The Rebirth Of My Yoga Journey

In 2013, I took my first yoga class. Being an athlete through middle school, high school, and experiencing a variety of dance opportunities in college and as a young adult, I’ve always been active and enjoyed anything that has to do with dance and fitness. When I took that first yoga class, I felt inspired and revived. Not only did my body feel better, but my mind felt like it had the best workout ever.

My First Yoga Picture           Cleo Childress *     February 2013 *     Miami, FL

My First Yoga Picture 

Cleo Childress * February 2013 * Miami, FL

I can admit, I was a bit intimidated at first. All I knew about yoga was what I saw on TV, social media and in magazines. I saw a lot of advanced poses from experienced yogis and wondered, maybe this isn’t for me. I felt discouraged because I wasn’t at an advanced level. Although I knew that with hard work, dedication and consistency, anything is possible, but at that moment, I didn’t feel like it was possible for me.

The more I read and watched videos about yoga, the more interested I became. So, that same year I decided to take another yoga class and join an instagram yoga challenge. It was fun and it allowed me to learn more about yoga. The more I learned, the easier it became. I knew that yoga was for me because not only was it helping my body, it also helped with my mind and soul. I realized yoga isn’t just doing fancy advanced poses in cool clothes, it’s so much more in depth than that. Everyone has their own reason why they do yoga. It’s important to know and understand your WHY.

At the time, I had a lot going on in my life. Just like we all do. I relocated to Florida and started a new job. Just with those two changes alone brought many challenges and obstacles to overcome. Whenever I did yoga, I felt like it was my therapy. It gave me the tools and strength I needed to conquer the world and not be intimidated by it.

As I started to share yoga photos on instagram and facebook, people started to ask me questions about yoga. How to do certain poses, how I got started and if I would teach classes. Honestly, I was shocked! Me? Teach a yoga class? I felt I was not qualified to teach others because I had no certifications and I was just started out myself. I was appreciative that others looked at me as a teacher because that was something I eventually wanted to do. I wanted to make sure that when it was time to teach that I was ready. If I taught someone, I wanted them to learn from one of the best. I didn’t want them to leave my class feeling like they didn’t learn anything. I realized that just because you don’t have a certification yet, doesn’t mean you don’t have valuable knowledge and skills to share with others. We all start somewhere.

As the months and years past on, I got lazy, discouraged and just swamped with work. I allowed my circumstances I was experiencing at the time overshadow the things that would help me create a better life for myself. I stopped doing yoga all together. Whenever I did do yoga, it was taking one class, then weeks and months later practicing a few poses at home. I wasn’t really practicing at all, I was just “doing stuff”. As more months and years past on, I started to regret not pursuing yoga consistently after I took that first class back in 2013. I wondered how much progress I would have made if I would have trained consistently over the last five years. I started to feel like maybe it’s too late for me, but I had to quickly remind myself that age doesn’t have to limit your opportunities. I am now 32 years old, but I know that is not “old.” I have many years ahead of me to live and enjoy life doing what I want to do.

I’ve read so many stories about people who have pursued a variety of opportunities in their 30s, 40s, and 50s and have been successful. It’s all about the mindset, determination, and the strength to not give up when it gets difficult. Also, patience is KEY. Sometimes we all want things so bad that when we don’t get it after a few days, weeks, or months, we are ready to quit or we feel that maybe it’s not for us. That’s just not true and not the way to live your life. No matter what you want to do, you never know when your big break will come. Your big break is defined by you. Your journey is different from the next person. These are things I had to realize about myself. It has helped be to get clear and focused on what I want, what I enjoy, and what I see myself doing long term. One of those things is YOGA. There are so many benefits to yoga that I just don’t see it not being a part of my life. There are so many different styles of yoga, so many ways to experience it, the opportunities are endless.

Cleo Childress * December 2017 *     Denver, CO      Photographer: Priscilla Contreras

Cleo Childress * December 2017 * Denver, CO

Photographer: Priscilla Contreras

I’ve officially decided to pursue yoga again, and practice like I’ve never done before. I call it, “The Rebirth of My Yoga Journey.” Yoga gives me the mental and physical challenges that I need, but it also makes me genuinely feel good from the inside. It also provides opportunities to connect with other like-minded souls across the world. It will be a constant learning rollercoaster, but I am up for the challenge. I think we all should do something that makes us a little nervous. You don’t have to have only one thing you are pursuing, you can be working on multiple things. It builds our inner strength and character.

No matter where this journey takes me, I will feel good knowing that this was something I wanted to do. When you choose to do something for yourself, and not because someone else thinks you should do it, the rewards you receive are more precious. You will cherish them more than you ever did anything else.

Stay tuned for updates on my Yoga Journey!!!