Stephanie Birch

yoga life, a love story

In my everyday life, I’m a play-at-home mom, yoga teacher, life photographer, writer, online contributor, soul activist, Tahoe-lover, a sucker for dark chocolate, dark beer, coffee, cartwheels, boardgames, and a life well-lived barefoot and pants-less. You can find me practicing on my mat and teaching with a wide-open heart in Sacramento, California. I share the practice and its teachings as a oneOeight guide, blog contributor for lucy activewear, writer, active-duty soul activist, and much more, on and off my mat.

a yoga journey

Quite certain that yoga wasn’t for me; I dragged my feet to my first yoga class expecting the practice to be nothing more than another fitness trend. I took a giant bite of humble pie that evening as I was shaking, sweating, shallow-breathing, and sinking in child’s pose for most of that class. A mix of emotions swirled as I begged for the class to end. What was this “yoga thing”? I thought toweling off after class taking the biggest gulp of autumn air. This “yoga thing” eventually turned into a life-saving thing years later. As a new mom, I was overwhelmed by this new role of motherhood and was desperate to reconnect with myself, and re-booted my practice and love at a local studio. It was the only time of day I carved out to practice within, from inside-out. The yoga had changed for me and feels like I got a second chance, a new way of life.  I have had to take a look at myself and love myself through the not-so-pretty sides of me. I have learned that my story includes accepting my darkness as much as my light. It is often heard in the yoga community, “love and light” but I believe it is much more. For me, it is “love and light and dark.” Meaning that we experience life in ebbs and flow and we are here to go through it all and grow through it all. I knew I wanted to teach to change lives. It sounds a little cliche and perhaps a bit whimsical but I know what this practice is capable of, because I am living it everyday. Being present for students as they show up on their mat is a gift like no other. I have witnessed tears, anger, struggles as well as its successes, joy, peace, and absolute connection to the moment. I believe that a yoga practice is personal, you can make it what you want. Your yoga practice is yours, there is no right way or wrong way, I hold this true for my own practice and teaching, on and off the mat. Whatever you are going through in life – get on your mat; get physical, move your body, touch your body, know your body, love your body. There is possibility that your life can change in tremendous ways from the very sweat you drip onto your mat.

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