get to know - stacey

“I wish I had more time.” “I wish I could get to yoga more.” “I wish my kid would nap longer than an hour so I could get something done.” I wish I wish I wish….

I find myself saying that a LOT these days. Because, lets face it, there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything we want, and on some days, everything we NEED, done. However, I’ve recently been reminded that life shouldn’t be about missing what we can’t have or what we wish was - instead its about being present in the minutes we have NOW. And for me, and I bet for you too if you haven’t given it a shot, 90 minutes in a hot room helps keep my mind clear and focused. When my brain starts going a mile a minute and thoughts just end up piling on top of each other, I’ve started to remind myself to stop. And be HERE. In the minute that I’m in. 

I started attending classes at Bikram Yoga Williamsville (which is present day I am Yoga) in 2013. I took a whole week off of work and committed to going every day. I knew I wanted to get into this “crazy” form of exercise for years - through high school I watched my then boyfriends mom (who I admired greatly and still do) be a living breathing testimonial on what this yoga can do. She told me she gained strength, peace and confidence by her consistent practice and I wanted in on that. 

So anyways, I finally did it. My first class was hard. My legs and arms were shaky and I was NOT flexible at all.  I questioned the decision to come quite a bit during that class… but I finished. And then something amazing happened. I felt AWESOME…. ok, at first I felt really tired and sore. But my body, or my heart, or maybe a combination of both, wanted me to go back. So I did, again and again, and before long, I was addicted. My mood was brighter. I became a more patient person. I had more energy. I inevitably became healthier. With each class, I learned more and more and before long I became a “regular” and I’m a better person today because of it.

You’re not supposed to pay attention to other people during class, you never want to fall into the comparison trap. But I did pay attention. I saw young and old, beginners and pros, flexible and not… I saw individuals overcome previous injuries, emotional battles...and I also saw a community. These teachers, your fellow students, they CARE about you. They have created a space where everyone is welcome and encouraged to learn. All you have to do is show up and do your best. There were some days when “my best” was showing up to simply lay on the mat and breath. Just getting into that room and putting pause on life for 90 minutes is healing in itself. 

I practiced regularly for about 2 years after I first started, and then I made some pretty serious life changes. I quit my full time marketing job and became a MOM. Under the guidance and encouragement of the teachers, I practiced yoga at least 3 times a week until 38 weeks pregnant. I never felt better. I was empowered and physically capable of things I never thought possible. I continued with my yoga practice, but as to be expected with a new baby… who turned into a toddler… who then turned into a big sister… it was harder to find the balance and the time to come as much as I once did. 

While “I WISH” I could come more these days, I am extremely grateful for every chance I get to step foot into that hot room. I am making it a priority again and I am excited to start all over. As the saying goes: “you’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from scratch once again”.

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Stacey Bank