How Mandy Discovered Yoga

Posted on 07 September 2016

Mandy Baughman 
Yoga found me when I needed it most, and I didn't even know it. 
I was invited to a yoga class as a social event when I was living in Cleveland Ohio by an old friend, Steff, I was trying to reconnect with. I attended class regularly for a handful of months but soon after called it quits. It wouldn't be for months later that I found a studio and teacher(s) who spoke to a part of my being that I was in search of finding. During the in between time, I was working out regurarly at a gym but I continued to feel lost; I felt like I was floating around in life serving no purpose. I considered joining a Buddhist center down the street and did ample research into their community, but I never went.  Then one day at the gym, a stranger asked, "have you ever been to Inner Bliss Yoga Studio?" and I answered no. He insisted that I check out their space and raved about how amazing his experience had been. 
I am not entirely sure how long after that encounter I went to Inner Bliss, but I did non-the-less. I remember setting up my pink mat in the back corner of the space thinking about how warm it was in the studio.  Jen entered the studio and lead us thru an hour all-levels vinyasa class, but I swear it felt like the class was never going to end and the heat was unbearable. I am not sure what Jen's message was or any of the sequence, but I know I left feeling like I was an entire new person: I was lighter, blissed out, and my heart was screaming, YES!  I knew after that moment that yoga was my answer to finding my purpose. Well, I did not actaully know that, but something within me did. 
Yoga  became part of my weekly routine: each Saturday morning I would wake up, clean my apartment, and practice with Jen at 10:00am. I could only afford to go to yoga once or twice a week and for months, maybe even a year, Jen was the only teacher I would practice with. She spoke to the broken parts of my heart and taught me self-worth, she challenged me physically and mentally. 
What is wildly cosmic about all of this is that I left Cleveland and moved back home in  hopes to go back to school and then the opportunity presented itself for teacher training; I decided to do my teacher training at Inner Bliss-after leaving Cleveland, mind you. I commuted to Cleveland once a month for nine months, stayed with Steff each weekend (now my best friend), and Jen was one of our leaders during our training. 
Yoga saved me from so many dark parts of myself, it has taught me to be softer, communication, empathy, understanding, and what true and self love feels like.

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