rachel delong2

I began yoga many years ago by going to classes at a local studio.   At the time I was a competitor, I had spent a most of my early adult life competing in triathlon, running, snowboarding, white water kayaking and adventure racing. I was extreme, everything that I took on I pushed to the fullest so that I could to be the best that I could be at it.  In one sense I did it because when I’m passionate about something I go “All In” and on the other side I used it to validate who I was.  In my mind I thought, “If I’m great at something, people will like me, one of those people being myself.” I went to yoga because I heard it would enhance my athletic endeavors. Literally my first couple months of classes people laughed with me as I made my way into what resembled the poses the teacher was calling out.  The first few years of yoga fed my need for perfection and competition.

 

It wasn’t until I had my first son and I began going to Baptiste Power Vinyasa classes that something shifted in a big way for me.  I remember the words the teacher said as I laid in savasana, “Who are you and what is your dharma”?  I left class that day filled with curiosity and knowing there was more to this practice than just the physical and there was definitely more to me than how I was choosing to live.

 

My first son was 8 months old at the time.  Being a mother was something that I had placed in the category of “I’m going to be the best mom”.   I grew up with a mother who was an alcoholic; therefore she was  in and out of my life, no father and a very unstable life.  So, I knew I wanted to create something different in my own family.  As I took a long hard look at myself I knew I needed to make change in order to give my son something different.  Based on the life training of my childhood, which was strictly survival, I was choosing to be a victim, to blame, and to numb.  I saw that I needed to heal, make change and let go of my past.  That’s when yoga began to transform my life and me.  It worked because I worked it with courage and a fierce commitment to seeking the truth.  It was not easy and some days still aren’t.

 

As I practiced, grew and saw the shift within me, there was a calling for me to be a part of sharing the practice.  That’s when I went to Level 1 with Baron Baptiste.   The training opened my eyes and my heart to the fact that I wasn’t so different and alone as I perceived.  I felt a connection to myself, to others and to a higher power like I never had.  Despite being absolutely petrified I started teaching right when I got back.   I knew deep within my core that it was my purpose.  I’ve continued on my journey doing trainings with Baron and other teachers like Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling.  I am life long student of yoga; it continues to take me into the depths of self-love, compassion, self-acceptance,  and connection with others.

 

I teach because I LOVE, LOVE ,LOVE yoga and I want people to have a greater understanding of them selves so that they may find freedom within in their own hearts to live a life of abundant possibility and a connection to something greater than themselves.  My practice/teaching is what holds me accountable for staying true to what’s most important to me.  It keeps me connected to love, spirit and being of service in every way.  It inspires me to be the best version of myself in all areas of my life, not from perfecting rather as a practice.    That’s what I want for everyone on the planet!!!!

 

I have been blessed to be a part of teaching and expanding the Girl PowHer yoga program.  Working with the girls is extremely rewarding and fun.  It’s a constant reminder of where I came from.  I now look back on all the hardship and uncertainty of my youth and I am grateful.  That experience was a gift that I get to share with the girls and that lights me UP.

 

I also have the great pleasure of working with Africa Yoga Project, a non-profit in Kenya spreading yoga across communities in Africa.