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  • Yoga: A Journey to Wellness That Starts with One Deep Breath September 27th, 2012

    Welcome to Power Yoga Evolution Blog.  Yoga practice has been around thousands of years.  There are many types and variations.  There is no "right" yoga.  The yoga that is best for anyone is yoga that helps the practitioner learn, heal and relax. It starts with one breath.  Before I began yoga, I would see someone with a yoga mat on their way to class and think,  "Wow, I could never do that."  I had a few good reasons to believe I couldn't.  Like Rob Iorio; I too had chronic pain that led me to discover the healing and health benefits of yoga.   But yoga is not waving a magic wand and making everything all better.  Yoga is a path to strengthen weaknesses; physically and mentally, and the journey on the path to wellness starts with one deep breath. This blog is not about me, but I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and answer why I am even qualified to write about yoga.  My name is Karen Vasquez.  I discovered yoga in 2005.  I had three reasons to believe yoga was not for me; Scleroderma, Sarcoidosis and Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Spoiler alert:  I was wrong.  Yoga was exactly what I had been missing. I began my practice in 2005, after a  discussion with my nurse practitioner about chronic pain.  She invited me to a yoga class she attended regularly.  I was very skeptical.  At the time, I was on an inhaler to assist oxygen exchange; I had lung damage from scleroderma known as pulmonary fibrosis; and the lymph nodes in my chest were enlarged so much so, my lungs could not fully expand to get the right amount of oxygen. (That swelling was later diagnosed as sarcoidosis.)   I was a mess.  I thought, "Yoga?  Is she nuts?" I called the yogi who taught the class to ask if yoga might be for me.  I expected her to tell me to stay home, but to my surprise, the more we talked, the more I wanted to try what I thought to be impossible. The first class. I arrived early.  My yoga instructor and I did some poses so she could  evaluate  my range of motion. I was so inflexible, I couldn't  sit cross-legged or on my knees properly in rock pose.  The instructor showed me ways to adapt, using pillows and blankets.  It was encouraging, and  I started to feel I had potential to increase my range of motion. That first yoga class was a roller coaster ride.  Class began with breathing, then movement.  It was a natural transition I can only describe as flow.  I was working muscles I had no idea existed.  It felt like I was doing exercise from the inside out.  Breath became rhythm that powered subtle movement; subtle movement became bigger movement; and that movement formed poses. There were times in my first class I felt anything was possible; and the next moment, I pondered rolling up my mat and going home.  I have to admit, had I been using a DVD to do yoga, I would have hit the stop button or sat and watched.  Being in a class encouraged me to stick with it; sometimes moment to moment, and I found inspiration from my fellow students to keep going. Then, as if I had expected the class to be longer, I was surprised to find myself in Shavasana (corpse pose), my first yoga class completed.  Every move and breathing technique was new, but my body and spirit had a familiar feeling: Like coming home. Yoga is not magic; but it can feel like it. Once I started attending yoga classes regularly,  my range of motion improved beyond remarkable.  I stopped eating pain medication like Pez and my pulmonary functions improved.  My lungs are tested every year, and I have the data to prove it. These changes were no miracle.  These changes came about because I made the decision to go to yoga class consistently.  To make time in my crazy day for yoga.  I have gift of the ability to talk myself out of things that are good for me.  I am The Master of Excuses, Queen of Scapegoats,  Wizard of Weaseling out; but my feelings of peace and accomplishment were so addicting,  I was able to ignore my inner Master, Queen & Wizard; and get myself to the studio and on my mat. About this blog. I shared the experience of my first yoga class, because readers should know a little about who is writing this blog.  Most of all, I want you, the reader, to know that that yoga is for everyone.  That one can start from the athletic ability of zero and get to a place of wellness; and it starts with with one deep breath.  Rather than make up a fictional character, I just told my story.  As more information is shared, you will see this blog evolve into a place of  growth and education.  Links to other blogs will be shared on Facebook and Twitter- because after all, we are part of the world community.  Here, there will be; product reviews, recipes, the philosophies of Rob Iorio,  his techniques and solutions to practice hurdles, and a guest blogger every once and while to shake things up.   This blog is home to the community that is Power Yoga Evolution.  Stay tuned: Learn, be well and grow with us. Namaste.  

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