We don’t choose our family, they choose us.
I am blunt, too pragmatic, too realistic and can be really, really stubborn.
There is not a compartmentalized version of myself that you meet.
When you meet me, you actually meet me.
I am not going to pretend that I am better than I am, I won’t fool you about how great – or how shitty everything is, and I won’t tell you how to embrace the possibility of abundance for your life.
I do as much yoga as much as I can, which sometimes is not as much as I’d like. I have bad balance from a previous accident and have been known to fall when pushed. I am focused and purposely oblivious to certain people and can also be selective with tunnel vision, but that’s mainly because I know what I’m passionate about.
Gravity and reality win, so don’t waste time in the upper echelons of hypothetical-aristocracy.
I am one of the few who changed the entire yoga industry just enough to wake people up.
The yoga community is blind to the fact that Yoga Alliance has done an 180-degree turn from their initial stance on Government related yoga-regulation.
Between the years of 2009 and 2010, Yoga Alliance informed local state and federal government agencies how to tax yoga teachers as vocational “careers.”
This documented ALL yoga studios and ALL yoga teachers to become Yoga Alliance members. They met with officials at the federal education by instigating a nationwide – city and state – fact finding mission about tax loophole that would effect taxing teacher training’s.
They are now attempting to become a US Government Certified 501c6 Trade Organization so they can monopolize and control worldwide yoga goes as a practice.
The questions to ask yourself are:
- Does the current Yoga Alliance credentialing actually serve yoga teachers?
- If Yoga Alliance certification are not legitimately checked, then why is it valid?
- Has anyone can paid money to become a YA Certified 200/500 and been accepted as yoga teachers without completing an actual teacher training?
- If the Yoga Alliance certification only benefits the topical insecurity of the American public and DOES NOT address the fundamental concerns of the yoga customers, then what is the real point of having Yoga Alliance?
- Did Yoga Alliance preemptively call local state governments encouraging them to ADOPT the benign 200/500 hour yoga teacher training credentialing, as it states on their actual FACEBOOK Statement?
- Does Yoga Alliance have their motives in the right place, because until 2011 they have been utterly silent?
- Why aren’t their clear cut directions on how a yoga teacher is to become better qualified, or medically qualified?
If you want to remember anything, remember that there were only a few people in yoga who took an active stand against Yoga Alliance, when all the corporate entities decided it was more important to protect their earnings than to talk about the truth.
If you think I am negative, or if you think I am too blunt.
Then what can I say?
For myself, yoga is the individual personal practice that allows someone to surpass their own limitations.
How about you?
I was born on December 17th, 1973, in Decatur, Georgia, at 11:35am. Adopted at two weeks of age by my loving parents, Edward and Hazel Castellani, one adopted brother, David Castellani, and one half-birth sister, Vera Anne Stover.
Currently, each of my family members live on complete opposite spectrums’ of the United States. My Parents are in Florida, brother in Washington State, my half sister lives in Texas.
The reason why I find yoga useful is specifically for the medical benefits I receive from it …. and personal growth I have experienced though practicing yoga.
On December 4, 1993, I was in an incident where I was beaten to death and suffered a head injury. That means specifically I had brain damage.
I was in a four-day coma and when I came too, my eyes had crossed, I had trouble speaking, I lost all equilibrium and mobility on primarily my left side, and could not walk unassisted.
I was at Harborview Hospital in Seattle for a month doing physical therapy and speech therapy. I eventually left the hospital in a wheelchair, later graduated to a walker, and then for some time after, I used a cane. The doctors prognosis of my injury upset my parents and friends a great deal, and it is probably one of the lowest points of my life. I also feel it is 100% responsible for my tenacity, resilience and ability to have courage when there is absolutely no reason to.
Doctors conveyed that physical rehabilitation would be a life long process, and that people with traumatic brain injuries have little to no hope of significantly changing.
In retrospect, the information was sparse and fragmented and the negative “sentences” that the doctors gave was more of a poor legal disclaimer. Even though there are effects today, it wasn’t an accurate hypothetical of my situation. Life deals tough breaks, and in many head injury cases the situation is much worse. How was I to know what would happen in the future? How is anyone supposed to know, for that matter? They didn’t, and no one can foretell the future.
I had never been in a position where my reality had been so altered. There was nothing I could do but accept and adapt. My eyes were crossed and my left foot would not “sync” with a regular pattern of walking. There was nothing I could do about it. I had to focus on what I could do mostly because I couldn’t understand half of what was said to me for years to come. For 8 years I found myself off balance, quite literally. I practiced my pronouncing words in a mirror for over a year and a half. Even today, I will stop mid-sentence and re-start a sentence if I feel as though I am saying it improperly. Some people think I write this for understanding or a need for compassion, but don’t let that fool you, I just want to move on. The incident itself has altered my life enough. I have accepted it as being a part of who I am and I have moved on. I have carried so much rage over the circumstances of December 4th and it effected me to such an extent, that they have shadowed the entire decade of my twenties.
In 2008, I made the discovery that I had a younger half-sister Vera Anne and also confirmed that my roots are Greek, Cherokee and slightly Welsh.
Regrettably, my birth mother Mary Jo Stover passed away April 22nd, 2005.
Today I have close relationships with my adopted family and a close and loving relationship with my sister. My conclusion? We don’t always choose our family’s, they choose us.
I remember many things about my mostly loving childhood, but above all, the reoccurring theme that stands out to me is in the 7th grade, when I first noticed a world beckoning to me.
I am not a theoretical person, I am quite literally a creative “take your time, but hurry up,” kind of person. Some believe that life is about suffering silently, and that by remaining silent a person can remain cozy in their safe suffering… and one day they will graduate to the new society of real martyrdom. Skeptical bosses and skeptical employees are two vehicle of the same sad little fat diseased pigeons in the park. Being a nay-sayer makes you incredibly constipated, negative and manipulative person who lives only by limited definitions and known variables. Your silence will not save you.
I started yoga in 2006, when I first started working at Yoga Journal Magazine as a temporary employee. I was then hired on permanently, and my practice continued to flourish. Today, with regular and consistent practice, I have seen huge improvements in my physical, mental and emotional abilities, in every area – but, particularly my left side.
I am now doing things that I seriously never thought I would be able to do again…like regaining range of motion in my left leg, getting better with balance and (oddly enough, because I don’t wear my glasses when I practice) my depth perception. Yoga humbles me on a regular basis and I am constantly amazed by how my life continues to change. With the best of intentions, I would encourage anyone to start today.
I have since left Yoga Journal to start Yoganomics, continuing to work in fields related to yoga. I am currently more engaged with individual studio’s and individual teachers, than I ever have been.
Yoga has opened up the world to me in so many different ways and now it’s my intention is to give back to the community that I now call home.
In November 2009, I started Yoganomics. I spend a great deal of time alone because I am in the most unknown territory that I have yet to experience. Sometimes I am completely terrified and other times I think I just might make it.
I try to practice yoga 4-5 days a week. Feel free to drop me a line if you’re in town and want to go to a class. Yoga has given me a worldwide community of people I love being around, and each person I get to meet, I always walk away feeling blessed.
My advice to you, the avid yoga practitioner, the beginning yoga practitioner, the person struggling with no faith, and the zealot who won’t shut up…
Everybody wants to prove you both wrong and right. They want to say they knew you before you crashed and burned and they want the credit when you get back on your feet.
You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. Not your boss, not your wife, not your husband, not your friends and not your family.
The only one that has to live with yourself is you, so find your greater purpose and survive.
If I can die, be brought back to life, and repeatedly fail, be crazier than anyone would ever suspect, be told (repeatedly) that I will fail, go through fits of anxiety AND still make it… then so can you, my friend.