to day, I’ve been able to work through a couple of injuries, learning to listen and back off…not an easy change for someone that has been historically a typical “type A”.

    Like everyone, there are things that live within me that look for reconciliation. I come to my mat to allow whatever needs to come up, to come up. I push camel to open my heart, to expose those vulnerable places to allow those things to surface – sometimes they don’t, but when they do, I’m extraordinarily grateful. I’ve released camel, found child’s pose and have melted into a sobbing mess – and as odd as it might sound, I treasure when this happens. The clarity that I receive in these moments is profound.

    Yoga is my meditation, and it has opened my eyes to being truly grateful. The movement of my body, the sweat, the slowing of my breath, provides me the vehicle I need to go internally to a place that allows for what I would consider as close to a meditative state that I’ve been able to achieve. I have been able to think about my spirituality, to send those thoughts to the universe, to talk to God.

    I have found a new passion in teaching and I am so thankful for the opportunity that Stephanie and Nikki have provided for me to be the voice in the room. Sharing the Sumits practice with others is very rewarding because I’ve made some beautiful connections with my fellow teachers and some amazing yogis.

    I couldn’t write this without mentioning one more thing. I’m not the same person I was 4 years ago and words cannot convey the joy that fact brings. I am extraordinarily grateful to my daughter Elizabeth for dragging me through the front door – Elizabeth, you saved my life.

    Cady OQuinnJamie Auten