Becoming Open by Tracy Lynn

How yoga completely changed her life, and how she has dedicated her purpose to giving that back.... 

"I happened to have been raised an athlete. My parents had accolades for their swimming careers and I spent my childhood on pool decks watching bodies achieve amazing things. I was born to move. Designed to harness my muscles. When I was 12 years old, I became clinically depressed, switched schools, committed to a sanitarium, developed an eating disorder and began medicating myself with drugs and alcohol shortly after. Once I hit high school, my priority was medicating, fixing myself and pulling the ripcord from reality. My parents watched the swimming times decrease, watched my body wilt to a whisper and did everything they could to help.

At a mere 17 years old, I was close to death. Daily drinking and drugs, hardly eating. Drinking and driving everyday. Showing up at work and coming home in full blackout. Using my experiences as the reason why I am like this, I found the fork in the road. I hit bottom and knew that I needed to change everything. In December of 2006 I was a young woman that felt like she had lived a lifetime. While the substances and coping mechanisms changed after that, my little body suffered in other ways. Becoming healthy was a marathon, not a sprint. After about one year of sobriety, I was getting better. I had found freedom but knew I was missing a link. The program that helped me spoke about sobriety, community and service but within that triad a parallel triangle was missing: body, mind and spirit.

I was at community college in California and thought to myself, “I need to move.” I felt stuck and heavy. Detached from my body. I intuitively signed up for a yoga course not knowing the journey I was embarking on. I’ll will never forget my first class. When I did my first Surya Namaskar A, I felt my body was a foreign land. Breathing was difficult, planks were phenomenally challenging, but I never once felt like it was something I couldn’t do. I knew that I needed to be here. And as the two hour class wound down, my instructor told us to lay down and to meditate.

Savasana. Quiet. Stillness. A foreign language. Since my drug addiction, it was rare for my mind to seek anything other than relief. Even with a year sober my mind was loud. I was still scared, putting myself through college and having a relationship was difficult enough. I fought the stillness. Then, I surrendered. On that wrestling mat repurposed for a yoga class, I was still. I saw colors swirling and dancing behind my eyelids. And I said to myself, yes. This is it. I finished the semester creating a sequence, not knowing years later that movement and creation of it would be my life.

After years of digging through this all I am still a student. Forever a student. Especially as a teacher I am a student. The asana is the teacher. The pranayama is the teacher. Even if I have done one million Surya Namaskar A’s, I still have everything to learn from them. When I do yoga I imagine my wild self being released and tamed at the same time. Expanding and contracting. Not just my physical body but my consciousness. When my own mentor asks my feet to be connected to Mamma Earth, my heart to be open to the heavens, it feels like the first time. Becoming open is my practice. Knowing that I know nothing is my practice. Learning as a teacher and teaching to learn is my bliss."

...Tracy Lynn Stanbury is a movement guide that believes in the healing power of yoga in all its manifestations. With an eccentric background in athleticism and yoga, Tracy has studied and pulls from her dance experience that includes ethnic movement forms, fire dancing and multiple disciplines of yoga. She guides power vinyasa, sculpt, barre and pilates fusion classes throughout Los Angeles and in mental health facilities. She works to produce an experience that makes her students feel challenged, intrigued and most of all empowered. 

You can find more info on her retreat here >>  Costa Rica Retreat, April 21st to 27th!