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
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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

Be Careful of Your Words

  
Too important not to share…

“Be careful of how you talk to yourself.” -Taylor Hunt

Marichyasana C (and all super deep twisting postures) was a posture I didn’t ever really try to find. Thoughts about my body’s ability (or inability) to do certain things kept me in very comfortable modifications for years. Taylor blew all of our minds yesterday with a new understanding of this beautiful practice and called me out for the words I used to describe myself before even attempting the posture with his guidance.

Like a miracle that isn’t really a miracle because the potential was always there, he guided me into the full expression of this posture with ease. I felt strong, safe and fully protected the entire time.
Taylor reminded me of a fundamental truth that I thought I was living because I know I’ve been teaching it to others:

Be careful of the words you use when you talk to yourself. Be careful of how you describe yourself to others. Be careful of how you think of yourself in the quiet of your own stillness. Be careful of the stories you tell and your version of the “truth.”

Even in jest, even in the innocence of subtle comments made in passing, pay attention to the words you use…they will create your reality.

Love & Light,

~V~

*Picture taken at Southtown Yoga Loft in San Anyonio TX during an Ashtanga Immersion Weekend Workshop with Taylor Hunt 

HLbV Update – Yoga with V!

Join V on the mat at the following locations and times!

Tuesdays and Thursdays – All FMCU Employees at Gold Canyon – 530pm to 630pm

*Saturdays – 5 Points Local for Progressive Flow – 830am to 930am

*Every Sunday in February – The Vidorra Residents & Guests – 630pm to 730pm

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*Check websites regularly for updates to class schedules and new opportunities to join V on the mat!

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Welcome the Challenge and Make Life Beautiful

[repost from August 2013]

There’s a beautiful yoga tradition known as Ashtanga that has been my primary practice for the last three years and, as such, holds a very significant and tender place in my heart.  With its challenging postures and vigorous pace, I do not only strengthen and grow physically but am tested and humbled mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as well.  The place where I call “home” in my yoga practice is known to most by now as SYL and I am forever grateful for Kristal for everything she is able to offer through her instruction, her studio and her friendship.

Through a series of approximately 91 postures (including the opening sequence which is needed to heat up the body), it’s easy to lose focus, release the breath, start to wonder what in the world you got yourself into, become afraid you won’t be able to finish the almost two hour class, feel frustrated that you couldn’t achieve the full expression of a pose, or clench and strain through tired muscles, a lack of balance or a racing heart, etc., etc.  The order of the sequence is the same but, just as in life, there will always be a significant challenge and the types of challenges that arise always change from day to day.

Challenges feed the body as well as the soul.  It keeps the mind sharp, strengthens muscles and builds character.  Challenge is less about the stress it creates and more about the ways in which we learn to deal with difficulties and adapt as necessary to persevere.  Whether your biggest challenges in your overall health lies within the adjustments of your eating habits, the stress of a job or a difficult relationship, the motivation to get up and be physically active or even finishing a task or exercise that feels like it will never end, I encourage you to try just a few techniques that help to keep me going and going and going for more.

Just Breathe.  Any well-taught yoga class will remind you that your breath is essential to your practice and that if you are conscious of it, your breath will tell you how you are handling any situation.  Learning to control it, to never stifle it and allow it to flow evenly in and out of you calms the mind, lowers the heart rate and offers you something to focus on when you become distracted for whatever reason.  As your breathing becomes too jagged or shallow, this can be an indicator to you that it’s time to adjust in some way.  If you’re working too hard, depending on the source and degree of difficulty, consider easing up as necessary to get you through.  If it’s an emotional or mental stressor, this moment of refocusing on the breath will help ground you before reacting in a way that isn’t productive or helpful to you or others around you.

Find your focus.  In Ashtanga, each posture has a focal point in which you are encouraged to rest your eyes upon.  The verbal reminders in our guided class are always helpful to me because it’s easy to redirect my gaze, look around the room or out the window, think about the traffic on the way home, plan dinner or a meeting the next day, etc.  Not only does this distract  from the discipline of the practice itself but it can result in injury by not paying attention to proper form.  Now, not everyone’s mind is as exhausting as mine can be but we all do it from time to time.  Whether the challenge is regarding my nutritional habits and attempting a new approach because my clothes are starting to “talk to me” or the idea of using a heavier weight or going at a faster pace because I’ve been staying comfortable long enough, finding my focus will always guide me through.  Try it yourself.  Whether it be a point ahead of you that helps to keep your balance, a pre-determined mantra that helps to keep you motivated or a small-term goal that feels much more attainable than a big picture, end result, you’re much more likely to make it through anything.

Come back to the mat…or your desk, or the table or the conversation you’re attempting to have, etc.  This is similar to finding your focus but it’s more about returning whatever thoughts you have to present time.  In addition to finding something to focus on, being present in all that you do no matter what or with whom, ensures that you are conducting yourself in a way that is truly to the best of your ability.  It is with the highest quality of effort that you will see optimal results if everything you do throughout a challenge is not holding on to the past in any way or worrying about the future.  Think about it, any action requires a certain amount of your attention, so how much more for a challenge that might make you question or doubt yourself?  When you are struggling in life, no matter what it is, try calling yourself back to wherever you’ve wandered off as soon as you realize you’re not living in the moment.  Let go of what was and do not have any expectations of what will be so that everything you do in the present will not only be done with the utmost integrity, but will also be appreciated for what it has to offer.  Otherwise, how will you ever see it?

Welcoming all challenges in life with open arms, breathing through each one, finding your focus that keeps you going and always doing so in present time will ultimately be rewarded by the best possible results.  Whether it be in goals of overall health, personal empowerment, athletic ability or weight-loss, challenges are what ultimately help us grow above and beyond our utmost (perceived) potential.

Love,

V