Here’s the story of how I got into yoga, and how I climbed out of a deep hole in my life because of this powerful healing tool.
In summary: yoga become my therapist when nothing else could do the job.
A short message for you
A simple conversation you start that puts you outside of your comfort zone could change your life, as I experienced myself.
Oh and pay attention to the signs from the universe, surely it’s trying to tell you something and help guide you towards the right decisions!
If you read on, you’ll see that many signs connected the dots for me.
It all started in Israel
I had been to Israel several times before and I felt this yearning to come back. The vibe, the energy, the sunshine, the people, the nature and the food all drew me in.
When I finally got the courage to quit my job and move here, I thought that everything would be perfect and wonderful all of the time.
Turns out that even with a few friends in the city and some family members nearby, I felt more lonely than ever. I was depressed, like I’d been a few other times in my life. I didn’t know how I managed to get myself back here again.
As anyone who moves to a new city feels, it was really hard. I barely spoke the language, I didn’t understand cultural norms, I was scared of the weekends and my free hours after work because then I had to face myself and emptiness.
I tried to find a therapist, but I lost hope after half a year or so of trying. Looking for help when you need help is not easy. It was also a taboo where I grew up, to act like things weren’t “okay” and that you’re not “well” unless you want to be labeled by some disorder or disease.
Around this time I met a guy and put my heart into this. It wasn’t good, it was never good. There were red flags from the start and he played me hard but I held on 'til the last minute. When things ended, I felt like I hit rock bottom. It wasn’t him, he was just the last straw.
I called one of my few friends in the city at the time shaking and crying, but at the time we weren’t so close and I’m not sure she knew how to support me fully and reassure me that things would be okay.
Where yoga comes in
The next morning I got up and decided that I was going to do something for myself that I’ve been putting off. I attended a yoga class by the beach that I found through a Facebook event. At this time, I was so insecure and petrified to go to events alone - even yoga. But I didn’t have anything else to lose, so I did it.
To my surprise, I was the only student at the yoga class. We had an amazing 1:1 private lesson too. She was a new teacher. I asked her many questions and how long she’d been practicing. She told me it was less than a year. I’d been practicing about three years on and off by then. I also dabbled in the thought of doing a teacher training, but this was also an insecurity of mine that I could never commit to because I didn't think I was good enough for it.
However, I left her class with a mission. I would find my new purpose, entertainment, and joy in a yoga teacher training program. Her confidence had sparked mine.
The compulsively organized person I am went straight home and created an excel sheet, naming the schools, types of programs offered, costs, etc. This kept my mind off of the guy that broke me. But, to no surprise, I couldn’t find a course in English in Tel Aviv. Like everything else I experienced in Israel, my lack of fluency in Hebrew was another blockage.
What I did find though was a studio right down the street from me: Or HaYoga. I went there and attended all sorts of different classes, every single day - sometimes more than once a day. This would be my purpose for now.
At OrHayoga, I got stronger in my body and mind, and I started experiencing intense visual meditations during classes. I connected to a deeper meaning in life that meant more to me than trying to “fit in” to a society as a new immigrant. I built confidence and stopped worrying about the small things. I felt that I was healing myself, and that this was my therapy - it was a revelation for me!
The power of synchronicity
So the yoga girl I met on the beach told me the name of her teacher trainer. I also attended a class of his, his name is Aryan and he’s from India (we’ll get back to him later though).
Now let’s fast forward to a few months later, where I was starting to make friends and one of them invited me to several moon circle events by this girl who called herself “Ashley Sunshine” - a yoga teacher and and leader in the spiritual community of Tel Aviv (and also, an English speaker).
At these moon circle events there was a sharing portion where everyone went around and expressed what was on their minds, sort of like a group therapy session - this was what I needed!
At one of the sharings, I talked about how yoga was healing me and that I still felt this urge to expand that light and grow it through a yoga teacher training program. When Ashley’s turn came, she shared that she was actually hosting her first yoga teacher training program in Tel Aviv very soon. What were the odds?!?
This should’ve been a definite YES! But, I was hesitant, despite receiving this clear sign from the universe to do it. I didn’t think I was ready, or a good enough yogi. Then I remembered how much I wanted this and so I shut up my insecurities and told Ashley I was in!
This was one of the best decisions I could’ve made in my life.
This teacher training changed me, and I had Ashley’s support to grow my practice and be confident enough to teach throughout the whole process.
There’s more synchronicity too: I started to teach a beach class exactly at the place I met the girl that one broken weekend morning that I decided to become a teacher. On top of this, I also began to teach at Or HaYoga later, the first studio I joined in Tel Aviv, thanks to Ashley’s support.
But then I experienced some injuries...
I had a clear path for the mind stuff now, but not so much my body. I was practicing too rough on my body and using it incorrectly. I had a minor shoulder injury, I was bending into my lower back, my joints were overworked, etc. etc.
I believe a lot of people tense their shoulders, have hyper extended legs and arms, don’t hold themselves correctly in postures and other misalignments that will eventually cause them injuries and inflammation - if they haven't already.
But yoga is supposed to be healing and good for the body, right?
I was determined to find an answer to why it wasn’t.
With these problems I had, I went to India for the first time. In the city of Rishikesh, I was connected to a local yoga instructor of 20+ years who was also a doctor and practiced things in his own clever way. He understood the body very well and guided me into poses correctly to learn to experience the healthy benefits yoga offers, rather than destroying my body!
He also taught me how to teach myself, how to go slower and pay attention to the steadiness and alignment of every bone in my body. At some point he sent me away, saying that he taught me enough and it was my turn off to learn through myself. So, I went back to Tel Aviv a new person, with like 10 different new yoga books and a fresh routine.
Where I am in my yoga journey now
And here I am again, several months later still eager to learn more, to go back to the holy land of yoga and dive into understanding the body deeper.
This guy, Aryan, who I mentioned above had moved back to India and opened up a studio. So I gave him a call to see what this was all about. He’s teaching Ashtanga/ Iyengar style methods that also focuses on alignment correction and injury prevention.
It was exactly what I was looking for and I knew to trust synchronicity at this point - I was quite quick to say YES!
I’m back in India now, starting the second half of my 500 hour teacher training with him. It will enable me to teach ashtanga, vinyasa, hatha, and help prevent injuries and USE YOGA TO HEAL!
(It's the first stop in my self-love, wellness journey.)
My yogi mission
I hope to provide the healing tools for others that yoga has for me. That is, the mental stuff, the body stuff, and the spiritual stuff I’ve mentioned here.