Growing up I was overweight, lacked self confidence and had an overall negative self image. I felt awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin, and my general disposition was removed and depressed. Physically, I was in pain in my upper back neck and shoulders from the years of poor posture caused by my attitude toward life. When I started exercising on my own, I didn’t understand what a full picture of health looked like and was still disconnected from my body. I was in my first year of college, and had become addicted to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to deal with the overwhelming feelings I was struggling with.
I desperately wanted to change it, but had no idea how.
I attended a lecture given by a true health enthusiast as a requirement for my Psychology class. You might not remember this ad campaign, but he was the guy from the Chiquita banana commercials that’s jumping hurdles.
He stressed the importance of stretching and going upside down on a daily basis,
something that wasn’t a part of my routine. The man was 80 years old and radiated health … he could still jump hurdles and run a 6-minute mile. He had students from the class come punch him in the abs while he was flexing to demonstrate how strong he was. Needless to say, it was entertaining yet also inspiring.
One morning on the way to class I saw a flyer for a yoga class. I figured if I went, they would make me stretch and go upside down. Plus, I was living a toxic lifestyle and rationalized that yoga could be a means to a healthier life. I’m not going to lie, I struggled with the shapes and was sweating profusely trying to keep up. But something unusual happened at the end of the class.
My head got quiet. And I felt calm and peaceful.
It didn’t last long, but I got a little glimpse of what I was looking for. I continued to stick with it, and pretty soon I started feeling more connected to my body. I noticed that when I participated in drinking or getting high, I didn’t feel the same connection and relief that I felt at the end of that first yoga class. Pretty soon I was practicing yoga every day, so there was no more time to eat junk or or stay out late drinking as I knew I wouldn’t like how I felt the next morning on the mat.
Yoga slowly changed my life, one day at a time.
I changed who I would hang out with, I started making healthier decisions, and built a community of like-minded friends who were supportive.
I knew from my experience on my mat, that a challenge was an opportunity for growth.
I could struggle with something in my yoga practice, but If I kept working on it, soon I would develop style and grace, or I would gain a whole new perspective.
I kinda fell into teaching yoga. I was in my third year at San Diego State University, living in Ocean Beach. Some friends encouraged me to start teaching yoga classes to pay my rent for the summer instead of returning home like I was planning. I taught my few guinea pig friends, and posted flyers all over town that a friend made that looked super legit.
A studio owner saw my flyers and asked me to come in for an audition. Soon, I was subbing classes and teaching a Saturday morning yoga class, which I really had no business doing. In fact, I remember one Saturday morning a student asked me how to do Half Moon Pose, and all I could say was, “just watch me.” I knew deep down that I had to commit to change the way I was living and pursue studying with a master yoga teacher.
After graduating San Diego State University, I started training with Megan Bello from Orange County Yoga Studio. Soon after, I began an apprenticeship with Anna Delury while regularly taking workshops with Manouso Manos. The opportunity to study with such knowledgeable Iyengar teachers was priceless and eye-opening. The Iyengar method made sense to me; it was concrete, focused and effective.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to Vinnie Marino’s class that I realized I could take ideas from my Iyengar foundation and blend my own style of Vinyasa Flow.
I truly enjoy practicing at home, in fact it was one of the many reasons I started my YouTube channel. But when I have the opportunity, my favorite teachers to study with are Paul Cabanis,Vinnie Marino, Megan Bello, and Manouso Manos.
My YouTube channel, Yoga With Tim, was important, because it gave me a way to share yoga with people for free, and give a variety of practices for all types of people.