Looking back over my life, I realize that I have been practicing yoga for a very long time which I now see as an art and a celebration of life, the way it is and not the way I think it should be based on efforts I put forth. Years ago, when I was a competitive swimmer, there was tremendous attention paid to the breath – so I was practicing pranayama before I even knew it. I remember some days of training were about diving into the pool and swimming under water to the other end and seeing if the turn could be made and head back for home in a single breath, certainly a breath retention. Where now, a breath retention is about being still and watching the inhale and how whole, full and complete that one breath is. Then watching the exhale and pausing to be empty of breath and noticing how whole, full and complete I am even without breath. This kind of awareness stirs up the prana or life-force within me that moves me to study and explore what it is that I am doing and why I am doing it. My introduction to yoga occurred at a gym during a time when I was busy lifting weights as hard and as fast as I could. I was working furiously to carve and chisel the body on the outside in an attempt to cram and jam that outside look to an inside feeling. It never worked and then one day I jumped – and yes I jumped into a yoga class with vim vigor and pep and I understood nothing and forced everything and fidgeted everywhere. Thank goodness that teacher was Steph Snyder and she had a sense of humor that day and helped me laugh at myself for putting so much effort into that simple task of backing off and letting go. By the end of class, when I collapsed into Savasana (corpse pose), honestly, I felt dead. I remember feeling a bit emotional and embarrassed to show that, yet at the same time there was something quite soothing in the willingness to let go of everything, finally, for those few moments. I was hooked. Sign me up for the year class pass and so I did. I started practicing a couple of times a week and then I found Michael Cooper on Fridays at noon. My whole week revolved around that class. Every Friday, I left work early and thank goodness my boss always worked from home on Fridays until one Friday he didn’t. He asked where I was going and I decided to be honest. I let him know how important it was for me and what it was doing for me. Then I did a little headstand for him and he let me go. Over the years, I have practiced with many many amazing teachers. I find every teacher which is really just everyone I meet in life to be amazing. Some of them guide me to continue studying the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Others guide me to explore meditation and the 8 Fold Path of Buddhism. Others remind me to be humble and grow in my compassion for all people and still others remind me of how I used to wander through this life in fear. These teachers give me permission to embrace this life, all of it which has been so freely gifted to me. Every step and every breath that I have ta