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I'll be posting Journal Entries here. Just thoughts about Yoga, Travel, Life, and really anything else that crosses my mind... maybe poetry, maybe stories... A place to share a bit about the area, retreats, yoga, and my life in general.  

My Journal

March 1, 2017

My Yoga


My path has been a windy one that began on the move as the child of a soldier and a Sicilian immigrant. Every few years, my life was new again (new town, new school, new people, new activities...) and so has been the case in my adulthood as well. 


Enlisting in the military myself at 17 years old, I studied Physics as part of my Electronics Career gaining valuable insights about the natural world, eventually informing my spiritual beliefs. Over the years, I worked in a pharmacy, got a business degree from University of Washington, waited tables, owned and operated an eco-friendly cleaning company and even made my way into technology startups, managing regional operations for various on-demand services. 


During these pursuits, I found myself living all over the United States and racking up Platinum Status as I traveled to all its major cities, as well as regular escapes to Europe and South America. It's just in my blood to be on the move... A serious case of Wanderlust... As you can imagine, with my external world changing so frequently, my internal world was a bit rocky as well. Then came Yoga...


I had picked up a Rodney Yee yoga video at one point and tried practicing at home. I loved how accessible yoga was (didn't need a thing in my living room) and I enjoyed moving my body in new ways, but I lacked the discipline to finish a full hour on my own. I had the video for a couple years and would throw it on occasionally, but never made it past 20 or 30 minutes on my own. 


Eventually, I was invited to Bikram Yoga by a college classmate. I was living in Seattle at the time and the thought of exercising in a heated room sounded pretty good, plus I liked yoga and was curious about it. 


Bikram is an intense practice that lasts 90 minutes and is heated to 40 °C / 104 °F with a humidity of 40%. The same 26 postures are practiced in the same way every class. I spent much of my first class laying on my mat, but I felt empowered by the practice and determined to improve. I bought a one month unlimited pass (they had a deal!) and my yoga journey began. Wanting to get the most from the pass, I went as often as I could - and the changes began. At first, it was physical - a little stronger, a little leaner, then my self esteem began increasing - first I was proud of myself for deepening the postures, then for taking care of myself in this new way. I began to notice deeper feelings of contentment and a newfound ability to breathe through life, rather than living in a state of reaction.


Over the years, my practice became more physically advanced, but in an interesting shift has occurred - as I've matured in my practice - I've also grown more self accepting and loving. The improvements I've made in life have shifted from a place of needing to prove myself to others, and instead come from a much more tender place - a space that I hold for myself in my own heart, where I can work toward being the best version of myself without judgment or shame, but simply love and acceptance. Now I practice from the heart, instead of from the mind.
  
Bikram began the passion, but my travels exposed me to different studios and lineages. I've tried so many but eventually shifted to a Hatha centric practice. After 8 years of balancing a mix of entrepreneurship and corporate life, I left my career in business to pursue my Hatha Yoga Certification at Trio Yoga in Miami, Florida. Since then, I've landed on the coast of Ecuador where I run a small hotel and yoga studio, offering fully inclusive yoga retreats. With a strong background in Vegetarian Cuisine (I'll post on this in a later blog entry), a passion for travel, Yoga and my maternal Cancerian ways - it's a dream come true to host like minded travelers looking for a place to reconnect with themselves.

Yogini Stephanie