When I was ten months old, I contracted viral encephalitis, swelling of the brain, from a mosquito bite. The illness left me with a significantly weaker right side and dystonia in my right side. The best way I can describe dystonia is uncontrollable muscle contortions. These 2 conditions had left me perpetually sore and stiff. At 30 it was getting difficult to walk. That was a huge wake up call for me. I had always been curious about yoga and decided to give it a shot.

I started practicing yoga with a woman on YouTube in March and found Nourishing Storm about 6 weeks later. Going to class was scary for me at first. I struggle with feeling self conscious about the difficulties many poses present to me. Everyone is always so welcoming and non judgmental. I immediately felt welcomed.

Yoga has changed my life. My right side is stronger than I ever knew it could be.

I am finding harmony with, what one woman described as, the uncontrollable energy that is perpetually coursing through the right side of my body. I quit smoking cigarettes in April. But more than anything yoga has changed the way I think.

Yoga is a journey. It’s not about what you can and can’t do. It’s not about getting to the perfect handstand. The benefits of a pose can be reaped whether you are ready for the cover of some yoga magazine or if you are struggling to maintain your own version. We are all learning and growing and changing together. I am learning to embrace my body as powerful and strong and beautiful exactly as it is at this moment. My hope is that as we practice yoga, we will push ourselves past our limits and learn how strong we truly are, and we would also take the time to be kind to ourselves. To love ourselves. To be grateful to whatever power we claim for the bodies we have been given and the amazing things they can do. And that we would tend to our spirits with the same care and diligence that we use with our bodies.