Almost every yogi we encounter tells us how yoga changed their lives — for the better, of course. They talk about how they went from being uninspired, tired in body and soul, and, mostly, feeling general unhappiness. When they began yoga, however, they found new meaning: New reasons to find joy and inspiration in the smallest things, to wonder at the most previously mundane things. They found new strength and power in their bodies.
Ultimately, they found happiness — on the inside.
No one could better describe this journey than our featured teacher this month, Doug Giffin. His story is incredible, inspiring, and the story of so many yogis — you might find elements of yourself in his words.
Once per month, we’ll be featuring one of Montezuma’s teachers so you can get to know them a little better, or a little more. Please feel free to post questions for future blogs on our Facebook page!
How has yoga changed your life?
I found yoga at age 45. I have never been athletic and I was unhealthy and unhappy, overweight, working two jobs, sometimes three. And going through a separation of a 22-year relationship. I was stressed to the max. I knew I had two ways I could go: up or down. Yoga brought me to a place of connection and calmness. It allowed me to release my attachments to material things and find contentment in all aspects of life. I also left my corporate life and started spending winters on the beach in Montezuma. In 2017, I fulfilled my dream of going to the source of yoga in Rishikesh, India, and completed my first teacher training. It is a gift to be able to share this practice with others. It continues to shape and transform my life.
What is your favorite pose?
Virabhadrasana 2. It represents such steadiness and focus and brings calmness and stillness to the mind. And brings the entire body into play.
Least favorite pose?
Utthita hasta padangustasana, but I do it anyways.
When and how did you find yoga?
I walked into my first yoga class in November 2012 at the suggestion of a personal trainer. I had joined a fitness center and luckily they offered yoga. I thought it looked easy. Boy, was I wrong! But I was hooked after my first class.,
Share one piece of wisdom you wish you’d known earlier.
Seeking happiness in external things — money, career, material possessions, relationships — leads to an endless cycle of desire and unfulfillment. It is in connecting with the Atman, or Self, that one discovers joy and bliss.
Thanks to Doug for his amazing answers! Stay tuned for our next Ask a Yogi blog.