Why do you practice yoga? What brought you to your mat? What keeps you coming back? Although these are loaded questions, I think we can all reply with similar answers that are unique to our personal selves. Yoga is many things for many people, but at the end of the day, we all meet to the mat and unite as one.

There are few places we can go to be completely alone in our own space and supported by an entire room at the same time. Yoga is this place for me. Like many, I found myself on the mat during a challenging period in 2011, while I was living in San Diego, California. I was experiencing problems with anxiety, and was desperate to find something that would help reset my breath and find balance. Naturally I gave yoga a shot and I immediately fell in love. Yoga is where I finally learned how to connect with my breath and control my anxiety. But sadly at the time, this was all I knew about yoga. I did not know asana was a word or even what a sun salutation was. I was the person in the back of the room following everyone’s next move. When I began my practice in 2011, it wasn’t about the connecting my breath to movements or a physical practice. It was about sweating out the evil from the night before and controlling my anxiety. 

Over the next four years, my practice was very sporadic. Between running, spin class, boot camps, hiking and everything else in between, I could never fit yoga into my regular workout routine. The only time I committed to yoga was when I felt anxious or stressed, and even that would only be for a couple months max. 

It wasn’t until recently that yoga found a permanent home in my heart, and workout schedule. Three and one-half years had passed but this time was different. I was in a new place in life. Not only was I geographically in a different place, I had different goals, priorities and beliefs. I moved across the country with my then boyfriend (we’re now engaged!) and my outlook on life changed. He deployed shortly after we moved and I was left in an unknown city, without any friends, family or a full-time job. I was completely alone and was not scared one bit. In fact, I was excited! Not excited to be alone, but intrigued. I was curious to discover how this experience would allow me to grow. 

To begin my journey and new chapter of my life in Wilmington, North Carolina, my freelancing-California-booty signed up for the 200-hour Kunga Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training at Wilmington Yoga Center. I was terrified and excited all at the same time. I even remember almost chickening out right before our very first session on August 15, 2014. I thought to myself: “What are you doing, Lanette? You practice yoga like once a week and everyone else is going to a yoga-pro. You’re going to look like an idiot!” Little did I know at the time there was no such thing as a “yoga-pro,” just advanced practitioners and dedicated yogis. I also did not know his would be one of the last times I subconsciously talked crap to myself. After walking myself off the edge, I found myself in a room with the most beautiful group of strangers. After our introductions, we learned everyone had their own edge about starting the teacher training. Everyone seemed to have a similar story; that they knew yoga did something special for them and they were eager to learn more. No one was even sure they were going to teach after this or where this journey would take them. No one knew his or her life was about to change in the most positively beautiful way, thanks to the strangers in that room.

Over a year later, these strangers are now my yoga family; my Wilmington rocks and yoga roots. Looking back at that experience, I can say with absolute certainty that I would not have changed a thing. It was perfect. Not only did the training take my personal asana practice to a level I never imagine possible, I also learned so many invaluable life lessons. I no longer allow negative self-thoughts control what I do or don’t do. From the beginning, my intention for the training program was to simply grow as a person. And my biggest advice to anyone playing with the idea is this: DO IT! I promise you will not regret it. Yoga teacher training is so much more than just a certificate – it’s lifestyle and path to true happiness.

Today yoga for me is so much more than an anti-anxiety remedy. It’s my happy place. Although I am not currently teaching, I am leaving that door open. You never know where life will take you next and I am always looking for opportunities to grow. For now, I focus my time outside of work developing my personal yoga practice and training races. It’s my time to slow down for a little active recovery or my time to sweat it out in a hot power flow. And if I need grounding and release, I light some candles and lead myself through a yin and meditation practice in our garage gym at home. This is also where I teach and practice with my fiancé.

Yoga has a very special place in my heart, mind, body and soul. And it’s both humbling and exciting to think my journey has only just begun. I hope you find a special place on your mat, friends. Happy National Yoga Month! Namaste.Lanette

About Lanette Jorgensen RTY200

Lanette Jorgensen began practicing yoga in 2011 and immediately fell in love. After moving across the country from San Diego, CA to Wilmington, NC in 2014, she decided to deepen her practice by completing the 200-hour Kunga Yoga & Lifestyle Teacher Training program at Wilmington Yoga Center, under Jessica Bichler ERYT500 and Noelle Cavenaugh ERYT500. Her intention is to help others find their special place on the mat and to cultivate positivity and happiness within. To find out more about Lanette, visit her website or follow her on Instagram.