I started practicing Ashtanga around 2000 with my mother. I am fortunate in that both of my parents practice yoga and my mother, Louise Ellis, is a certified Ashtanga teacher. She was my first teacher, starting me with suranamaskar when I was a teenager.
My first trip to Mysore, India to study with Pattabhi Jois was in 2005. The led primary class was the hardest thing physically I had done in my life at that point, until doing led intermediate with Sharath several years later.
After college in 2006, I moved abroad to teach yoga and English classes. I spent most of my twenties living and working in Europe, Turkey, Mexico, and of course, India. I assisted my mother in workshops in Italy, England, Finland, the Canary Islands, India, Mexico, and Thailand. After three trips to Mysore between jobs, I was given level 2 authorization to teach in 2012.
I came back to the US from my last Mysore trip straight into law school. One of the things that stuck with me from yoga philosophy and practice is the idea of using your abilities to help other people. I was interested in how law works and also frustrated by what I perceive as the unjust treatment of vulnerable and oftentimes powerless people. I graduated with high honors and came to San Antonio to practice immigration law, representing immigrants in court and in their applications for immigration benefits. The dedication, discipline, and energy required for daily Ashtanga practice mirrors what is required of this type of law practice.
I found Ana’s studio right away and come every chance I get. The caliber of teaching and the empathy of the teachers at Yoga Shala San Antonio is incomparable.
One the main aspects of this practice for me is that I can take it anywhere. It is consistent and has been with me for half of my life. The best way I can describe it is that it squares me and puts my thoughts, my body, the way I breathe, my awareness, and my reactions in an orderly, clear line. The postures are the same but you never are and it is fascinating to watch that process day after day. It has made me better at understanding people, at being patient, at being diligent, truthful, and honest with myself and with others. It has afforded me a steadiness and resilience that I hope everyone can experience.