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Yoga: My journey to becoming a Yogi

Becoming a yogi seemed like the farthest stretch when looking at me from the surface. I am not your typical yogi. I am a bright blonde, pale woman that has never been to India. I have yet to go to Mysore. Trust me, it’s on my bucket list. So how did a girl from a farm in Southern Missouri find herself sitting in lotus pose for an hour in the year of 2020? How did this young girl that once rode her painted red and white horse end up falling in love with the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras?

Machel Shull, Yoga Teacher and Wellness Author in San Diego, California. My journey to becoming a yogi.

I am going to skip the sad, sorted story of a the empty nest blues because that’s beyond a snooze fest. I am just stating the obvious. However, within those moments we find most humiliating and when we are humbled, a new truth can emerge revealing that missing piece. This is the beginning of my yogi story. This is the story that lead to my love for practicing and teaching yoga.

Please note, what I hope to establish is I am just like you, dearest reader. If I can become a yogi at the age of 45 and make huge strides in improving my health and my wellbeing, so can you. Yoga is accessible to everybody.

I have been seeking happiness ever since I was a child. I remember wondering out to our backwoods on the farm that sat right next to the dirt road just outside of Elkland, Missouri. I just happened to be the youngest of three siblings. My beloved family of five has a frenetic energy of intense love that can feel almost overwhelming at times. When I say intense love, maybe think passionate, dynamic and big-hearted. That was me on the farm; a toe-headed little girl, running around with her siblings, playing chicken and fox on the icy pond in the winters under the bright starry sky, to tending to a huge garden in the summer and picking tomatoes in a 100 degree heat. When I needed an escape, I would seek the silence in nature. I found it in the woods, beneath the trees and bright rays of light casting a golden hue over this one mossy felled tree, that became my great refuge.

I would sit there, amongst the trees, the oak trees, the silver maples, with my back against the mossy dead wooded stump, and look up at how the sun would illuminate the leaves, which created a sweet low humming sound carried by the wind. I could smell the red soil from the hay pasture. I could hear the sounds and experience nature. I can trace my becoming a yogi story back to the farm, those woods, that felled tree and a young girl seeking happiness and inner peace.

And so went the story of my adulthood years, chasing dreams with big ambitions, hoping to discover the magic and happiness I so deeply felt as a young child back on the farm.

I finally tapped into the source of what I was looking for at the age of 45: Yoga.

In 2015, at an all women’s fitness gym in Encinitas, imagine a grown woman liberating herself from fear and loss by learning to hold a headstand away from the wall without support.

Yes, this was me. I began to experience an incredible burst of enthusiasm through mastering different yoga poses and practicing yoga weekly. It was as if the young girl in the woods from my childhood had come to play within my spirit of adulthood on a yoga mat.

I began to focus to cultivating a better daily energy to living through the practice of yoga. My enthusiasm continued the more I practiced my yoga postures. What if I could be my best self? What if I could do more than a headstand? What if I kept following the way of the yogi life?

So that’s what I did. I kept going. I kept practicing yoga. I read many books. I learned sun salutations with Jon Scott’s book on yoga. I went to yoga classes and yoga retreats. Then I took my yoga certification. The story of my yogi journey continues as I teach yoga each week across San Diego County. It’s been such a liberating journey.

And why is this story important to you, dearest reader? Why does it matter? Because if a woman like me that is an ordinary human being from the rural stretches of the Ozarks can figure out how to do the lotus posture, breathe deep and find peace more often, so can you.

It is possible for us to touch this fabulous place within our soul that settles that restless spirit. We just need to breathe better and connect with our body. It’s wonderful to have ambition and dreams. What’s even better is to enjoy life more fully regardless of the circumstances that may propel or limit our achievements.

Sadhguru shares in his book INNER ENGINEERING: “The human body can function as flesh and blood or the very source of our creation.”

I feel as if this quote captures the essence of what yoga can do for all of us.

Thank you for stopping by my yoga site. My wish is to inspire anyone feel a little better and happier by practicing yoga.

Machel Shull

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