December/January Yogi of the Month – Jillian Black
I found yoga over five years ago after graduating from college. Like many adults in their early 20’s, I was trying to find myself, new hobbies, and my future. I had previously heard of the benefits yoga can give, so my anxious/Type A personality agreed that I should give it a try. Needless to say, my first few class was slightly rocky. The studio was packed with dedicated yogis who looked like professionals in every pose. I however, looked like an uncoordinated fish out of water. My self consciousness got the best of me, and I decided not to return.
One year had passed since my initial class. My coworker was making several attempts to convince me to join her weekly yoga class. Reluctantly, I decided to attend, after hearing about her ease in anxiety from the practice (she knew my personality well). Our class was held in a small garage studio, run by Dayna Pinkerton. The practice was physically demanding, way too warm, and I still felt self conscious, but Dayna’s ease of life intrigued me to learn more about yoga and continue to push myself. After months of dedication, I began to achieve success in poses I felt to be impossible at my start. My confidence was growing and so was my interest. I decided I needed to push further and practice more often. I joined Ignite.
Joining Ignite was joining a community of smart, kind, and talented individuals who warmly greeted me into their group. Here, I was able to experience a multitude of talented instructors, who only added to challenges on my mat. These challenges continued to help me grow in my confidence and strength. I noticed my stress melt away, stress that I had held onto for long periods of time. I left each class feeling kinder to myself, kindness that helped me appreciate who I was to my core. Ignite quickly became a second home, in which I felt safe, nurtured, and able to express my best self. I even started to appreciate the difficult moments on my mat (even my first class), realizing that they have helped me grow in my practice and my life.
My studio continues to be a home where I can engage in self care, gain strength, make connections, and practice presence wherever I am. Over the course of five years, I have learned that my best self involves a steady yoga practice. I credit everyone who is part of Ignite to contributing to my best self. In the future, I hope to pay forward what my practice and my studio has given me, a powerful change in life.