Yoga found me

Apr 2, 2008

Then I met Moksha

I took my first yoga class when I was 25, living in San Diego, while working as a personal trainer to Dr. Deepak Chopra. One of his very zen staff members was kind enough to pull me aside at my gym job to show me a few Sun Salutations. This act of random kindness, which I felt was divinely orchestrated, lead me to me first yoga class—and that changed my life.

When yoga found me, I was committed to 60 minutes of running or cardio machines, and weight lifting for another hour, with very little attention, if any, to stretching. I now realize I was wearing out my body, especially my knees with severe repetitive use. I had been through physical therapy for my knees over the years, but nothing rehabilitated them more than doing the primary series of Ashtanga yoga daily. In the 80’s we all lived and died by the mantra: “No Pain No Gain.” But I was in pain, and experiencing no gain. So I started to shift to less time with cardio and weights and more time with what was then my injury prevention routine of Vinyasa flow yoga. On the days I did it, the Vinyasa practice was all that I needed: my cardio, weights, stretching, spirituality and much, MUCH more. It can do this for you too.

I held on to some days of cardio and weights until nine years ago, when I decided to open my first yoga studio. With nothing but a leap of faith, I quit the gym and took up a daily Ashtanga practice. At first, my tendency toward extreme exercise behavior came with me onto the mat, where I would spend 2 to 3 hours, 7 days a week, practicing by myself and sweating profusely. Like Freud said, we often replace an unhealthy addiction with a healthy one. And it took me another few years to tone down my yoga practice, but after a few yoga injuries, I realized I needed to listen to the clear message my body was sending.

Today, I do a solo practice to stay fit but the real reason is to experience freedom, called moksha, within myself.  Many, many yoga practitioners say that they too have moved beyond mastering poses and practice mainly for inner peace.

I will be 40 this year, and feel like yoga has reinstated the flexible, strong, and pain-free body that I had when I started the cardio craze decades ago.

What can gym rats learn from me? Skip a workout but show up to a yoga class. Sweat it out just like you would in spin class, but see if there is something in your body that feels different. I’m hoping that if you’re reading this, yoga has found you too.

Trust me if you rely on yoga, it will all work out. It might also set you free.



26 May 2008, 20:33

I am so much like you. But, I have not taken the leap into eliminating my running/cardio just yet. I read you r blog a few weeks back and I have been slowly doing less running and more yoga. I am 47 years old and am finding my left knee hurts most of the time. I am so afraid of gaining weight, which is why I am afraid of giving up on the running. So, I guess I will ease my way into less and see what happens. I do find that I eat better and maintain a healthier lifestyle when I practice yoga. So here is to "less is best" and we will see where that takes us!

Thank you, Lynda

Kathleen Kastner
16 Apr 2008, 14:41
Bravo Alice! Thank you for the wonderful news that yoga is having such a profound impact on your body and food choices.

I'm so grateful you enjoy my blog and took my advice about less cardio and more yoga, thank you and keep in touch!

take care,

Alice DeRosa
08 Apr 2008, 09:01
Kathleen i just want to say I love your blog! I used to be a cardio junkie and after reading something you wrote thought I would give yoga a try,and the results are amazing! I have lost weight and regained flexibility. I also took your eating advice which probably has alot to do with the weight loss, but I am 41 and have never felt better.

Thank you,


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