Yoga Begins

Atha yoganushasanam
Now the practice of yoga begins.
Yoga Sutra 1.1

Yoga begins when you hit a wall in your life and you just can’t go on the way you’ve been going. When you know in your heart that something is missing. Yoga begins when you stop cold turkey all of the bad habits that have been keeping you down, clouding your mind. Yoga begins when you make the practice of yoga your number one priority because you are not happy and yoga is the only thing that makes you happy.

I took my first yoga class 27 years ago and have practiced regularly off and on in various styles ever since. But my practice did not really take off until I walked into a Dharma yoga class in March 2011. Dharma yoga is the yoga of Sri Dharma Mittra, a realized living master who has been teaching classical hatha raja yoga in New York City for over 50 years. That first class was like coming home. I was immediately drawn to the spiritual dimension, the call to close your eyes and look at the space between your eyebrows, the invitation to be receptive to the grace of God, the idea that a little part of God dwells in the right chamber of your heart. The mantras, the mudras, the color breathing, the 350,000 nadis, the pranayama, the Kirtan, I loved all of it.

Another two years pass. It’s January 2013. My desire for liberation becomes so strong that I quit drinking and smoking. I brush my teeth at night. I write in a journal every morning and I create a yoga playlist so that I can practice yoga at home. I meet my soulmate. I quit my job.

I saw Dharma Mittra for the first time when he came to DC in the spring of 2014. So many of my questions were answered even though I didn’t ask them out loud. When I left the Convention Center that day, my senses of perception were on fire, greens were more green, music sounded better. Something strange was happening to me.

It happened again in September 2014 when I stopped in New York on my way to Maine to take a psychic development class with Dharma. After I left the Center I put on my usual road trip play list, but my ears did not want to hear rock. They opted for classical music instead, wanting to tune into the frequency of the fall New England beauty around me.

That’s when the real integration of my spring intensive Yoga District teacher training began. I started incorporating the wild psychic development techniques into my daily pranayama/meditation practice and things just start moving. I put the little black Life of a Yogi (LOAY) post card on the table where I journal and work as a constant reminder that this is what I want. On top of my studies of the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras I found myself Googling a Dharma video or interview a day. I have questions, lots of questions. And then Dharma pops up on my social media at just the right time to answer something I’m reflecting on.

Fast forward to January 2016. I am now a dedicated student of Dharma Mittra and will graduate inshallah from the 500-hour LOAY teacher training at the Dharma Yoga Center in May 2016. I am also a 47 year-old single mom of three kids. Now Yoga Begins is my blog about my spiritual journey. I share it with you in the hope that it might help you on your own path.