I met my yogi sisters on a Friday night up at the University of Utah in a gymnasium with only our yoga mats. I had just spent the previous night in the trauma ward of the hospital for a mysterious blockage in my throat which still baffles the doctors and myself, to this day. I had just experienced 48 hours of trauma but I was not going to miss out on the Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program. I had been anxiously awaiting for the course to begin for several months now, so mind over broken body I made my way to the University of Utah. The dim lit gymnasium was somewhat comforting as I didn’t know a soul in the class. There was a little bit of excited anxiety filling the room from all the students, for the journey we were all about to embark upon. We were all quiet and reserved, little did we know the deep friendships we were about to create.
This is a tribute to the women who began my yoga journey with me and the yogis I continue to meet along the way. I’m writing this tribute because one of my friends wrote a tribute throughout her 40th birthday year to 40 women who impacted her life. I’ve decided to do the same for my 50th year celebration. I’m paying tribute to 50 women or groups of women who have shaped me into the woman I am today! These are in no particular order and these are by no means the only women who have made an impact on me. Today I’m writing about my Yogi sisters.
There were only seven of us in this little class and our instructor began class with a great yoga session and overview of the journey we would be launching into over the next few months. I sat out of the yoga session and just observed due to my body not being 100%. There hadn’t been too many classes before I was able to participate in the yoga session fully. I believe it was a beautiful synchronicity that this class happened just in time for the healing in my body to take place. There was also a mental and emotional growth in having to sit this part out and not explain myself, that was growing within me. As the classes progressed we all began to connect with one another. Four of the seven women became my Yogi Sisters. Before COVID quarantined us to our homes we attended other yoga retreats together, we met at each other’s homes to practice, we started a book club to dive deeper into the Eight Limbs of Yoga and found a friendship connected by our love for the bigger picture of yoga, the true philosophy of yoga.
When COVID quarantined us we continued to check in with each other via text but I have missed them so much. Two of my yogi sisters work for the University of Utah Medical Center and have been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic in their own specialties. Two of my other yogi sisters are teachers and are just as big of heroes. They have had the huge task to completely redefine how they teach our children.
I’d love to tell you a little bit about each of them and what I admire most about them, these things I admire have impacted the way I want to live my life. Just knowing these ladies has made me a better me. When I see traits in them that I admire, I know they are a part of me and I want to expand those within myself to become more of the best version of myself.
Yurgelina is an athlete! She is dedicated to her time in the gym and her yoga practice. She adores her family and puts her heart and soul into her work as a nurse. She has a fabulous accent and when she gets excited you can barely understand her. I just love this! She is as committed to her mind and soul journey as her physical fitness. She recommends the most amazing books to read and is such a dear friend. I just adore her!
Marianne is a shaman! She is an old soul with deep wisdom. I don’t know all the roads she has traveled but I know of a few and they have been beyond gut and heart wrenching. She has not let those roads take her down for long. She has found deep healing and wisdom through each road travelled, this healing and wisdom she graciously shares with her students and friends. She is now walking a new road of fierce heart ache and I’m honored to hold her story in my heart. I hold sacred space for her healing and know that this journey will lead her deeper into the Shaman she is. Marianne also took additional courses for Yoga on trauma and has taught yoga to the women inmates in the Salt Lake County Jail. Her stories of those classes bring me to tears because of the love Marianne has for these women. I seriously adore her!
Gina is a powerhouse! She works so hard and is also the driving force behind each of her family members finding success. Gina assisted me in getting over a stereotype I had. She beautifully forgave me for my pre-judging by just accepting me, loving me, inviting me into her life and being such an absolutely beautiful soulful woman. As we were doing our certification for yoga we had to assist and observe other teachers, Gina was so generous in offering me these opportunities as she stepped into teaching herself. I was so proud of how brave she was to just step right up and do it!! I look forward to expanding our friendship because I just adore her!
Whitney is a dancer! She is the yoga teacher as well as the Dance Company instructor at Woods Cross High School. I was able to assist in her yoga class before COVID and it was such an incredible experience. She gives these teenagers a gift of PEACE! STILLNESS! SILENCE! SAFETY! TIME OUT! And NO outside distraction for 90 minutes a day. She requires their phones and watches be put away, not on their mat. I LOVE THIS! She teaches them about the deeper philosophies of yoga within the class, these are tools to help them navigate their life. WHAT A GIFT! I was able to attend her Dance Company Concert a couple weeks ago and it was so fabulous. The theme of the concert was Mindfulness In Motion. Each dance started with a mindfulness practice that the performers would tell the audience about and then walk the audience through and experience with that practice. It is thrilling and amazing that these young ladies are learning these skills at this age. AND!!! How amazing that during this year of pandemic chaos and uncertainty they had Whitney as their teacher. I just adore her!
I have added a few other Yogi Sisters from other retreats that I have attended. We haven’t had the chance to spend much time together since we have put a pause on gatherings but I look forward to getting to know them even more and adding more Yogi sisters to my sisterhood!
Yoga is so much more than just the poses…. That is only one of the aspects and one of the eight limbs of yoga …..yoga is a way of life and when you find a group of women who get this and wants to go deeper into this beautiful way of living it is an absolute treasure. I look forward to getting back on the mat with each of these women. I’m so grateful they are in my life and because I know them, my life has been changed for good!