This is My Body

When I arrive at the top of my mat I am granted a moment of self-reflection. It is here that I can quiet the outside world and begin to focus on what I am bringing to my practice–my body, my breath, and my mind just as they are. It is also here that one can begin to tailspin into a thought process of attaching to whatever comes up and the chances of that can continue until the very end:

I’m so stiff. This will be tough. Why am I so tired? I shouldn’t have eaten so much last night. I can’t do this….but I know I can do this! Why is this so hard?? I should be able to do this. Am I doing this right? This is so frustrating. What is wrong with me?? It’s because I’m too fat. I’m too weak. I’m too tight. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. What am I doing here? I’m not good enough for this. Why am I even trying? I look ridiculous. I should just give up….

Initially these thought patterns come up without us even noticing them. When that happens our behaviors and reactions to them will show us where our mindset is and then we have to work backwards to figure it out: We quit before even trying. We make excuses for ourselves. We resist the things that seem too hard, too difficult, too challenging. We give up before anyone notices that we have failed. We make jokes at our own expense.

If we want to change anything about the life we have created thus far, we have to draw these self- sabotaging patterns up and out of the dark. For many of us, this is why we practice yoga.

There will be a method of yoga asana that sparks something within you and the result will be a desire to seek out your truth. It will force you to see yourself so clearly that your choice becomes whether to keep going and dig deeper, stay exactly the same, or walk away. It will mirror your choices and the patterns you repeat and it will give you a chance to practice a different way of being, of seeing, of living.

What do you do when you feel challenged? What do you do when you feel threatened or afraid? Do you compare yourself to others to determine your value? How do you respond when you feel insecure or believe you are not enough? What do you do when you don’t believe in yourself?

I encourage you to listen every time you tell yourself “I can’t.” Hear yourself every time you say “but it’s hard.” Hear yourself when you settle for bare minimum or make excuses for why you do what you do and why you are where you are. When you do, I encourage you to explore where that thought process is coming from and shine a light. Bring it to the surface so you can recognize it for what it is: a thought process that does not serve your journey for growth.

Then take that next moment to pause and slow down your breaths as you continue your practice. Make each breath more intentional and make them deeper to still your mind as you move. Feel what comes up in your heart and with that pure light of awareness, shift your attention to the thoughts that can serve you: This is my body. This is my practice. This is where I am today and I am doing my best.

Merry Christmas from V!

Happiest of holidays to all from #healthylivingbyv 🎄🎁✨🤗

Stay tuned into the new year as lots of new and exciting ways to join me will be coming soon!!! 💕

#yoga #yogaphilosophy #yogateachers #210yoga #ayurveda #pranayama #meditation #ryt200TT #ryt200 #eryt200 #yacep #ryt500 #inthebliss

Healing from Diet Culture

As I continue to work on living my best life into my forties, I must face the debilitating beliefs that plagued my childhood, teen years, and younger adulthood. I am grateful for ever coming across The Four Agreements more than 10 years ago to help me start to reset my way of thinking. I realize now that this was a necessary step for me to even begin this journey, but it has been incredibly challenging to undo the thought process of diet culture and it still is.

This undertaking feels massive as the weight-loss industry makes billions over billions of dollars on our own belief that we are all not good enough as we are. Thankfully, we have advocates like Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch who paved the way to change this way of thinking by gifting us with the principles and practice of intuitive eating.

This issue cannot be addressed in one post. It is not enough to cover this topic with one voice. It is worth the effort to call bullshit on this industry and this societal mindset with as many advocates and resources as we possibly can.

Please join me on this journey to heal ourselves from this culture of self-loathing. With each upcoming post I will address beliefs we must begin to overcome together. We need to change the narrative. We need to shift our perspective and begin to see ourselves and each other much more clearly. We need to live more truthfully, choose to live with compassion and embrace our BEST selves once and for all.

This is my practice.

Three of the greatest gifts I have received as an Ashtanga practitioner and Ashtanga teacher are these amazing human beings I am standing with here. I treasure each of them tremendously. It is Taylor Hunt who ultimately brought us all together and I am and will be forever grateful.
Taylor Hunt is my teacher.
Before Taylor, I had been practicing Ashtanga for years without ever understanding how powerful this practice could truly be. I loved practicing Ashtanga but it wasn’t until Taylor had me glimpse into my own potential that I was able to truly love myself within this practice.
Here’s the thing…I stayed comfortable for years with my practice, not really understanding the method, not realizing the true purpose for what I was doing and why. I practiced just enough to feel good about being physical, gaining just enough strength to do what was fun, what felt good, and I skipped over the stuff that required real WORK…but I truly had NO idea that I was doing that, nor did I know why.
And then a year and a half ago, Taylor finds his way into our town and turns everything upside down in the best way possible. Everything I had been doing was either wrong or misunderstood and I completely underestimated what this would mean for me from here on out.
Since that first visit to San Antonio, I’ve been collecting my series of personal “Taylorisms” that I value so much and I carry with me through my practice as I continue to grow. The first was “Be careful how you talk to yourself” and this changed my life. I was almost shocked because I thought I was really good at being positive because I was good at teaching this to others but he called me out so big and stopped an entire workshop to address my subtle self-deprecation that the reality check I got was as real as they come.
I apparently ruminated on this for a year without any growth in my practice and Taylorism #2 was “…..still??” as he discovered in my second mysore class ever with him that I was exactly where he left me a year before. So here is where the work truly began…
I took that next lesson and I applied it. I chose to dive in, to move forward and to “own it” as Taylor had told me I needed to if I was going to teach it. He’s right, and I do not teach anything I don’t work very hard at doing myself on a daily basis. With this work came a LOT of tears, a LOT of physical pain, a LOT of breaking down and breaking through beliefs I had about myself that were and are simply NOT true.
With this work I had discovered that I didn’t like myself much at all. That I excused my limitations because I believed myself to be too weak, too fat, my belly too big and in the way–because once being over 210 lbs and wearing a size 20, I still believed to be that girl and I hated her. This reality of how I felt and saw myself was stopping me from moving forward, from seeing my potential, from growing in any way. I needed to face it head on, deal with it, bring everything to light no matter how painful if I was ever going to evolve further from where I was.
The next Taylorism was given to me 4 months after my work began at a workshop in Dallas where I met even more amazing people. “You’ve GOT to get this…what are you waiting for??” I saw in Taylor a certainty he had about me that I was still not able to own myself. Weeks after, I worked and I worked and then there it was…guilt, shame, and so much ugliness that I was still holding onto, being in the dark, hiding decades of living with an eating disorder, so much self-hatred keeping me from owning true self-love, compassion, and self-acceptance.
When I broke through, it all came to light and I’m finally shedding those layers…finally replacing hate with love, holding space of compassion and gratitude for myself where self-doubt and shame once lived.
It is here that I continue my journey with an infinite amount of humble gratitude for every second, every lesson, every amazing soul I meet and, of course, for my teacher and every Taylorism he has to give. The most recent ones I was given just a couple of weeks ago were “Why are you giving up, V?” and “There’s more walking to do…”
Yes, there most certainly is, and I’m going to have to open my heart even more to do so.
Thank you, Taylor, from the bottom of my heart…for the light, for the practice as I know it today, for bringing us together, for helping us establish our community so we can continue to grow and share it with others.
#studentdiaries
#ashtangayogasanantonio
#hamsayogaschool
#healthylivingbyv

What is Ashtanga Yoga anyway???

Join me THIS Saturday at 5 Points Local for an Ashtanga Yoga Method Workshop to find out!!!

We’ll explore a bit of the history and the philosophy along with a deep dive into the method of Ashtanga Yoga. Broaden your understanding, deepen your own practice and enhance your overall experience of yoga.

Register online today at 5pointslocal.com/yoga to secure your spot!!!

Saturday, August 5th
3pm – 5pm

See you on the mat!!!

~V~

This week with V…

We’re kicking off Full Primary Led at Hamsa School of Yoga and Ayurveda this Saturday, the 29th with the final installment of our Beginners Ashtanga Series from 9am – 11am…only $35 to join us!!!

Beginning the following Saturday, May 6th from 8am to 930am, join V for Primary Led every weekend!!! Check out hamsayogaschool.com/classes for details.

Discover yourself and join V on the mat. 💜🙏💜

HLbV Schedule at 5 Points Local

HLbV Schedule at 5 Points Local


Join me every week at 5 Points Local during the following times:

Ashtanga Yoga on Tuesdays from 6pm – 715pm & Saturdays from 8am – 930am
*$15 Drop-in or buy any one of the studio’s class passes ($65 for 5 Classes, $100 for 10 Classes or $200 for 20 Classes and Unlimited Monthly classes also available)

Private Sessions which may include Yoga, Pranayama (Breathing Exercises), Guided Meditation or general wellness consulting are available typically on Sundays.
*$50 for 1 Hour Sessions and $75 for 1 1/2 Hour Sessions (1st session is $50 up to 2 hours)

Contact me for availability or with any further questions or comments.

Cheers to healthy living and I’ll see you on the mat!!!

~V~

Photo Credit: Atom Van Doos