“I started doing yoga about twenty years ago using VHS tapes at home and occasionally picking up a class here or there at the gym. But, I wasn’t a serious student. I suppose I wasn’t ready to commit to it. At that time I considered Yoga an option and not a way of life. Now, Yoga is my way of life. Yoga sustains and nourishes me. It gives me a place to process my emotions and steady myself for life. Yoga never ceases to amaze me. My Yoga practice always teaches me something about myself that I can take off the mat.

While recovering from a serious illness in January of this year, I started taking classes at Hummingbird Yoga. I attended classes at the studio three to five times a week. Mostly I was doing it to keep myself busy and take my mind off being sick. When I was doing Yoga, I didn’t notice all the chaos that was happening in my body. For that hour, I didn’t feel sick. In making that commitment to Yoga and myself, I found relief from pain and peace of mind. Yoga grounded me. Hummingbird Yoga provided me a safe place to work through my emotions while challenging and nurturing my body. Yoga is teaching me to accept my body as it is and love it in spite of its limitations.

Although I’ve been doing Yoga for twenty years with video tapes, I never actually had a real live Yoga teacher. I did the poses the best I could, but I lacked refinement and proper alignment while executing the poses. I noticed my Yoga practice go to new levels when I started taking classes with Heidi Farber, the owner of Hummingbird Yoga. Heidi not only challenges me physically, but always provides me with the tools to live my Yoga instead of just “doing” Yoga.  She not only checks my alignment, gives me tips about how to settle deeper into a pose and reminds me to breathe deep when I am feeling challenged. She educates her students about how to live Yoga on and off the mat. By taking classes with Heidi, I know now I need the support and guidance of a trusted mentor to stay focused and hold my composure. Yoga is teaching me that I can’t do everything on my own.

On my work days, I usually go to Yoga class at night. As I’ve been recovering from an illness, I get tired easily. Often by the end of day I am drained. My first instinct is to try and talk myself out of Yoga. Eating Sushi on the sofa often sounds more appealing that being on the mat for an hour. But, nine times out of ten I got to yoga class anyway. I sometimes sweat my way through the poses or struggle my way in and out of poses if I am really sore or stiff that day. Then as I lay in Savasana, the Corpse Pose, the final resting pose at the end of Yoga class, I magically feel all my aches and pains are gone. Instead of being tired, I am refreshed. When class is over my mind is calm, my body is relaxed and my spirit is settled.  Through Yoga, I know to ignore my mind and listen to my body. My body knows what it needs. My mind is stupid. The Monkey Mind, what Yogi’s call the mind, that won’t shut up for five minutes, will get you every time if you let it. If there are days I am truly exhausted and physically not in a Yoga zone, I will not go to class. But, if it is only my mind holding me back, I go to class. I know now I control my mind; my mind doesn’t control me. Yoga is teaching me to listen to my body.

In recent months, I felt a shift in the strength of my body. I am able to practice Vigorous Vinyasa with sustained stamina. I now can hold Balance poses with poise and focus. My arms can Chatarunga to Up Dog with minimal resistance. Hell, I can even do Yoga Pushups now! And, I can find peace in my mind while in a Twisted Prayer High Lunge Pose even though my body is shaking and feels like it’s ready to break.  I’ve learned to slow down my thoughts as I challenge my body. Yoga is teaching me I am stronger than I think.

As I go deeper into my Yoga practice, I am amazed by the many gifts that have unfolded along the way. Not only has Yoga changed my body, but it gave my soul back its spark. My inner light is now shining brightly once again. My Yoga practice and my relationship with Hummingbird Yoga nurtured me back to physical, emotional and spiritual health. Yoga is teaching me to tap into my inner strength and use it to sustain myself on and off the mat. Yoga is a way of life for me and I plan to begin taking classes to get certified to teach yoga one day. With deep gratitude, I say thank you to Hummingbird Yoga and Heidi Farber for providing me a safe haven and guidance along my journey and helping to bring out the best of me.”

-Linda Long