Y O G A. 4 letters, sequenced together to form one word. Simple, right? Little did I know that word would have such a profound impact on my life. Prior to developing a regular yoga practice my life was messy. A series of setbacks left me bitter and resentful towards life. I used to always ask “why me? What did I do to deserve this?” These habitual thought patterns were wreaking havoc on the quality of my life and were draining me of self-confidence. I knew I needed change & decided to move to downtown Lansing. I thought this would help, and it did…for a bit. But I started to realize that changing my environment or material possessions were just short term fixes & what I really needed to change was myself. It was at that point that I decided to develop a consistent yoga practice. I researched local studios online and discovered that there was a yoga studio only a few blocks away from home. The following day I attended my first class at Hilltop yoga, a 90-minute vinyasa class. It was very challenging, but I distinctly remember feeling so good afterward. It was as if I forgot what it was like to feel happiness and the first building block of my practice was laid. My second Hilltop class really laid the foundations for my yoga practice & literally changed my life. It was a led Primary-Series Ashtanga class, my first introduction to the Ashtanga yoga practice and into the 8 limbs of yoga. The practice and eight limbs literally blew my mind. Prior to this exposure I had viewed yoga as part of a fitness routine. Little did I know that it really was a science of the mind & how gaining control over our thoughts could lead toward a more peaceful life. Slowly the practice took root, and I started to gain control over my thought patterns, and the quality of my life started to improve. I started to view my past setbacks in a completely different light. They no longer seemed like setbacks, but tremendous lessons. Lessons that I needed to learn to keep me on the right path, lessons that allowed me to have tremendous amount of empathy for others, and lessons that I could share with others. I’m forever grateful for my Hilltop family and the inspiration that my fellow teachers & students give me. I also hope to inspire others in a similar fashion with this amazing practice we call YOGA. Namaste.