My Yoga Journey – Happy International Yoga Day!

After joining several gyms, going to spin classes and spending hours on treadmills I just wanted something that made me feel good… a way to move my body and feel. In 2013, I bought my first yoga mat and yoga DVDs. This was the shallow beginning of my practice. I can’t quite remember what it was about yoga that pulled me in – I think it was the sense of calmness coupled with strength that I felt while practicing.

Here’s a picture from early 2014 when I actually started documenting my journey. Getting into headstand was literally one of the best feelings. I didn’t have guidance or know exactly what I was doing but I did it  This picture represents so much for me.

Push your limits. Seeing how long I can hold it. So far, 30 seconds before I try to straighten my legs and fall 😄 #lunchbreak #inversion #yoga #headstand

A post shared by Yoga | Food | Hailey ✌🏼️🌻✨ (@haileyheishman) on

Going into 2014 I knew I wanted to practice more, but I was in my first full year of working in the advertising industry and very caught up in what that meant for me (or what I thought it was supposed to mean). It was everything I’d been working toward and my career was taking off. I put a ton of energy toward “I will be an industry leader speaking at events, winning awards and being published everywhere”, without truly asking myself why I wanted those things. Just to be known? For respect in the industry? I’m still not really sure.

In between time, I attended some free vinyasa power yoga classes, bikram yoga classes and continued to practice at home with my DVDs, haha! It was nice and felt right but I wasn’t fully committed to my practice in my heart yet.

I wanted to succeed so badly in the advertising industry, that it took over for the next year before I fully started craving peace and balance. I kept hearing myself say I just want peace and balance. Peace and balance. I need peace and balance.

In early-mid 2015, I fully said to myself, “I have to create peace and balance in my life. There is no other choice.” From that moment I’ve always kept peace and balance in mind. I was still attending free classes and buti yoga here and there but my home practice was where everything was starting to get more serious. It was definitely a mixture of I can do this at home to save money and I’m not ready to practice with others until I get better (Which is ridiculous – don’t think like that!!!)

In early summer 2015 when my roommate moved to Florida and an intense relationship that I was in was ending life came crashing down all at once. I knew I had to start figuring out what to do on my own, as a literal individual. At this point I had done 5 whole30’s and was really into documenting progress. So I took some pictures of myself and starting creating my first timelapse yoga videos.

I really wanted to complete my yoga teacher training but financially knew I had to wait. And looking back at it, I certainly wasn’t in the right place to take that on. So I would roll my mat out and practice at home. Sometimes for a few minutes and other times for hours. I was living alone for the first time in my life trying to find a way to be comfortable with the silence and free space. For the rest of the year I worked on dedicating time to be with myself. To explore uncomfortable places through yoga and writing and just be present with myself every time I showed up on my mat.

In March of this year I enrolled in my 200 hr teacher training, which starts in November, and simply I can’t wait to begin. I know I’m ready (even if we are never truly ready) to take it all in 100%, be present, and learn so much more about yoga, my practice and myself.

This year has been monumental for me. I spend a lot of time around people who are much more advanced than me and it can be overwhelming at times. But, through these relationships I am able to learn the art of not comparing myself to anyone else and practice lots and lots of self-love.

Yoga has humbled me, made me stronger, made me cry (many many times), and helps me continually grow into a more loving and patient person. The friends I’ve gained and the connections I’ve made are priceless. So thank you to my friends, Kara, Maria, Leo, Alex , Dana & more. I love you all and am thankful for everything you’ve taught me, both yoga and non-yoga related <3

I have a lot of people telling me they love my yoga pictures and asking how to start. The answer is simple… you just start. Some may think it’s cheesy, but yoga is truly for everyone. Every shape, every gender, every age. Every one. This is a community of people, not an exclusive group that you have to be able to do a handstand to be accepted into.

And to end, as always, a quote from Rachel Brathen –

“The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal.

The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love, well… You

Come to your yoga mat to feel;  not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow.”