Are You There Yoga? It’s Me, Salvador.
I never seriously thought about teaching Yoga until almost five years ago, in January 2007. A friend of mine knew that I have been practicing and studying various schools of Hatha Yoga for quite some time, and I was way into it. He never practiced or studied any form of Yoga, but he wanted to learn. He asked me to show him what I knew, and I didn’t think twice about sharing. I showed my friend pranayama ujjayi breathing, and a few asana postures and vinyasa movements. I didn’t even consider it a lesson or me a teacher. I was just showing him what I was doing. But without me knowing it at the time, I was teaching him, and that’s when I became a Yoga teacher.
The first Yoga class I took was in 1995 with a group of friends at a studio in San Francisco where I was living. My very, very first Yoga class was actually in my living room in front of the television with my mother and two older sisters when I was around ten years old. This was 1980 or so, and we were following the instruction of Lilias Folan. I remember her long braided hair, leotards, and tights, and my Yoga apparel being shorts, and a Pac Man t-shirt. We were stretching, twisting, rolling around on the carpet, breathing funny, sticking out our tongues, bugging out our eyes, laughing, and giggling. My mother and sisters were, and are, awesome! The first posture I remember doing is seated lotus, padmasana. That’s what Lilias was doing on TV, so I did it too. I was so excited that I could do it. My mother would bounce back and forth between the kitchen and the TV. She could make tortillas and do downward facing dog at the same time! God bless her! She was and is Wonder Woman fighting for our rights in her satin tights! Honestly, we had no idea what we were doing, but it was fun and funny. I would also practice the poses and movements on my own, and whenever I came across Lilias on TV, I was stuck like glue. Later, aerobics came into the mix at our household. We would do doubles: Lilias Folan’s Stretch on PBS and then my sisters would pop in the VHS tape of Jane Fonda’s Workout on the VCR. 4!, 4!, 3!, 3!, 2!, 2!, 1!, 1! Around the world and back again! Ladies, wide step! That was really fun! My older brother locked himself in the bedroom that we shared, and blasted Led Zeppelin to drive out the madness in our living room. My father would sometimes amuse himself by sitting down in a chair, and watch us trying to do the splits, hanumanasana, monkey pose, (Ouch! Those days of doing the splits are long and over for me. There is no need to torture myself anymore. More on that later.) while snacking on the fresh tortillas that my mother made that day. I remember my sister Rebecca not quite being able to get her bottom down on the floor, and her telling me to get behind her and push down on her shoulders (Not recommended.) until she was able to completely get down. Good times! I didn’t realize at the time, but we were creating a foundation of support and love that would get us through challenging times that were to come years later. Everyone in our family was doing our own individual thing, but we were together. Kind of like Yoga. You do your thing. Your Yoga. It’s not mine. It’s yours, and then we share our Yoga together.
To me, Yoga is a movement of positive energy towards self-awareness. That positive energy is unstoppable. You have to be open to receive it. With my family at my side, I opened myself to receive the teachings of Yoga in 1980. That was the beginning. From then on, my life would shift and change, as did my exploration of my Yoga. Follow me to my next post, and see what happened along the way as I explored and came into my Yoga!
Photos by Anna Rose