My story is very personal, but if it helps one person, I will put myself out there. I have struggled with my weight and spirituality all of my life. At one of the lowest times in my life and at my heaviest weight and with rapidly declining health, I attended a retreat to empower women. There was a yoga workshop that touched something in my soul so deeply I needed to know more. But, I was afraid at the same time. I used my weight as a crutch and an excuse not to join in. I tried yoga at a gym where everyone was physically fit (or so they were in my mind) I did not go back. I used my arthritic knee as an excuse not to go back. I had back issues and a broken toe. There was not enough time in the day. And ….. the excuses just piled up. When I woke up and realized that the life I was living was not mine, and certainly not the life I wanted to live, I decided and committed to take a weight loss journey. I promised myself that I would do yoga. I would not self-sabotage myself and whatever I needed to do, I would do it. That one encounter sparked something in me that stayed inside of me. It waited until I was ready to explore it more. The universe presenting it to me again and again. I knew that was my saving grace. When I asked myself “who am I”, I teared up because at 52years old I did not know who I was. I did know I was bitter, negative, and not always the best me I could be, short to fly off the handle and impatient. I had no direction on what by the grace and God was and I needed spiritual guidance and wisdom as much as the act of physically doing yoga. I was embarrassed to do yoga in a class because of my weight and my physical limitations. I felt uncomfortable and awkward in my form fitting practice wear. I was so judgmental of myself. I was my own worst critic. To say yoga saved my life is an understatement. I signed up for private lessons to learn the terminology and get familiar with the poses. I learned that modifications were available and necessary for me. I learned that the modification is not always easier or less beneficial than the pose itself. I learned enough to make me more comfortable to take group classes. Going from Yin and Restorative to Gentle Vinyasa Flow. Nowadays, I can do power flow and semi-heated Vinyasa Flow, along with Arial Yoga. I am not doing all the poses and that is okay. I learned I needed to do yoga teacher training to learn all I could even if I never teach a class. I needed to know all about the 8-limbed path of yoga I had been introduced to. I continued classes with my mentor. I was encouraged to, and signed up for YTT200 training. I chose to take the training with One yoga and the staff at Tula Yoga. The best decision I have made in my life. Here I learned what I had been hearing about the 8-limbed path, and it reinforced the lessons I have been given all along the way. I since have experienced yoga at many studios, hawk mountain sanctuary, and other various venues. While each teacher may be different, they live the yogi life and make me want to as well. They lead by example, such as I will. When I started yoga my child’s pose was table top. My downward facing dog was only once or twice then it was table top. There are days my practice still takes me to child’s pose and I am no longer critical of myself of that. Where I am that day in my practice is perfect. I have discovered in yoga everyone is in their own frame of mind with their own practice and not judging others of their practice. It does not matter if you are pretty or very flexible. It does not matter if you are struggling with your weight. It does not matter if you have physical ailments that may hinder your practice. What matters is that you show up, commit to “YOUR” practice, and learn that there is so much we can do to raise the vibration of ourselves, our community, and our world. My best advice for someone who struggles as I did, just try it once. If it sparks anything, try a few private sessions so you are comfortable in your head and in your skin. Then dedicate the time, show up for yourself, commit to your practice and “Enjoy the journey on the way to “YOUR” perfect pose and “YOUR” perfect self.