Hatha yoga is a more holistic and love-filled form of movement. It's not about looking a certain way or getting to a higher level, it's about loving yourself and getting to know yourself on a deeper, more intimate level. Click here to learn how Lani, a Yoga Teacher and Nurse, uses yoga and mindful movement to cultivate compassion, gentleness, and healing within her own body.

I’m so thrilled to have Lani, a big-hearted yoga teacher and nurse, as a guest on the blog today! She’s a beloved friend in real life and I’m also a biiig fan of what’s she doing over on Instagram.

After reading my recent post on how to find joy in movement, Lani reached out hoping to share her joyful movement journey. I welcomed her wisdom because I feel so many of my readers will find comfort in her struggles and inspiration from her discoveries (because I know I did!)…

I started Ballet class when I was five. I would trot around in a little pink tutu and pigtails and get distracted by my leotard. At that time in my life, it was what I needed to explore movement, but as I grew older, I was going to class more frequently and practicing in my bedroom on my days off.

Things quickly progressed, and dance was taking up most of my time. However, the more it became a job, the less it became something I loved to do. It wasn’t a fun art form that made me feel special and joyful anymore. I started to feel apathetic towards dance.

Perhaps I didn’t completely realize what was happening at the time, but I saw the older dancers around me struggle with eating disorders, broken bones, stress, exhaustion, and anxiety. Now I realize the damage that was associated with my Ballet training may have contributed in manifesting problems such as anxiety, perfectionism, as well as joint and bone issues.

I stopped practicing ballet and there was a short period of time where I didn’t do anything physical. I was disinterested in dance and no longer practiced dance stretches or exercises on my own in my bedroom.

I didn’t care about joining sports teams at school and I also hated gym class. I felt lazy and disinterested in movement.

It wasn’t until I discovered the yoga pose Cobra while helping my father warm up for the play he was in. He told me that it helped to expand the chest, and throat and aided actors and singers in using their voice and breath better.

He showed me how to take big breaths while holding the pose, and then showed me how to link the breath with the body. I was very intrigued by the mysterious name of the pose and how it could do all those things my dad claimed.

After getting out of the pose, I was so stunned by how it made me feel. It was like I had felt when I danced, only better! I felt the joy in movement once again and was excited to learn other poses and exercises like it!

I researched more about yoga and started to practice it on my own in my room just how I had done with Ballet moves. I began to find joy in other movements again, walking, swimming in the ocean, running track, and even joining dance again!

Now, I still find joyful movement in yoga, but also many other things. If I like dancing around my house to Rihanna, then that is my joyful movement for the day. If I feel super energized and inspired, I may have a hot and sweaty 2-hour yoga practice.

If I am near a body of water, I may swim and float and find passion there. If I’d like to feel the warm spring rain on my cheeks then I go for an afternoon walk joyfully pet the wet flowers on my way. I am having a down day and struggling with stress, my joyful movement is taking a child’s pose and stretching out my tense muscles.

Some days, I do nothing at all. And yes, I feel inclined, once in a while, I do ballet stretches as my joyful movement.

I encourage you to find joy by exploring different forms of movement. Lavishly enjoy whatever movement makes you feel beautiful, strong, and happy. Start out small, be gentle with yourself and do not get upset if you miss a day of movement.

Search for the joy and see where it brings you.”

Lani is a Yoga Teacher and Nurse living in East Vancouver. Other than downward dogs and helping people feel their healthiest, she loves cooking, thrift shopping, indulging in delicious food, and wearing glitter. When she is not working, you can find her chilling out close to the ocean, or enjoying walks in the forest.

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