I grew up in the inner city of Rochester, New York with only my mom from the time I was eight years old when my Mother left my abusive Father. I experienced the challenge of figuring out how to deal with my emotions without a male role model- as my dad has been in prison for seventeen years of my life. It was very hard to find inner peace and I did not have access to the mental tools needed to cultivate inner peace. My environment did not encourage me to be kind, compassionate, or loving to others or myself. My brothers, cousins and friends were into the “street life” and gangs, which made it extremely difficult for me to tap into my true peaceful, kind, and vulnerable self. I had never been comfortable expressing my feelings or really knew how. I had been trained by my surroundings that it was not normal to have compassion, patience, or sympathy for myself – let alone for others. I found myself at a time in life where I felt so far away from my true self and I felt trapped in a life of being desensitized to my own emotions and other people’s feelings. I knew deep down inside that that way of life was not the path for me, however, I was not aware of how to safely heal my heart and my mind from the trauma I went through as a child in a single parent home.
My Saving Grace
I then traveled to the Dominican Republic, far away from my environment, where I was blessed to find yoga. I believe yoga saved my life. Yoga allowed me to deal with the stories in my mind, in a safe way, and it allowed me to feel and to heal. Yoga showed me how to find my inner peace, and how to be vulnerable, compassionate, kind and loving. Knowing what I know now, I felt like my friends and family were robbed of this amazing life changing practice. I decided to change my life and become a “yogi”. I was, and I still am, in awe of the effects the practice has on me. I was transforming and I could feel it.
After two years of practicing five to six times a week, I decided to become a yoga teacher. I knew I had to share this beautiful gift. As a yoga instructor, I now feel drawn to others who have also struggled, who weren’t taught emotional skills or who have felt trapped by a circumstance in their life. As the Director of Outreach at Bella Prana, I am dedicated to helping make yoga available to every person and spread this life changing practice – one person at a time.
By Jirod Webb, Director of Outreach at Bella Prana Yoga & Meditation in Tampa Florida.