Story

Ela’s Yoga Adventures

My time at Passaic County Community College opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for me. My first semester at PCCC was quite a challenge but in many ways I am thankful for those challenges. Because of those challenges, yoga had come into my life. I walked into my first yoga class almost 8 years ago and I have not looked back. I have grown so much as a person through my practice and have opened myself with a lot more confidence. I see things as great opportunities and I just go for it. Why not?

My first semester at Ramapo was such a huge transition for me. I was going through some hard challenges and I lost my passion for my yoga practice, but looking back I am glad for those hard times and challenges because I believe that it was God’s/Spirit’s way of telling me that I need to delve deeper into my practice. I thank God everyday for my life and the blessings that I have been given.

This summer I had the great opportunity to immerse myself in many yoga adventures and journeys. In June my aunt and I went to the Wanderlust Festival in Vermont where I practiced with one of the greatest yoga teachers in the world; Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman, John Friend, Bryan Kest and my dear friend Seane Corn. It was such a life transforming experience that I can’t wait to do again. To be the only one at the festival who had some sort of physical challenge, among thousands upon thousands of experienced yogis and yoginis truly was amazing. Having people I have never met before come up to me and say what an inspiration I am, really means a lot to me. After class one day, a woman came up to me and told me that “You have such a beautiful practice and “you are such an inspiration” and she told me that she teaches yoga to an elderly woman who has knee problems, and she couldn’t wait to tell her about me and about my practice. Another woman came up to me and started crying telling me how beautifully I practice. I did not go to the Wanderlust Festival with the expectation or intention that I will touch or inspire people, but after meeting these people, this is what I want to inspire in others, that no matter how you practice it is beautiful, it is yours.

Not once did I feel intimidated, like “Wow, these people are doing Warrior III and I am in Child’s Pose on my knees”. I don’t judge myself and my progress. It is such an amazing feeling to be in this community of One. How I do it, I do it and I want to help others realize that no matter how you practice it is beautiful~ “You don’t have to be strong or flexible to create a work of art”~Seane Corn

I was also given the amazing opportunity to be a part of an Intensive Leadership Training at Omega Institute taught by a non-profit grassroots organization that I am a part of called “Off The Mat Into The World.” “Off The Mat Into The World” is a community based non-profit grassroots organization co-founded by Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling. Empowering individuals to be active, sustainable, empowering leaders in their community is what OTM stands for. Learning how to be a leader and getting our voices heard is among one of the biggest lessons I have taken from the training.

Having been at the Wanderlust Festival and be a part of the Intensive Leadership Training, has really excited something in me that this is what I am passionate about, this is what I am meant to. Yoga has given me so much!