The first time I stepped on a yoga mat was in 2001 for reasons other than getting physically fit. At the time I was working 12-15 hour days teaching high school band (along with assisting in visual design and writing work for the color guard and winter guard programs) for a successful music program in Richardson, TX. Teaching movement classes, being an avid swimmer and dancing for as long as I can remember, I always considered myself to be in shape but when I started teaching high school in 1996 it was the stress that took its toll on my physical being. Being the Head Band Director at a 5A high school in Oklahoma without an assistant and doing everything from arranging music to writing marching drill, I developed severe stomach problems and was only 22! After spending a few years ignoring and “masking” these issues, I knew something had to change on a much deeper level—I was too young to feel that way. My first yoga class (which was not power yoga) was a bit intimidating and left me wondering if yoga was right for me. But after doing a little research and learning about a multitude of yoga styles, I thought I should give it another try—and Power Yoga it was.I was hooked from the beginning and felt indescribable after. All my life music has been my passion, but as I delve deeper into my yoga practice things started to shift—I felt like I was figuring out who I was and coming into my own. As cliché as it sounds, it made
me whole. And it was after one of my students said, “Ms. Johnson, you sure have been nice lately” that I decided I wanted to share this amazing practice with anyone who would listen.
After 2 years of practicing, I decided to go through a training program and in 2003, I received my 200-hour certification. Since then, I have had the opportunity to learn from Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, Ana Forrest, Brian Kest, Tom Worley, and Jessica Young.v
Yoga has completely changed my perception on life, myself, and the world around me. It is the one of the few places you can truly be you—there are no egos, and no judgments. I believe it is a very raw and exposed practice where you learn to find, explore, and accept your true self: every strength, and every weakness . I once heard a teacher say that “if you want to get to know yourself, do a little yoga.” I have used that statement in my classes ever since—it can not be said in simpler terms.
In short, I went from conducting at the Meyerson to sweating on a mat. And I wouldn’t change a thing.