How Tori Discovered Yoga

Posted on 01 September 2016

Tori Williams

I had no idea what yoga was until I was 19-years-old and a sophomore in college. I’m from a relatively small town in West Virginia, and yoga was definitely not a thing there when I was growing up. I had this image of yoga as people chanting in a circle and sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed. It was not something that never interested me, which is hilarious to think about now. I stumbled upon my first yoga class by accident. My roommate had made a purchase at Lululemon and scored three, free class passes to Charleston Power Yoga. When she asked me to go with her, I figured I might as well see what this whole yoga thing was about. 

Well, it was certainly not chanting in a circle. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I remember loving the fact that it was heated yoga, because I was able to sweat and really feel the effects of the poses. I obviously had no clue what any of the poses were called at the time, but I was able to mimic everyone else in the room pretty easily. I left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and I could tell in that instant I was hooked. I had been a pretty big gym rat throughout high school and as a freshman in college. My workout regime typically consisted of running several miles and then whatever dance classes I had going on at the time. Yoga gave me a whole new type of workout to add to my routine, and I began to take classes 3-4 times a week in addition to running 2-3 times a week. 

I’ll admit that, at first, my love for yoga was purely because of its physicality. I cared very little about what the instructor said about linking movement with breath and listening to what my body needed. All I cared about was the sweat and the intensity and leaving feeling like I needed to crawl home. It became a bit of a neurotic habit. I even built my college classes around the best core classes. Yikes. 

It wasn’t until a year and a half later when I received an injury that I truly discovered yoga. I had pulled a muscle in my leg while running and, rather than listening to my body and stopping when noticing pain, I pushed through it to finish my workout and then realized the damage I’d done. This injury left me unable to run for several months, and so yoga became my main workout while my leg recovered. At first I was frustrated that my body had betrayed me, but attending yoga daily really forced me to let down my wall and listen to the messages being delivered. I was able to finally concentrate on my breath and implement the cues being given…and one day it finally clicked. And in savasana that day I silently cried because it all finally made sense to me and I couldn’t believe it took me that long to realize how important this practice was for my life

Fast forward 4 years later and I’m a Registered Yoga Teacher, Buti Yoga Certified, and practice yoga simply for the mental component. Of course I love the workout, but that’s not the only reason I go anymore. It’s my saving grace. It’s the one thing I want to wake up and do every single day, because I’m doing something good for both my mind and my body. Funny how things work out, huh? 

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