by Dianna Tucker Baritot
I started practicing yoga in my high school years; my first yoga class was taught by an acting teacher at a summer theatre camp I was attending, and I made sure to come to all his offered asana practices for the remainder of my time there. I continued to practice sporadically through my teen years, mostly with a local instructor who gave lessons in her living room. This was the early 90s (I'm dating myself now); rubber mats, blocks, and props barely existed yet. We practiced on carpet, using neckties as straps. Classes were all called 'hatha' yoga--the multitude of varieties we now know and love had yet to burst on to the scene. Throughout college and in my 20s, I watched yoga go from being a fringe practice to becoming a mainstream commodity, and I continued to practice sporadically, for fun, for fitness, and for peace of mind. It wasn't until my 40th year on this planet, however, that I experienced what I refer to as 'my yogic awakening'. I was on a solo trip to the Dominican Republic, and I signed up for a week of asana practice with a group of yogis who were studying to become teachers. I recall my first class of the week thusly: At the end of the hour, I lay breathing in savasana, listening to the ocean crash against the beach, feeling the tropical breeze on my skin. I meditated and felt my spirit transcend my body in a way I’ve never experienced before. Upon rising and seeing that night had slowly fallen over us, I thought to myself, “oh, THIS is what yoga is supposed to feel like.” I continued practicing with the YTT students throughout the week, learning more about the yogic path, and decided then and there that I would soon be a yoga teacher trainee myself. I truly came to appreciate the healing power of a yoga practice as, throughout my practice, I recovered from spinal surgery (herniated discs), uterine fibroid removal, and a diagnosis of the autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto's disease. I continue to use yoga as a path to chronic wellness. It is no understatement to say that becoming a yoga teacher has been a dream come true; I have never felt more at home, more myself, and more in love with life than I do when I am practicing with students, bringing yogic bliss to as many lovely souls as I can. I am extremely grateful to Medwell for helping this dream become a reality.