I had attended a few yoga classes over the years here and there, always attaching the definition of “exercise” to the activity. Then about three years ago a friend of mine suggested I take a few private lessons with Laraine O’Neill as someone who could show me how to fit yoga into my then very busy schedule.
Laraine was the perfect teacher at the perfect time in my life; she opened my eyes and most of all my heart to a yoga practice I had never before experienced. I instantly fell in love with yoga and soon began to seek more knowledge of both yoga and meditation like a lost soul in the desert seeks water.
Soon after Laraine encouraged me to begin regular yoga classes (the idea was not to get too attached to one teacher), and then I found Bella Prana on MacDill (previous location) just 100 steps from my home. With such a warm and genuine staff of teachers this is where I felt at home, a place I could cultivate my new- found love. I attended classes as often as I could, deepening and strengthening my love of yoga and meditation. A year or so later Bella Prana opened its new studio on Kennedy. Although I no longer can walk to class I am there as often as possible to connect with myself and “just be.” To allow this moment to be the only moment right now is so transforming.
Through yoga and meditation I have learned to accept both the pleasant and the unpleasant, to accept “what is” on and off the mat.
To become a more authentic me has meant struggle and acceptance but it has brought me to this place of love, joy and gratitude beyond words.
My desire to continue to grow and learn about the discipline of yoga and meditation has brought me to where I am today. I am excited to venture into teacher training classes in June so that someday I too can share the love, peace and gratitude that was so generously shown to me … and the circle continues.
“Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be.”
– Thich Naht Hanh