I am a Yoga Teacher, and I am Human.

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Sit still. Don’t talk. Don’t think. Basically don’t do anything.

These are the first words I heard during my first class.

The teacher might have stated it a little more gently, something like, “Come into the space and quiet the mind. Become one with your breath.”

In that statement I heard expectation, pressure and fear. I can’t be still, and I’m already thinking about my grocery list! I’m f***ed! I should just leave now, I thought. But I stayed. Luckily my curiosity outweighed my fear.

The class progressed and I slowly became more comfortable. Loud music was turned on and my grocery list started to fade. The pace quickened and I started to sweat. The flow was almost hypnotizing. Before I knew it the class was over. I was laying in a puddle of my own sweat, my was body tired but awakened and my mind was empty.

In that moment I got it.

The movement was my stillness, the music was my silence and the vigor was my “don’t do anything.”

I was hooked.

I started practicing yoga regularly when I was attending school in New York City. Growing up in Sun Valley, Idaho, I was used to the mountains, relaxed pace and open spaces. The city made me feel anxious, scared and almost exhausted. I was craving quiet. I was in need of space and hungry for a deeper connection.

Once I started flow classes at Kula Yoga I was sold. It was my medicine, my drug, and yoga quickly became my spiritual practice.

The same year I began teaching I also gave birth to a son. His name is Jack. He is now five years old, and has Autism. I love the life lessons we are given. I mean, really? How pertinent. Yoga was literally delivered to me in this child. Every moment was my teaching. I was reminded that I had a choice on how to respond, how to react and ultimately how to ease him in a world that is just too much for him to handle.

At first, I felt that same anxiety, fear and exhaustion that I did in New York City. I felt as though I couldn’t handle this. More importantly, how was he supposed to handle this? Deep down, though, I knew that this was the most beautiful teaching I would ever receive.

To me, yoga is about knowing that everything happens for a reason—fate. We trust in what we are given—and when—because ultimately we know it serves a purpose.

We often fight to find decipher reason behind most everything. Sometimes though, it just is.

My son and yoga have both taught me the power of acceptance. My son is yoga.

Yoga also taught me that not only do we get what we can handle, but we also get what we need.

I need Jack, and his daily reminders, just as much as he needs me. I need my yoga. I need my meditation and my music. I need to sweat and move, and I need to lay still. I need my green juice and my wine. I need balance.

We all need balance.

I had to learn that stillness and movement weren’t two separate things but rather that they co-exist.

Thank you, Yoga.
~

Author: Beth Stuart

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Ashley Nicole Photography via Beth Stuart

~

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Beth Stuart

Beth Stuart started teaching vinyasa flow yoga after discovering the transformative power of the practice while attending college in New York City. She is known for her playful and creative sequencing, upbeat music and contagious attitude. Beth sees yoga as a moving meditation and strives to help her students color outside the lines of their practice by inspiring them to be curious and open. Whether you take her vigorous vinyasa flow class or her high-energy hip-hop yoga, you will leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, with a smile on your face. Beth has studied with some of the world’s leading yoga teachers, including Schuyler Grant, David Regelin, Tiffany Cruikshank, and Kathryn Budig—and she constantly seeks out new training in order to grow her own practice and teaching. Off the mat, Beth practices the yoga of mothering with her greatest teacher of all, five-year-old Jack. You can connect with her on Instagram.

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anonymous Aug 27, 2015 2:53pm

I love the true self of this article. Knowing Beth and her son, this article explains her will for life in yoga and Jack. Truly amazing if you ask me. Honored to be a part of this in capturing her beauty and passion for life, yoga and of course her love Jack. Move through the flow of each obstacle. Love this!!

anonymous Aug 27, 2015 12:21pm

Thank you for sharing Beth! You are an amazing woman, mother and yoga teacher. I admire how you have integrated yoga, womanhood, motherhood, and the unique circumstances of raising a child who has Autism. Sharing a glimpse into your life and the balance that you cultivate is inspiring that it is possible to get it all done with grace. Thank you!

anonymous Aug 27, 2015 11:17am

What a great piece! I love hearing how the practice translates into everyday life. It's very admirable to see Beth's point of view regarding her son's diagnosis and how she choose to accept the path they were given and more importantly how to appreciate it.