I can’t quite remember how I started doing yoga. I think someone suggested it. Anyway when I started I knew instantly that it was something I wanted to do forever. I didn’t throw myself headlong into my practice. Surrendering is key in a successful yoga practice and that word wasn’t in my vocabulary. The joy of discovering something new never, ever gets old. In this YoC feature I thought it would be interesting to hear from someone who was new to yoga. Meet Rachelle Smith. I know you’ll be inspired!!!
When did yoga enter your life?
Yoga entered my life on a more consistent basis in April of this year. Yes, I’ve been practicing for seven months. I had wanted to try yoga before and never got into it. Using a tape wasn’t the best way for me to go. I did a search and found a yoga studio close by and fell in love after the very first class! I took four classes the end of March and jumped right into a challenge to go to the studio four times a week in April. Somehow my schedule allowed it. I am a total newbie and loving it. There is so much to learn and so many places to go with practice.
What do you love most about yoga?
I love how consistent yet flexible it is. I took an Ashtanga Mysore class and was hooked, after months of being afraid to try it. Ashtanga has set sequences to practice. Though the asana and order are the same, You change. The pose is the same but is your body? Your state of mind? Not likely. That’s what keeps practice fresh. There is always room to grow, explore and realize. Comfort comes from being able to go to the same poses or space and the fun, growth and learning comes from your body and minds relation to it all.
Who were/are your yoga inspirations?
My biggest yoga inspiration by far is Jennifer Pastiloff. She’s a writer, yogi, traveler, and a connector of people. Basically, I want to be like her when I am more fully realized in my life. (Not when I grow up because I only plan to grow up so much) I completely respect and admire her openness and how she has a way of welcoming you on her journey while you learn about your own at the same time. She’s so human. What more could you want? I also enjoy videos from Kino Macgregor. She has a talent for being concise yet detailed. David Garrigues has a way of explaining things that make me say “Oooh!” because I find it enlightening and beautiful.
How is yoga a part of your life? As I mentioned before I love the consistency it brings to my life. My life lacks that at the moment. Also, yoga literally clears my mind. At times I can feel heaviness inside my head, like clouds being sat on by sulking angels. I can actually think better, have more energy and understand things more clearly. As cliché as that sounds it’s true. My mind and body are beginning to be my friends. I am finding my happy place with my writing again.
Is yoga physical for you? Or spiritual? Or both?
Both! Yoga allows for the body to be broken down so the spirit can come out. So that the bonds of the physical world can be broken, the toughness softened, so we can see beyond what is right in front of us. As I like to say, asana crumples you like paper but in the end you feel smooth.
Has any part of your life changed since you started doing yoga?
I have noticed I am beginning to grow more self-aware. Physically, I am starting to become offered more specific adjustments, understanding them, and asking for assistance for something I notice myself. I am also becoming spiritually more aware of my feelings and life’s path. Instead of feeling “good”, “bad”, or “confused”. I’m beginning to feel more specifically. I may feel claustrophobic. What is smothering me in life? Or the tingling feeling of caterpillars turning into butterflies inside of my chest that lets me know I am on the right track. I should keep doing what I am doing. Overall, yoga is helping me find my truth. My true self, and my true purpose on this earth.
Rachelle Smith Stokes aka Writer Yogi is just that. A writer of poetry, inspiration and lessons learned on her yogic journey. She lives with her husband in Dayton, Ohio but hopes to one day share her passion for writing and yoga with other states and time zones. Her goal is to inspire and be inspired through her passions and connecting with others. You can connect with her: