August 9, 2012

How Yoga Changed My Life. ~ Gillian Brown

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of that which you really love.”


How Yoga Found Me

I remember trying a yoga class for the first time back in high school at the local gym in my hometown.

The class was packed, the teacher was very hard to understand and I felt a little out of place. I went to two or three classes at the gym and, despite my knack for yoga, I lost interest because I didn’t feel inspired. In retrospect, I believe it was because I didn’t connect or relate to the teacher like I did with my “yoga mom” later on in life.

It wasn’t until university, during our summer holiday, that I found myself taking on yoga again. At the time I was bored with my daily life. I was living in Guelph with a boyfriend, far enough out of town that I felt a little secluded. Many of my friends had gone back home for the summer, and the few that remained were occupied with their day jobs. I was working at a club at night, so my days were free for the most part and, aside from a few summer school courses, I had absolutely nothing to do!

Being a student of the nutrition program, I knew the importance of eating a balanced and wholesome diet. I just hadn’t yet found my niche in the world of physical activity. I loved going for long hikes and getting lost on the trails for hours with my dog, but I knew I needed something else. So, seeking inspiration, I started looking for local fitness classes that fit into my backwards schedule.

I came across classes offered by the lovely Carolyn Weatherson at her school, Maha Pura Yoga, which happened to be right down the street from my work. I remember my first class vividly—what a great workout! At the time I was seeking a good workout and nothing more, but boy was I in for a treat!

As the summer went on, I started going to more and more of her classes. I just couldn’t get enough. Although I had always been flexible, I had not stretched regularly since my dancing and gymnastics days many years ago. Seeing improvements with every class really motivated me to stick with it

I remember always looking for praise or acknowledgement from her with my progress. It’s funny how this sticks out in my mind. Because now, as a teacher, I always offer praise to my students for their dedication to their practice.

I became so obsessed with getting the poses right, I started memorizing how Carolyn led us through each one. I could sometimes even anticipate what was coming next, even though her classes were not scripted like many of the larger yoga chains. I wanted to learn more!

Come summer’s end, there was mention about a teacher training she was starting. I told her that I wanted to learn more about yoga and she invited me to come. I went with the intention of simply learning about yoga, the poses and the proper alignment.

I came out with a whole new career and life path.

I had a lot of growing up to do in that time, and I’ve come a long way since that summer. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that yoga has provided me with to listen, reflect, change and grow.

My Personal Development

With time and practice, my senses became heightened. I gained a new sensitivity and awareness. I am able to appreciate the beauty in things, where I never could before. Yoga naturally helped me create balance. It helped me know my body and rhythm and recognize when I am out of sync both on and off of the mat. I feel so in tune with my physical body, and that’s something I didn’t know existed before yoga.

In retrospect, entering Carolyn’s yoga class that day was a turning point in my life. I was at a place where I could have taken an entirely different direction. Luckily, the Universe grabbed my hand and led me to this beautiful, blessed life that I live today.

The things I feared letting go of the most during that phase slowly and naturally fell away without any pain at all. I was able to transcend the low energy environment that I was submersed in, one obstacle at a time.

Since then, yoga has brought me hundreds of positive experiences and opportunities. I’m so grateful it came into my life when it did. It enabled me to soar out of a very dark place.

I have learned more applicable information from my 200-hour teacher training than all my years of traditional schooling combined. Through yoga, I was able to explore my physical body and I was given the space to grow and develop, both in my mind and my career, in ways I could have never imagined.

My Daily Visualization

In my mind I am on a five year plan. I am going to work as hard as I can for the next five years, and take on every opportunity that comes my way. This time frame will be an adventure in itself. Thinking long term, it is my goal to travel the world with yoga –learning, teaching, inspiring and empowering others to overcome personal obstacles and bring about positive change.

It is my intention to positively influence as many lives as I possibly can in my lifetime. I want to make a difference in this world, and sharing my passion is the best way I know how.


Gillian Brown is a nutritionist, vegan yogini, and published holistic living writer based in Toronto. From the earliest of years she found herself fascinated with the composition of the foods we eat. This early intrigue was the basis of her decision to become a vegetarian at just 14 years of age in a household of meat eaters, and as her journey has deepened she continually adapts and grows, recently becoming vegan. This love and passion for all things having to do with health led to a degree in Applied Human Nutrition form the University of Guelph, which later developed into a career as the Director of Nutrition and Yoga for a health and wellness company called Truestar. Her personal experience with the practice of yoga led her to take her yoga teachers training at Maha Pura Yoga. Her experience practicing yoga has changed her life forever and introducing it to others bring her the great joy. Gillian strives to inspire as many people as possible with her posts about living a wholesome, balanced, and sustainable life, with the hope that they too will continue the circularity of this process. She loves to learn new things everyday, teach, and empower others to overcome personal obstacles to bring about positive change and find inner joy and peace.

Follow her blog, Gillianb.com and healthy adventures on Facebook and Twitter!


Editor: Sara McKeown


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