Hi friends- Happy Wednesday! Thank you so much for all the sweet messages about my last post and my aunt. Life is really hard sometimes so it’s important to remember how good it really is.
Here’s another spotlight post on a fabulous lady. Here’s my friend Ashley Dodd. She actually just moved to Baltimore from Annapolis and we randomly met at the movies. And then on top of that- she and M went to college together and actually had a class together. The world is so small- especially here in Baltimore. In addition to being a yogini and aspiring yoga teacher, Ashley also has a passion for drawing, painting, playing the piano, she’s a huge music lover (she goes to tons of concerts and I’m always jealous), a foodie, animal lover, nature lover, and she totally adores her family (especially her nephews).
1. How does yoga help you to express who you are and who you want to be?
Practicing yoga has allowed me to begin to understand not only who I am but who I want to be. When on the mat I am my truest self – strong yet vulnerable, determined yet humbled, focused yet inquisitive. Yoga has shown me that no matter my level of knowledge, I am always a student, looking to further unfold and deepen the layers of my practice both on and off the mat.
2. What important lessons have you learned about yourself through your yoga practice?
When I first starting practicing yoga it was merely a means of exercise – a way to increase balance and flexibility. Since rediscovering my practice, yoga has evolved into an entire lifestyle as opposed to a form of exercise. Aside from the obvious physical benefits brought on from my practice (increased flexibility, strength, etc.), yoga has completely transformed my life. It has brought balance to areas of my life that were previously in complete disarray; it has brought clarity to my mind, and has begun to really teach me how to live a compassionate life. It has humbled me in ways I never thought possible, shown me that my potential is limitless, and demonstrated that in moments of challenge nothing is as important as the breath. I believe that yoga is a metaphor to life, and through continual practice I can sustain my mind, body, and spirit.
3. What’s your favorite pose? Why?
Parsva Bakasana (side crow) is a pose that I wanted to figure out for so long. I would see students in intermediate and advanced classes do the pose, and could not figure out how to physically get there. I assumed it was just too challenging for me and decided to practice with the goal of being able to reach and sustain this pose. One day a friend broke the pose down for and when I went home that afternoon, it just clicked and I was able to take my body there for the first time. To me, this pose requires not only strength of the body but strength of the mind – to concentrate and sustain, and most importantly to breathe.
I am truly inspired by the little things happening in world around me. The changing of the seasons, the singing of the birds, the sound of a strangers laughter; they all remind me how beautiful life is and inspire me to continue finding joy and bliss in all things and all situations.
5. How did you get into yoga and what made you want to become a yoga teacher?
I have had an interesting yoga journey so far in life. I first began practicing in 2004 and practiced on a “somewhat” regular basis for about 5 years. I always stuck to beginner classes because I was too afraid to challenge myself or explore my edge. I practiced until late 2009 when I completely stopped – I was going through a much unexpected and incredibly challenging life change and felt the need to completely alter my life from what I knew…this included yoga. I took about 8 months off until I realized that an integral part of my life was missing, and this was my yoga practice. I slowly began to practice again and have had a consistent practice for about 3 year now. Last year is when I finally broke down my personal barrier and began to explore where I could take my practice, and how I could incorporate yoga into my life while off the mat. The desire to further deepen my practice and walk the yogic path inspired me to register for teacher training with Charm City Yoga in early 2013 (yay!). I cannot wait to experience the journey, to see where I am taken from here, and to share my love of the practice with the community.
6. How will you incorporate your yoga teaching into your career.
I am not currently a teacher but continually work to incorporate yoga into my daily life. I work in a fast paced environment at a web design firm and feel like I am always on the go. My work life is the opposite of yoga, where strength is found within stillness, silence is encouraged, and focus on the breath is required. Through yogic teachings I have managed to find greater balance in life whether I’m in my office, at home, or on the mat. Yoga has pushed me to better myself and has opened me up to people and experiences that I now cannot imagine my life without. It has also taught me that no matter what is going on, to take a step back, regain focus, and most importantly to just breathe.
I hope you liked the post!! Isn’t she pretty? Ashley is such a great friend and I’ll be sure to let you know if she starts teaching!
On a side note please check out my schedule here as some classes have changed and I am really trying to plan a yoga retreat in Nicaragua for January 2014 so if you are interested please let me know! More details to come!
And I just have to post this. Too funny.
Have a great night!