We are excited to announce our October Yogi of the Month! Before we do so we want to thank you all for submitting your stories with us. We are honored, humbled, & grateful that you have shared your stories with us of how yoga has positively impacted your lives. We will be featuring one student randomly every month and to be chosen you just need to share how yoga has changed your life (email firstname.lastname@example.org). We keep all submissions, so once you submit you will qualify for future features. The person selected gets a free month of unlimited yoga to take their practice to an even deeper level.
We all receive the gifts & blessings from the practice everyday, but we could only choose one person to be this month’s “Yogi of the month” and that person is…Jessica Kastor. Here is her story. Thank you for sharing this with us all of us Jessica, we are absolutely honored &humbled to be a part of your path & healing.
“In July, 2012, my mother abruptly passed away. In that same month, I stumbled upon L Yoga Flow, Natalie and the wonderful community that she fosters in the studio. For months, I had been running past the studio on Hamilton Road, training for a half marathon. I’d see the sign and think, “I should really look into that.” And the thought would pass, I’d keep running and forget about it until the next time. When I finally found the time and the courage to walk into the studio, I was struck silent. Never have I found a yoga studio that is so warm, so inviting and so non-judgmental as L Yoga Flow.
After introducing herself, Natalie asked if I was comfortable with a chaturanga pushup. Even Though I said I wasn’t, Natalie welcomed me into Energize class, knowing that through the process of yoga (and self discovery) I soon would be! In meeting her, I felt more like I was reconnecting with an old friend and less like I was meeting some cold, chip-on-her-shoulder yoga teacher. I felt like I was at home. Soon, one Saturday morning class wasn’t enough and I began going to the studio three or four times a week. Seeing Natalie that often was a salve for my soul. There is something so kindred and pure in her, and it’s something rarely found in this world.
Over the next nine months, I embraced my yoga practice the way I’ve embraced my running. Days didn’t feel complete without a visit to the studio, or at least a few down dogs at home. The new found freedom in the power of prana, coupled with the absolute love that I found at the studio helped me to heal from my loss. Yes, I was grieving, and yes it was painful, but L Yoga Flow made it manageable. I found myself thinking of it as ‘my’ studio, because it has become my home. Between Kundalini practices and traditional vinyasa flow classes, I realized self love is the only way to live. I’m certain that I would not have learned this lesson so quickly if it weren’t for the community I found at L Yoga Flow.
During this transformation, I fully embraced Natalie’s philosophy of intention based practice. Seeing in my mind’s eye what I want to happen wills it to the Universe, which in turn, wills it to me. For nine solid months, I concentrated and focused my efforts on exactly what I wanted to manifest. “I want to find my path” I repeated to myself at the opening and close of every practice. Little did I realize that my path has been in front of me the whole time. It took stepping back, into myself, to see that. I’m certain I wouldn’t be embarking on the journey I am now taking if it weren’t for intention yoga.
Two months ago, I voluntarily took a hiatus from the studio. Graduate school is gearing up, and I knew that if I’m ever going to sustain the joy I find at L Yoga Flow, I will need to be able to practice on my own. My kundalini kriyas are now coupled with Bhakti chants, and I’m finding a decided satisfaction in practicing on my own. Having said that, I ache for the time I can walk back into the studio, to be surrounded with the love and light that is found there.
L Yoga Flow has not only changed my life, but it’s changed my heart. Coming to the studio after such a traumatic death saved me from a lifetime of loss. I have found a peace so pure, a love so real and a path so clear that, now, I can’t imagine a day I don’t stop for a minute and say, “Thank you.”