Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Calling all Yoginis!

Christy and I practicing in our favorite space on  Madeline Island 

When did you realize that you were a true yogini?


Maybe it was the day you realized you hadn’t been in contact with your denim jeans for months. Or perhaps to your children’s dismay you found that chanting Om in the car was very therapeutic (I'm guilty). But whatever your “aha” moment was (serious or silly), I would love to hear it.  It’s National Yoga Month, I have Athleta gift cards to give away, and I love love love to hear from the yoga community.

Personally, yoga crept into my life quietly and without assumption.  What began as a few great stretches at the end of a kick boxing class over a decade ago slowly morphed into mindful movement.  Later, when I began teaching classes at our local YMCA, I invested into the understanding of how our anatomy benefits from these significant stretches.  Suddenly I was leading groups through sun salutations and receiving positive feedback from the class.  I had found something that spoke to me and to others and I was hooked.

Like many students of yoga, however, the idea that yoga was more than an exercise capable of making me feel great in my physical body was enough until a life upheaval.  I’ve written about it extensively (perhaps ad nauseum) but a cancer diagnosis was a life changing experience. I was strong and healthy when I found it, made the decision to unravel my health through western medicine and treatment, and then returned to full capacity via the practice of yoga. To state that I have a deep appreciation for my yoga practice is an understatement.  I credit it with saving me – mind and body.

I read somewhere lately that yoga (so much like life) can be as simple or complex as you want it.  I teach my students that yoga presents itself very gently as an unfolding of what the body can master. Unlike strength training, results are not always immediate. Practice and patience are critical components to understanding your yoga.  Even after I was healthy again I would start to believe that I had reached my full capacity of flexibility and strength and then voila, some part of my body would unfold a bit deeper with the assistance of my breath.

I hear this among others as well.  Understanding the power of yoga has helped countless women work through loss, anxiety, depression, and other ailments. It brings us together as a community and asks that we check our egos at the door. It gives us time to breath, reminds us to laugh when we fall, and sometimes gives us that proverbial kick in the asana.  Perhaps most importantly, tapping into our breath in our physical bodies is a constant reminder that we are all connected in this universe. So I ask all the yoginis out there, “When did you first realize that you were a true yogini?” Give us goose bumps, make us laugh, or even a head tilting hmpf…all answers are appreciated!  Lets enjoy the collective consideration that yoga makes our lives better and consequently makes us better people. 

So, when did you realize that you were a true yogi?


Here is the dealio:


One winner will be selected from the best answers to receive (insert drumroll here) $300.00 in Athleta gift cards (their new fall line is out!) and a $150 credit to be used towards a 2013 Madeline Island Yoga Retreat. 

Post your answer in the comment section of my blog (funny, creative, sincere…all entries will be considered). Consider that moment when that inspiration hit and you realized that you were happiest on your yoga mat!
1.  Post your comment and your name on this blog.

2. I need an email to notify the winner.  Either send me your email: amy@cleanspirityoga.com with a copy of your comment or you can submit your email and your name on Madeline Island Yoga Retreats Facebook page via our email sign up icontact button at the top of the Facebook page. Fair warning: you will receive retreat updates (a good thing!) 2-3 times a year. 

3. The winner will be notified via email and must acknowledge with a mailing address within 48 hours to receive the prizes.

4. Comments will be accepted from September 11-16.   The winner will be announced on this blog September 20th. 

5. The winner will receive the gift cards and gift certificate in the mail within three weeks of the winner’s announcement. There will be no substitutions or cash equivalents of the prize.  Any expenses relating to the acceptance of the prize are the responsibility of the recipient.

6. The cards will be mailed USPS. 

7. Participants must be 18 years old or older and legal residents of the United States.
Feel free to comment on your favorite entry as well.  The judges
(Including moi) will take your suggestions into consideration.

Not a rule but an awesome suggestion: share the yoga love!  Tweet, share on Facebook, and tell your yogini friends about this contest!  They will love you for it!


82 comments:

  1. My best friend from high school was visiting our family in Florida with her fiance. It was the day before Halloween. I awoke at 2:30am to high pitched screaming. I thought it was my daughter and ran in the living room. She had slept in the living room, giving up her full-size loft bed to our guests. (We don't have a guest room.) Turns out it was my friend Cindy's fiance, Grayson, screaming at the top of his lungs.
    Under my daughter's loft bed was a 25 gallon aquarium. Somehow the heater had overheated and blown a hole through the glass of the tank in the wee hours of morning. As a pilot and safety engineer for an airline, he thought the sound of of the explosion and glass breaking was a bullet, and was screaming to make whoever had the gun run away from my house.
    After finding my daughter unharmed, I realized where the sound was coming from and turned toward her bedroom. Running through the hallway on the tile floor barefoot, I found myself skidding in a pool of water (from the broken aquarium) and cutting and bruising my knee in the process.
    Once all 6 people in my house were awake and figured out what had happened, we used every towel in the house and a big comforter to mop up water and clean up glass. There were several rounds of vacuuming as well.
    Around 4am we were done cleaning and the washing machine was running. My daughters and husband were back in bed, and my guests were lounging in the living room, still shaken. My heart was also still racing a-mile-a-minute and I said, "I need to do some yoga." And there, on the living room floor with Cindy and Grayson half asleep watching me, I hatha'ed my troubles away till 5am.

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  2. I realized I was a true yogi when I felt a moment of stillness in crow pose. Perched on my upper arms, I felt it. Not in my legs, not in my face, not in my fingers pressing into my mat. I felt the inner stillness that yoga brings - the stillness that only yogis understand.

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  3. The first time that all the 'noise' went away and I was still and quiet inside for maybe the first time ever.

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  4. I am a boot camp instructor and injured my knee badly a few years ago. I started searching out other methods of exercise that would allow me to avoid further injury while strengthening my legs. I started attending yoga at the YMCA casually. After a few months I started taking more and more yoga classes every week and less boot camp and spin classes. I didn't realize just how much I had grown to love yoga and needed it in my life until one day when I had to stay late at work and had to miss my favorite yin yoga class. It literally ruined my day that I didn't get the chance to wind down while focusing on my tired body in those long poses. I also realized that I wasn't respecting the practice by being so angry about missing a class. I instead made a peaceful intention to practice a few restful poses at home that night, and not let life get in the way of the wonderful feelings yoga stirs inside me. I have decided to start studying to be a yoga instructor in the new year. It is a far cry from my boot camp roots, but I look forward to guiding others to a peaceful and calm hour of exercise that can make you every bit as strong (if not stronger!) than those who swear by more outspoken sports.

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  5. The practice of Yoga for me is a way of release and awareness of what my mind,body and soul need. It's the hour everyday to meditate and tell myself I'm worth this time. I'm a runner. Yoga has helped me with my cadence, core strength and posture. In turn makes me a better runner. I've lost 155lbs. in 15 months. I eat all organic and soy based products to help me stay fit. My body is renewed and strong and thankful. Yoga is so good and everyone can do it!

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  6. I realized when I was a true yogini when i was in the tree position i took a deep breath and knew I was meant to be....It was the feeling only a true yogini could feel

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  7. It all came together for me during my practice while I was pregnant, the community of yoga, spiritual and physicality of practice, trusting your body to know ot will and can do what of needs to do, and can sometimes surprise you
    ..... it helped to prepare me for motherhood and continues to nourish me everyday with every breath. Namaste.

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  8. I realized that I was accepted as a true yogini when I attended my daughter's "Attitude of Gratitude" yoga retreat this summer. As we began our morning practice, she said in a soft voice, in front of everyone, "I'm glad my mom is here, with me."

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  9. Sharaine G. Raine1908@yahoo.comSeptember 11, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    After being off work for a year suffering from chronic daily headaches, arthritis and fibromyalgia, I decided to take my health into my own hands. Due to my physical limitations and not having worked out for an entire year, I was cautious about doing traditional weight training and cardio classes. I wanted to look at other options. My gym offered a robust offering of yoga classes. I tried them all and fell in love with hot vinyasa and I attend classes on a regular basis. My "aha" moment came lying in bed after class one night and I felt a wonderful energy radiating throughout my body. I couldn't wait for my next class. I felt empowered for the first time in a long time and I've never looked back. My pain is not controlled by medication, but by yoga!!!

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  10. My journey into yoga began about 20 years ago as I used the practice to regain my pre-pregnanacy body. I enjoyed the physical challenges as I saw my shape and strength return. At that time, I rushed through the "breathing stuff" to get to what I thought was important- perfecting the poses. I am not sure when the transformation came for me in realizing the value of pranayama. But, I now appreciate the immediate impact of the focus on the breath. I know I can use what I have learned during my practice, at my desk, during a meeting-- anywhere. Attention to the breath quiets my mind and brings me to the present moment no matter where I am or what I am doing. I think a true yogini ultimately uses this as a path to learn to listen to and trust the voice inside of her. Pretty powerful stuff

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  11. I teach Kindergarten and I began using yoga with my behaviorally challenging students as a way to redirect their energy. I was shocked at how easy it was for them, and how positively they responded. Practicing now has a permanent place in our daily routine. I embrace emergent curriculum and my class created a book of their favorite poses, "Turtle" being the overall winner. Not only has yoga changed my life, but also that of 18-20 five year olds.

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  12. I realized I was a true yogini when we were on vacation and my children were scoping out the perfect spot for me to practice. We were at Aldrich Botanical Garden in Madison when my daughter Hannah proudly found a beautiful water garden. She thought I would love the spot because of the white and pink lotus flowers blooming atop of the lily pads. I was thinking the exact idea to myself.

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  13. For me it was when I attended the Summer Solstice in Times Square. As a New Yorker I'm usually the one watching strange things take place in the city. Yet when I was able to lie in the middle a Times Square and tune out all the people watching Me, I knew I had arrived. I'm officially a yogi!!! :-)

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  14. I think it was during the Summer Solstice in Times Square. As a New Yorker I'm usually the one watching people to do strange things. Yet when I was able to do yoga in the middle of Times Square and tune out those watching me, I knew I had arrived. I'm officially a yogi!!! :-)

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  15. I realized that yoga to me was like breathing again, not only it tones my body, makes me feel great and very confident but it's as wonderful feeling like the air I breath, the water I drink. Yoga soothes my mind and soul, gives me indefinite happiness. That's how I know.

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  16. I knew I was meant to do this when I *finally* did Bird of Paradise pose correctly instead of looking like I was doing Drunken Parakeet pose.

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  17. Yoga has been an incredible journey for me. I started practicing 4 years ago and have been learning something new everyday. I own a small yoga, pilates, and fitness studio where I specialize in working with pre and post pregnancy Mom's and their little ones. I also work with families and also with Parkinsons' Disease patients. The "aha" moment when I realized that I was a true Yogi came in the form of a very high compliment from a client. I had a member of my family yoga class tell me how much the breathing games had helped her daughter with Downs syndrome be able to learn how to take full, deep breaths and that the same daughter also enjoyed showing different yoga poses to her family. The second "aha" moment came from my Parkinsons' disease specific exercise class. In incorporate breath work and some seated asana for those participants, and I had one couple come to me and say how the husband (the one with Parkinsons) was able to have better posture, and take deep, full breaths for the first time in a long time and felt like a new person. Both of those "aha" moments brought me to tears, to see and feel first hand how Yoga has a trans formative effect on all who participate!

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  18. I realized I was a true yogini a few weeks ago when I ate something that didn't sit quite right and felt really bloated so I automatically hit the floor and starting doing poses that would help with digestion and relax me. My boyfriend walked in scratching his head as to why I was on the kitchen floor doing happy baby! Haha it took a little explaining...

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  19. I think the realization hit when I stopped worrying whether or not I actually was a "true yogi". Recently I had to take a few weeks break from running and threw myself headfirst back into yoga. 5 classes a week. That's when I knew. It's just something you do. I didn't worry about if I was a true yogi or not. I just was.

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  20. i had been practicing yoga for a while...never talked about it too much or identified /labeled myself ..i started with some videos at home that i had purchased one year and not used for another 4... years.. lol. I never stopped practicing after that and 7 years later after experimenting with various types and settings... i took a class in a new space ..was a beautiful restored barn with gorgeous windows ..a peaceful country setting, warm feel. After driving to this new place in pouring down rain and lashing winds i ran in and immediately felt in the moment and that i belonged.(that doesn't always happen you know ;) ) halfway through the class, while in a pose the instructor came over to me and warmly said: "oh my, who is this yogini with us today?" Her words rang true. In that moment i knew i was a yogini and felt it through my entire being, the entire wonderful class, and to this day.

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  21. It was when I didn't need to go to the chiropractor, felt internally calm with myself and really just felt as if it was a cleansing workout!

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  22. I knew that yoga was part of who I am during a 30 day Bikram challenge 3 years ago. Recently out of college, reticently dis-engaged and recently 20lbs heavier in body weight and soul sadness I had done a very good job of projecting a happy face and strong spirit to those around me in my every day life. To my friends and immediate family I had just hit another bump in the road and was going to be fine, after all "Sara is the strong one". I had been practicing yoga for a year or so as a way to escape. I fought very hard with myself to not let anyone see my internal pain. I didn't want anyone to know I was staying up too late, drinking more that a glass of wine too often and blaming myself for everything. The incredible community that surrounded me at Bikram and at Hatha knew something was going on. For weeks they had been telling me to leave it on the mat, and I insisted I could not. One of the instructors challenged me to 30 days of Bikram and 15 days of Hatha in one month. I accepted. On the 8th day, in locust, starring at my own reflection in the mirror and not recognizing myself, I let go. The kind of letting go that can't be controlled. Tears falling like rain, heavy breathing, complete surrender. I have never felt so free in my life. I finished the session strong, tears the whole time. After the final savasana, I stood to leave and my warm yoga teacher simply said, "That is how you leave it all on the mat". I knew that I would always be a yogini from that day. Yoga, and my yoga family, brought me back to life and has taught me that no matter what trials I face, I can always leave it on the mat.

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  23. I knew that yoga had become a part of me when I realized I couldn't just stop doing it. And it didn't matter if I got the pose right the first or at all. All I need to do is show up with my mat and an open mind.

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  24. There were many signs in my life that I had become a yogi...starting and ending each day in yoga pants, my husband would come home from work and ask me if I wore those pants all day, every day? All I could do was just smile. While I was driving my kidos around in the car I would start thinking about my posture, telling myself to pull my shoulders back and down. I remember the first time I started to think about my breathing while I was running, focusing on sending oxygen to the parts of my body that were sore, taking slow deep breaths to help open up the muscles. And last but not least has to be the appointment I went to when the nurse took my height and told me I was just over 5'5. I made her check twice, I had alway been 5'41/2 for as long as I could remember. I ask her how that could be? She asked me if I did yoga? Now a true yogi at heart! Thanks Amy!

    Jen Plante

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  25. I had spent years thinking that yoga wasnt for me. Too quiet. Too slow. Too spiritual. Not "difficult" enough. I liked the clothes and lived in them, but the practice wasn't my "thing". And then I tried a class.
    My teacher was funny. The spiritual "stuff" spoke to me. "OM" felt good. The poses felt familiar and energizing. I sweated like crazy and felt challenged, knowing that each pose as I experienced it would only prove to be deeper and more challenging with each attempt at it.
    -Jamie
    I left the class with a smile, with energy, slept great and woke up the next morning knowing I had to figure out how many classes I could make it to in a week.
    Even though I can often only make it to one class a week, I need that 1.5 hours more than anything else. I am not a good "ritual person" and am horrible at keeping a routine. But, six months in to my yoga journey (Yep! I am a total newbie!), very few mornings have passed where I havent incorporated some aspect of yoga into my waking moments. Either just through breathing exercises to get me going, or a full hour practice. Having four kids makes making time hard, but with yoga sometimes you can accomplish a lot with very little. I can call on the breathing when I need a boost, or a chill. Its been amazing.
    I'd say the moment was probably the morning after that first class, maybe it took me a little longer to realize it, but, when I think back, I should have known then!

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  26. When my friends wanted to take me to lunch for my birthday, and I declined...I wanted to go to my noon yoga class. For me to pick yoga over a free lunch was a turning point. I really thought of what I would rather do.... And it was YOGA!
    Jenny B

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  27. I've only been practicing yoga for a little over two years and I've really discovered so much about myself - physically, emotionally, spiritually. And now because of yoga, new things don't seem so "scary" or daunting to me. I've always been pretty open to trying new things and change in general but now I've added more of the "I'll never know unless I try" attitude with . That was never truer until earlier this year when I was approached by the captain of our weight lifting team for Corporate Challenge. I'm a petite person but have always challenged myself (with the help of my husband) to do exercises such as bench press, body weight exercises like pull ups, push ups, and dips. While trying out for the top female spots, I had to "max out" on bench press. The team captain was very loudly encouraging me - which is not my style. I tend to use quiet, inner talk to encourage me. When his coaching style got in the way of my concentration, I said..."I need to do something." I then found a nice quiet corner and stepped into a few supported headstands to center myself mentally and physically. That moment was when I knew happiest and most grounded when practicing yoga.

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  28. When I realized that I planned my week around "how many classes with Amy" are going to happen this week. The increase in strength, balance, flexibility and peace is palpable. When one can get to a place where they are so relaxed after an hour of intense yoga, that they nearly fall asleep during savasana, you are a yogini as well.
    Thanks Amy :)
    Teresa Jolivette

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  29. One significant Mother's Day my sisters and I treated our Mom to a yoga class. As I was lead through centering, and through Surya Namaskar, standing asanas, seated asanas and twisting asanas... I could feel my world lightening. Whatever cares I reluctantly held at age 17 gradually became possible to handle, and it was only me, my body in this beautiful hardwood and exposed brick studio moving with fifteen other beings.

    We were encouraged not to judge ourselves, not to compare ourselves, not to compete with ourselves. How strange and how freeing, I thought. And so different from running and rollerblade races.

    When we moved into savasana, and a cool, lavender and rice eye pillow was lovingly draped over my eyes, it was the final straw. I was in love with yoga. My skin began cooling, my breath slowed, my heart rate decreased and I felt alive. Not the kind of living that I felt after finishing a marathon or a particularly challenging weight lifting session. But the kind of alive that comes from just BEing.

    Last year I took my love for yoga and became a teacher of yoga. And I teach those same ideas that drew me to yoga: contentment, self study, and conscious choice lead to peace and stillness.

    This year, I opened a yoga studio in a part of the country where there are no yoga studios and m personal yoga practice became even more important. There are moments when I don't feel peace or stillness, when my mind is a jumble as I worry about finances, the number of students in each class, and keeping the studio clean and bug-free.

    And, just like when I was 17, I make my way to my mat. Through centering, and through Surya Namaskar, standing asanas, seated asanas and twisting asanas... I feel my world lightening. The cares I reluctantly hold gradually become possible, and it is only me, my body in this beautiful hardwood studio moving, being.

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  30. Replies
    1. When I didn't care what anyone else in the class was doing and I didn't let anyone else's negative thoughts bother me!

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  31. I grew up overweight and with very little self confidence. I found fitness and yoga in my forties. I knew I was a yogi the moment I stopped looking around the yoga class comparing myself to how others were practicing or how flexible and strong and lean they were, and just peacefully became present with me. It brought me to tears and still sometimes does.

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  32. I knew I was a true yogini when I began looking to my dogs not only ffor inspiration on how to get the best stretches, but also how to achieve total mindfulness. They take pleasure in the moment and that is what yoga does for me. It takes me away from past and future and forces me to truly experience the moment. No other practice and instill that sense of peace.

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  33. I'v been a novice yogini for years. I realized I was a yogini, when I caught myself holding my breath in the car when I was stressed about meeting someone. Deep breathing makes just about everything calmer and easier. Breathing is the first step.

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  34. For me, it was when I realized that spending time on *me* was beneficial to *everyone* and I then made it a priority. Thank you for the chance to win! gr8dehne at gmail dot com

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  35. i knew i was a yogi when
    my practice and intention became more about filling my soul with peace than my body with exercise

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  36. My realization was when I overheard my 7 year old daughter Grace tell her younger sister whose 5 years old, "To take a yoga breath" when she was having a meltdown. "Just breathe in and breathe out, Maya"...it made me smile inside and feel so good knowing my practice had made an impact on my girls :)

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  37. I am a middle school teacher, I am also a yogi. I realized how deep my "yogi ness" goes when before I gave my students a quiz I said to them "inhale peace and confidence, exhale anxiety." and then led them is a few deep breaths! They looked at me like I was crazy but I could feel the tension in the room dissipate. It was great.

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  38. ...I didn't hear anyone else's voice in my head. My mind was still, my heart at ease, and my spirit at peace. All my hard work rewarded with that moment. Yoga is my reset button...Namaste.

    Janiece

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  39. I knew I was a true yogini when I began to feel inspired to practice on my own. I would roll my mat out in the backyard and begin a vinyasa flow. It was an outlet for my creativity, emotions and restless mind. Thank you.
    -Emily Wilson

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  40. ...when I ceased self-doubt and surpassed apprehension about the seemingly simple crescent lunges which started as the bane of my existence in the runners' yoga series I've been practicing with. I struggle with balance, to the point that I've never learned to ride a bicycle - so when the teacher of this class shared in the first session about refraining from self-pity, about "being a yogi" as being a matter of being and doing and flowing in the moment, I knew as a human, a woman, and a social worker (professionally) that I was exactly where I needed to be. A few weeks later when I actually *did* a crescent lunge without wobbling, I knew I was a yogini - our teacher saying it after class just kinda confirmed it, which was great too :)!

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  41. When I finally let go, to feel my breathing and completely relax!

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  42. I knew I was a true Yogi when I plan my weekend schedule around my favorite Hot Yoga class (which is at 8am on Saturday). Second reason .... I have always been a runner and switched my long runs to Sunday just to attend this class.

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  43. When I was going through a most difficult time in my life, and I felt a calm and peace that I hadn't felt for so long.

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  44. I was struggling with stress-created middle back pain for months. After constantly doing the ibuprofen/heat pad routine, I was desperate to find something else.

    A co-worker suggested a class at the local health club. I remember it was snowing, because we had to bring blankets and I was concerned mine was going to get wet and gross. I managed to get inside without getting soaked, and reported to the racquetball court the class was being held in.

    60 minutes later, I left, with a feeling I hadn't had in months. NORMAL AND PAIN FREE. It was a beginner class, so the stretches were simple, but whatever combination of poses we did that night were enough to get my spine and those muscles back where they should have been.

    I was hooked.

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  45. I have been a volleyball coach for many years, and in my early years (before yoga) I wore dress pants and heels to coach in. Several months ago, I realized how far I have come when one of my girls said "coach, do you own ANYTHING other than yoga pants??"

    littlekat_1010@yahoo.com

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  46. I have always been incredibly hard on myself - I'm tall (too tall in my opinion), I constantly struggle with my weight. I have ran for years, but have battled several serious stress fractures and injuries. Every time an injury would present I would feel discouraged. Yoga was something I turned to for the physical challenge. Honestly, I hoped that by becoming a yogini I would have the body of a yogini. I would be committed for a few months, then stop for a few months; this cycle continued. Every time I returned to yoga it frustrated me to "start all over again." In December 2011 a friend of mine committed suicide. The tragedy completely turned my life upside down. I would have never seen it coming. I questioned my own life - my job, my priorities, my relationships. And for some reason, my first response was to return to yoga. And I went to a Baptiste power yoga studio. The incredible physical challenge helped me to set aside the heaviness of my heart for 60 minutes. But those first few months were incredibly difficult. Many times I cried during savasana. That pain will never go away, but over time subsided. And even after those initial months I realized yoga had been there. I could practice yoga without being perfect - I'm still too tall, I'm still overweight. But yoga has helped me to realize I can still do amazing things with my body despite that. Yoga was more than the physical. Yoga is from the heart. I don't know the exact moment since December that I realized I was a yogini. It almost doesn't matter. What matters is that I am, a yogini

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  47. I realized I was a true yogini when I started going to yoga to observe and celebrate holidays. It started with the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). I grew up going to a conservative synagogue and observing in the most traditional way. However - the Jewish holidays are all about refresh. rewnew. forgive. take a breath. start over. So now I look for a yoga class on the Jewish holidays - finding my "religion" on the mat. And yes, I do still go to synagogue, but if truth be told, I prefer the yoga studio as my house of worship...:-)

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  48. I knew I was a yogini when "Warrior" was not just a pose but a way of thinking about the way I would approach the challenges of my day....strong, eyes forward and looking for balance. Mary Woodhead

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  49. I knew when I was in some stressful traffic on the way to yoga class and began chanting "OM" behind the wheel. Then went through an entire class without a thought about anything but the sound of my breath ( :

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  50. I knew I was a true "yogini" the day I realized that it's not about the clothes, the mat or anything material...the day I felt the energy around me interact with MY energy...the day I felt my breath with gratitude. This was the day I realized I was a soul with a body and not the other way around. The day that I knew I was complete as I already was. Namaste.

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  51. I knew I was a yogini when I faced a difficult challenge in my life using the same principles as when approaching a difficult pose, using breath, patience and an open heart.

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  52. I realized I was a true "yogini" when ... As a mom of 3, It keeps my sanity. A pose a day keeps the doctor away!

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  53. When breath became more than air, when I experienced prana
    Erica

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  54. When I realized that I received yoga related presents for every gift giving occasion. People associate me with yoga and that's okay with me.

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  55. I knew I was a true yogini when I found using Lion's Breath occasionally during a half-marathon helped to relieve building tension in my body. People may have been staring at me like I was a crazy person, but I finished with my personal best time!!

    -Tara Orr

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  56. When I no longer struggled with the discomfort of the poses and was able to connect with my breath and let go.

    Heather

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  57. The moment I knew I was a yogini was actually after I had stopped doing yoga for about a year. It was just a month before I graduated from college, and I was really nervous about my life. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, where I was going to go next, and I was absolutely terrified about the thought that my life would no longer center around going to school. So one day during Thanksgiving break, I drove about three hours, crossing a state border, to take the GREs that I really didn't want to take. I hadn't studied one bit, and the test was grueling. During our break midway through, I headed to use the restroom. It doesn't surprise me now, but it did then, when my body just wanted to do a sun salutation. So there, on the carpeted floor of this office bathroom (it was clean, thank you very much), I performed a set of asanas that would help me heal and move on with my life. I consider that moment to be a low point, but also a moment of transformation. I knew my life would somehow be OK then, and that I'd have yoga to guide me through it. It's been about three years since then, and I carry that moment with me always. It serves as a reminder that the hardest moments are when I need yoga the most, and that it will always be there for me no matter what.

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  58. When I attended my first yoga class. :-)

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  59. When I realized that the best ideas and the most elusive answers come during savasana.

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  60. I came into yoga thru a friend I met in college; I was a non traditional student having come back to school later than most. Earlier that year I had contracted a virus that attacked my heart, I can still hear the ER doctor telling me "the only way you are leaving here is in the back of an ambulance; we need to get you a cardiologist". My faulty heart skipped a beat and I bawled; I cried like a baby and then said "ok, how do I fix this?" After months of healing, I was determined to stop waiting for the best time to reach for my goals and enrolled at my local University that fall.
    I began my practice by enrolling in yoga as a PE credit; oh boy did I FEEL non traditional! I was older, 5'10" and full figured; this class was chock full of 18 year old freshman. Everyday I hovered at the back edge of class, in my sweats and oversized tee...I didn't even OWN yoga pants. Never have I felt so out of place, but ever the "good student" I refused to withdraw or fail the course so I forced myself to class everyday. I 100% doubted my ability to hold any pose! But my body did not; sloowly and without much notice I became stronger, more flexible, and surprisingly CONFIDENT. Each quarter I moved up, inching closer to the dreaded mirror that started to reflect my acheivements (a full on dancer!) and not my shortcomings. I have never been an athelete; I was the 'brains' but now for the first time ever I exsisted not only in my head but in my body. People who have always understood the power of their bodies don't quite understand what I mean when I say this. It was like being born again; I could FEEL my hip, my ankle, the tiny little muscles I needed to focus on to improve my pose. An awareness of the mind, body, spirit I had heretofore never known. But still I did not feel like a true yogini.
    I finally had my "ah-ha" moment as a yogini only after I began to SHARE my love; I told everyone how many benefits I had found. Co-workers, family, old friends, new friends, anyone! I am sure I annoyed the heck out of some; but I literally could not shut up about the joy and sense of peace I had found.
    Large breasts and jiggly thighs and all I am the LAST person you could look at and think "yeah she's into yoga" but my friend, I can tell you the peace, the joy, sense of ONENESS I feel on my mat.... that cannot be contained, even by a super stregth D-cup! :-)
    Julia Perez

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  61. I realized when I was a true yogini when I tried to practice yoga at 70 miles an hour (literally). My fiance and I live full time in a motor home and travel 365 days a year. I do yoga in the motorhome and at one point I tried to get my workout in while we were actually on the road. It didn't work out as well as I would have liked (there were a lot of hills and curves) but hey, I tried. :-)

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  62. I realized I was a true yogi when I began to cultivate a yearning sensation to learn more about what yoga is and in turn share that with others through teaching. I couldn't describe it to my friends and family other than I knew it was something I was meant to experience. Unfortunately, the timing couldn't have been worse - I was two months into a new "dream" job that paid well and was everything I had thought I wanted. Quitting meant turning my back on my education, my finances, and my plans to advance in the market research industry. Despite all the unknowns, and no promise of a future in teaching, I left my high paid job and took the first step toward becoming a yogi. My life has drastically changed...for the better. The joy that encompasses my body when teaching is amazing, and my practice has led me to understand who I am and what I want from life. Being a yogi is being me to the fullest degree.

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  63. I realized I was a true yogini when I took my very first yoga class. After the teacher introduced herself, she asked the class to raise our hands if we were new to yoga practice. I, of course, nervously raised my hand. At the end of the class, I tried to run out as fast as possible, but the teacher caught me. She told me she was in utter shock that I had never practiced yoga in my life and had perfect advanced poses and form. She told me to follow my calling and I haven't stoped since.

    Heather <3

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  64. I knew I was a true yogi when about to be wheeled into the O.R. for a bilateral mastectomy, I began practicing Anuloma Viloma- alternate nostril breathing to calm my nerves. I must have looked a little crazy, but lying there it didn't matter whether I was on a gurney or my mat, I realized yoga will always be my safe haven!

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  65. I realized I was a yogini when I found my home studio. For many years I floated from studio to studio. I never felt 100 percent at home and at times I felt anxious in yoga studios. Some were huge or too clicky and others made me feel guilty if I didn't come regularly. It was a shock to walk into my studio and realize I was at home. The space and vibe were perfect. The instructors and students friendly and fun. For the first time instead of being a student, I felt like I was part of something. Yoga like many things takes time and energy. If you're going to fully get the mind and body benefit,you have to find a place that makes you truly happy.

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  66. I knew I was a true yogini when I took my first heated Power Vinyasa class. As I was slipping and sliding everyehere becsuse I was sweating so much, I thought to myself, "I love this!" I teach spinning and bodypump a lot so I am used to high enery, fast paced workouts. The energy and calmness I feel from yoga is amazing! It gives me the strength I need to teach not only my workourt classes but my kids with special needs. In the past, I thought yoga didn't do much for you, it was boring, etc...I was totally wrong! I love it so much. It has helped my posture, my back aches, and hip flexor. I am totally addicted and will never go back to thinking yoga is boring:) Anjuli

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  67. the moment of surrender

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  68. I knew I was a true yogini when I chose yoga over napping to comfort myself in the face of sadness and anxiety. I'm ever-grateful I went to my first class a year ago.

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  69. After "winning" 5 sessions of yoga at a silent auction, I was excited to see what it was all about. I am a ballroom dancer and when I took my first class it felt like coming home as there are a lot of the same principles shared by both yoga and dance. That same year I enrolled in a year long yoga study to become a teacher and what I have learned and experienced has changed my life. Coming to yoga at age 55, I now have much better self esteem, strength and a purpose. Encouraging my students who are in their middle years and beyond that they can stay active and feel good about themselves, that they can "do" yoga has been very inspiring for them and for me. Learning that I am enough, being my authentic self and finding that calmness within has given me a wonderful sense of wholeness. It is truly a gift.

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  70. I began doing yoga while in college suffering from anorexia due to years of low self-esteem and anxiety. My doctors allowed me to do it and initially I jumped at it as an opportunity to stay thin. Obviously I wasn't recovering well with conventional treatment. However it was the yoga that healed me. It empowered and inspired me. It quieted my mind but most significantly quieted the constant self-deprecating thoughts in my head. It was then I became a yogi.

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  71. I knew i was a true yogini when I returned to teaching yoga 3 days after being in the hospital for 2 weeks. I was on a plane flying home to colorado from costa rica when my appendix burst. Of coarse I did not know that's what it was then. I had my appendix removed and then it got infected. To drain the infection I had a tube run up my butt for a week. It was miserable i could only lie in one position. Which is ironic because yoga offers so many positions to the body. I could not wait to get back to my students. One of my nurses had taken my class at the gym I teach at. When she recognized me she grabbed my hand and tears began to flood her face as she thanked me for helping her get over the death of her mother through yoga. It is true you don't know what you have until its gone. I knew I was where I was meant to be when I was back teaching. I got lost in the magnificant flow of energy from my students once again. Slowly but surely I eased back into my own practice a week later.

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  72. I took a yin yoga class because it was the only yoga class not full at the local rec department. I had no idea what it was, only that the description said "hold poses longer than hatha yoga". When I went in and the instructor was talking, and she said 2-5 minutes is normal for holding a pose, I thought "this isn't what I was looking for". Man was I wrong. My body has never felt as good as it did after I took that class. I do poses in my cubicle at work now, one every hour or so, and I feel so much better than I used to (and I've even had some co-workers join me!)

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  73. I knew that I had found the true spirit of yoga within me when I found myself crying in pigeon pose and I did not care what anyone else in the room thought. I was present yet detached. I was removed from my ego and in state of complete release.

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  74. At the end of practice when I said Namaste, I would get goose bumps and could feel the good energy. :)

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  75. I went to my first yoga class when I was going through my divorce. I had been in therapy as a couple and for myself, and I was just exhausted in every sense of the word. What I thought I would get out of yoga was just another form of exercise - I was wholly unprepared and pleasantly surprised by what it brought me - as our blogger said, "it saved me." When did I realize this? It was a very strange thing. I went into class feeling pretty good. Better than most days. The end of class arrived, and there we all were, laying in shavasana. And tears just began rolling down my face. No thoughts were in my head. It was my body's way of letting go of something much deeper than my surface, day-to-day worries. That is when I knew.

    I hope you enjoy reading all these comments. What a great idea!

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  76. My true yogini moment came when I waddled into the local hospital's delivery wing with my yoga mat tucked under my arm. That small act served as a reminder of my strength and my body's innate ability to birth naturally and with confidence. Taking prenatal yoga (with an amazing instructor) was the best preparation for childbirth: armed with breathing techniques and position-shifting poses, I was able to relax and trust my body's natural instincts.

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  77. I knew I was a true yogini when I used an unopened box of dryer sheets as a yoga block. As a runner and mother of two, I need the flexibility and keep-it-together-ness that yoga can bring. I'll do whatever it takes to get what I need out of every pose!

    Aubree Lowe

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  78. As a toddler in the early 80's I would watch Lilias Yoga on PBS, and my little toddler body would do its best to mimic what i saw on the screen. Then as a young child my mother bought me a children's yoga book (she herself did not practice), and I would flip through the pages delighted with the illustrations of kids in the different asanas mimicking the lion, crow, crane, and other animals. As I grew up, I practiced some asanas at times, but did not even relate them necessarily to being yoga. It was not until the turn of the century, when the yoga craze started booming, that I took my first instructed class. Then in my mid 20's I found my self traveling to India after a series of misfortunate (or perhaps truly fortunate) events. It was there that I began to realize all that yoga truly is. Being a yogini is more than practicing the physical asanas, breathing exercises, and mediation. Being a yogini is a state of mind and a way of being. It is continuously working towards purifying ones-self, pushing beyond perceived limits, and establishing a direct connection with the divinity of all that is. Being a yogini is a state I have always been developing, only one day I realized there was a name for it.

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  79. I always knew that I would love yoga but I was overweight and hadn't exercised in years and was scared to try. I finally got over the fear and signed up for my first class and fell in love. The challenge of finding balance and breath even while pushing myself to my physical and mental limits is what I love about yoga. I love how it makes me feel strong and I love constantly amazing myself at what I can do. I knew I was a yogini when I started adding the step of researching local yoga studios whenever I planned a trip. It's fun and refreshing to practice with new teachers (though I do love my home studio) and it makes sure I stay sane and grounded during any trip.

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Thanks for your comments!