Week 11 - @liljillkuz

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This week's yogi of the week winner was Jill Kuzman with this gorgeous (and precarious!) shot taken at this year's Burningman festival. Her story is one that is sure to inspire and her adventurous spirit envied - read more about this adrenaline junkie come yoga fanatic & look forward to hearing more as she's just come on board as one of our Travelling Ambassadors!


Her Journey:

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2 years ago I had a bad BASE jumping accident and broke my left femur. The recovery was long, painful and at times, lonely. I didn't realize then, but that was the start of a new life path for me. I was cleared to walk again after a few months, but I was limited to no impact activities. A friend suggested I try yoga as a means of physical therapy. I bought a 10 class card and blew through it in 9 days. I couldn't believe how much better my leg felt after each yoga class! I was physically addicted after my 2nd class, but this isn't where my story of yoga healing ends...

In 2010 I lost a very dear friend. After a loss that close to my heart, I had shut down on an emotional level. I had come a long way in the grieving process, but I still held back a lot. After about 2 weeks of yoga classes, I sat in a guided meditation at the end of the practice. Suddenly, I felt a flood of emotion come over me. It was like nothing I had felt before. It wasn't sadness. It wasn't happiness. It was just pure emotion. It was everything I had been emotionally holding in for the past 2 years. Yoga had broken down that wall in the quietest, most subtle way.

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Tears flowed down my cheeks. After class my instructor came over and gave me a hug. She said, now you've truly practiced yoga. From that point on I looked at the world through different eyes. Through eyes of kindness, gratitude and compassion. I will be forever grateful for the release that yoga gave me from my own constraints.

Her Travels:

I wasn't always a traveler. I wanted to be, but was held back by my own excuses. I always told myself that I had to work too much or I didn't have enough money. 7 years ago, I found BASE jumping. It was my catalyst to stop making excuses and start taking action.

I moved to Colorado, then Utah, Arizona and now California. I began traveling all over the states. Seeing as many places I could. A few years back, I went to South Africa. It was my first time leaving the continent. I was amazed at all the riveting and kind souls I encountered. Seeing another culture, one that was so different from everything I knew changed something inside of me. I was hooked. I wanted to see the world!

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Now that I've found yoga, being able to travel and practice has opened up my heart even more than I could have ever imagined. I'm suddenly ok with being the weird girl busting out yoga moves in inspiring places because my heart tells me to. Some places just beg to be practiced on.

This summer I was in Switzerland, hiking up the Eiger to BASE jump off it. I was about halfway up the hike when I saw a circle on rocks someone had built on the ground. To the annoyance of my fellow hikers, I insisted on stopping there to practice for a few moments. Yoga has taught me so much about being present, that even when the destination is an incredible adrenaline filled BASE jump, the journey is a stunning view of endless valleys, snow capped mountain peaks, sparkling crystal lakes and the most beautiful yoga studio that I have ever been blessed to practice in.

Jill is also one of our Travelling Ambassadors! Check out her profile on the "Meet Our Travellers" page! 

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Week 10 - @studio_elvi

This week's winner, Ellen ( @studio_elvi) took her winning shot in a  field of golden tulips in the Netherlands... This immediately brought to mind a famous William Wordsworth poem, 'I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud'  - although the poet speaks of daffodils:

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.


Her Yoga Journey:

I started practising yoga in 2010. Just a couple of months after my first class I already started with a teacher training because I felt that this was something I could and wanted to do. From then on I tried different types of yoga. From my background, working as a physiotherapist and a masters study in psychology, I was looking for a form of yoga which I could relate to and that combined asana with anatomy, psychology, yoga philosophy and could also be used therapeutically.  After my first experience with critical alignment yoga everything fell into place and I knew that this was what I was looking for. It really changed my life. From that moment on yoga is part of my everyday life of practising, studying and teaching.
This year I opened my yoga studio in the Hague, the Netherlands: Studio ELVI.
What I love about yoga that it really is a never ending practice. As a teacher I am able to share this and learn more  through my students. For which I am grateful.

Her Travels:

When travelling I always bring my mat and rubber strip (a tool we use in critical alignment yoga) and take the time to practice. I love practicing outside. When the weather is good I usually go to my favourite spot in the park near my home. But the best yoga  spot so far was when I travelled to South Africa and could practice in the early morning at the seaside while dolphins were swimming by. Since I started posting yoga pictures on instagram I have taken my practice more and more off the mat and into the streets. It brings a new dimensions when exploring new places and I can combine my love for photography with my passion for yoga.