Why Yoga? Why Me? An Introduction

Hello! Let me introduce myself. I'm Karen. I'm a RYT-200 certified yoga instructor. How I got here might amaze you. It amazes me, as I can hardly believe I'm here writing about this. I'm not a former dancer. I'm not a gymnast. I'm not an athlete nor do I jog. I own one pair of sneakers. I am a workaholic from the fashion world. I hold a BFA in fashion design from Parsons which I earned in 1994. I've worked in the industry and I've worked for myself. I've worked really really hard. Work has always been cathartic for me. I like projects and I like to work. I like to work with my hands. I knit, crochet, and sew. I like to work with people and I like to work alone.  

whyyogaimage3.jpg

Along the way, I discovered yoga. It was probably around 1998 or '99 when I took my first yoga class here in New York City. I went with a friend, something new to do. Something to try. I was always health-conscious but gyms weren't for me. However this, this could be different. And it was. I bounced around from class to class, a studio here, a studio there, not really knowing what I was doing or being consistent for about 10 years. Yoga became my "exercise".  It worked for me in so many ways. Once I got on that mat, I was doing something for myself. I was being physical, I was moving, and I was connecting. It allowed me to slow down a busy life, a busy world. It allowed me to grieve the things I kept busy to avoid grieving. It allowed me to be me. I'm not sure if I knew all of this at the time. I just knew I liked it and that it was good for me. 

In late 2009 I had a horrible accident that gave me a serious hand injury. Long story short, I was waitressing and tripped while holding about 5 glasses in my right hand. I landed hands down on a cement floor and the glass crushed under me. It cut through the "dead man's zone" of my palm right through my artery, median nerve and flexor tendon. I had to have micro-surgery to connect the inner workings of my hand back together. I was in occupational therapy 3 days a week (plus homework) for a year. On the first day, I was asked to touch each finger of my injured hand to the thumb. I couldn't move anything. I cried.  I worked really hard in therapy super determined to get my hand back. How would I sew, knit, and crochet plus everything else I need my hand for? Did I mention I'm right handed? It was excruciating but I got through it. I couldn't do yoga though for another 3 years. I lost a lot of strength and my wrist (that damaged flexor tendon) couldn't handle the weight yet. I had a hard time opening doors even. I kept doing my hand exercises.

I learned a lot about myself during my recovery. We all know that muscles need to be used or they atrophy. But until you see that on your own self, it's another story. Even though I'm not athletic, I was always active until this accident made me stop. Through the therapy and daily exercises I learned what can be gained. It wasn't easy, it wasn't overnight but I slowly got my movement back. I slowly got strength back. When I got back on my yoga mat in 2013, I started over. Level 1. I decided that I would apply the same principles that I learned in my recovery to yoga. Yoga now became an extension of that recovery. I needed to slowly get my strength back in every part of my body. Would it be overnight? No. Would I give up? No. Am I as strong as I was before my accident. Not yet. Even now. There are poses I could do before my accident that I can't do today. Will I get there? I don't care but I will keep trying. 

I learned that yoga is a personal journey. So is my life. It's not a competition. As I slipped back into my workaholic mode trying to make up for lost time and a depleted bank account I looked to my mat for time for myself even more than for building strength. I discovered a love for restoratives and the warmth of the studio with no cell phones and constant emails. I yearned for more. Last January, two weeks after my 44th birthday, I started Yoga Teacher training at YogaWorks. While in training, things became even clearer and I never looked back. I'll expand on that in another journal entry but let me say that the true importance of yoga is self care, quieting the mind and finding your light within. 

whyyogaimage1.jpg

I love to teach, I love to share what I know. I also teach sewing, knitting, and crochet. So now it doesn't seem that crazy that I'm here. Now it feels like I'm where I need to be. I still struggle with my workaholic tendencies. I still struggle to put myself first and take time for myself and not feel selfish. I'm still a student. Always will be. 

whyyogaimage2.jpg

Join me on this journey....I'll be writing here and sharing what I know, what I discover. Let's do this together. Join a class with me if you can.  Or just connect in the comments. Either way take time for yourself. I hope to see you soon. 

xo, Karen