YOGA My yoga mat was my altar where I could breathe, move and stay with each moment, with each day. It is through my yoga practice that I prayed, felt, allowed myself to breathe into the uncertainty and pain of my daily life. I could observe the thoughts, emotions and physical tension that had been holding me back. I clung to the need to control, protect and feel “safe”, only to discover that this kept me from fully living. My yoga practice became a reflection of my inner journey. I practiced yoga daily, breathing and staying with difficult postures that helped me breathe into and stay in the difficult moments in my life where helplessness resided. To move into and feel the inner struggles, fears and overbearing emotions that kept me stagnant on the mat, and off. As I stayed with my breath and was present, I was able to gain strength on the mat and see where I was getting in the way. Where my mind was speaking, not my body. Letting myself be vulnerable on the mat, led to awareness and great compassion, and accepting support and guidance from others. fears to drive me to live a life of courage and purpose, the life of a warrior. I show up each day authentically bringing with me both the light and the dark, and all the magnificence in between. I show up as me. Through yoga, meditation and guidance, I summoned courage to look within myself with kindness and tenderness as I stayed with the uncomfortable moments and the panic attacks where I held my breath in fear. In facing myself, I began the journey of cultivating self-love. I was able to stay with emotions and get grounded within myself, and feel at home in my body, mind and heart. I was starting to feel alive. I gained strength, mental clarity, determination and inner peace that led to daring changes in my life that would shift everything. I stay present with each moment, feeling grateful for everything that comes my way, building a life that fills my inner purpose and fills my whole being with light. I have unlocked my heart and let myself love with abandon, with no certainty of how it will play out. Feelings of doubt and immense fear still show up, but my fierce spirit is stronger. Now, I use my I am grateful for every lesson of this journey, as it has led me back to myself, to feel, live and love with surrender. It led me to strength I never knew I had, and allowed me to dare to be and do things without certainty of the outcome. It has helped me to discover that failure leads to wisdom, creativity and a warrior spirit that never gives up. I AM ALIVE! Ella Isakov is a humanitarian and certified passion for community and Crystal Ellis is an early 30s Yoga gal with a yoga instructor in the Toronto area. She teaches Vinyasa flow, Restorative, and kids yoga classes. She in a continuous learning. She can always be found with her head in a book, is a leader in the Toronto yoga community and on the committee of “Yoga silly yoga pose, or sharing her musings over on her blog or Twitter. With a fiery Unite,” a yoga initiative that holds fundraisingothers to see their awareness personality she constantly strives to motivate events to create greatness, for diverse non-profit organizations at the Toronto area thaton her journey at while always making sure to laugh in herself. Follow along are creating change. Ella is also a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist, writes articles for several yogicrystal.wordpress.com or on Twitter at @YogiCrystal. magazines, is a certified raw food chef, and leads holistic yoga retreats several times a year. For more information on Ella, please visit yoginipath.com and stellarkidsyoga.com.