From her picture you may get a sense of the bright light which is Antonia! A self proclaimed “butterfly”,  Antonia doesn’t seem to meet a stranger, greeting everyone with an authentic open heart and genuine curiosity. Endearing and always smiling, Antonia has become a beloved member of the Anjali family. She shared with us her thoughts about practice.

Why and how did you come to practice yoga?

I discovered yoga 6 years ago when I was in my early twenties, and it has been my companion and teacher ever since. Yoga’s gentle transformation changed me not only physically, but in other ways too. As time goes by, my experience with yoga has led me to enjoy mediation, be less judgmental and to generally settle down and become calmer more loving, less caught up in the little dramas of life and more focused on my inner light.

When I first started yoga I had no idea what I was really getting into however I loved every minute of it. Of course there were some poses that others could do easily that I could not manage. I learned to not dismiss a pose that was unattainable but to be patient with myself and listen to my body. After all I wasn’t attending a yoga class for anyone else but myself, so why should I over stretch to look like someone in the front of the class?

I deepened my practice of yoga after a series of injures that had accrued. I decided to partake in holistic healing and to dive deeply into my inner spirit as a guide to help heal my pain. I remember there being a time when I did not want to get out of bed because of the amount of pain I was in. I did yoga to still my mind of the thoughts and opinions of other people and focus more on myself healing.

What does my practice mean to me?

My practice means not only to attain peace within, but also to share that with others. Unifying my body, breath, and mind to better myself and to be able to reflect that to everyone else around me. It is developing a strong relationship with breath, with the intention of bringing the body, breath and mind into one single awareness in the present moment. My practice means love. If I had to choose one word to define it, love. Love for myself, Love for others, Love for anyone and everyone but most importantly you.

What would I like to tell others about the practice of yoga?

People who love yoga like I do want to share it. I’ve personally dragged reluctant loved ones into classes. Some people find the first experience to be frustrating and challenging. I don’t want people to walk away feeling discouraged and never wanting to try it again. Yoga should bring forth a sense of community. I strongly believe yoga can offer so much especially to those people who need it the most. Sometimes we judge ourselves for not being a certain way i.e. flexible, skinny, or not being able to balance on one foot. In a yoga class you experience this divine connection to everyone. Judgement is nonexistent, you share energy with like minded individuals who are all doing the best they can on and off there mat. Yoga is something you can feel inside and out. Positive changes happen throughout your body and your mind while you’re on your mat. You become more awakened to all of the possibilities that your body can do. Yoga has no limits, and so many styles. So maybe you tried a vinyasa flow and it wasn’t for you, try a yin class, you might love that! Or even chair yoga! Yes, chair yoga is totally a thing. Yoga is a practice, it is not something you try one time and expect to master. It is listening to your body, connecting with your mind, breathing and stretching out the kinks of the day. If you take anything from this let it be: Always remind yourself that you don’t have to do anything but breathe and be happy. I genuinely hope you will be inspired to learn more about this life changing practice and find the ability to connect with others in a whole new way.  Namaste ~

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