Tracy Adkins, Ayurvedic Counselor, MSN, NP
Originally by trade I have been a Registered Nurse for 20 years and a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner for 16 years. Working with adolescents and young adult women resonated with me more than any other demographic since the beginning of my practice. My first and favorite job as a young, naive Nurse Practitioner was in an inner-city clinic serving an underserved, under privileged population of adolescents, men and women, for reproductive health. I loved it. Their vulnerability, their desire to learn – I was fascinated how they held it together. I was serving as a Nurse Practitioner fresh out of school at age 27, having grown up in a tiny town in a sheltered home – yet that was my place. There was a reason I was there yet I did not know it yet.
A fitness enthusiast all my life, I have been practicing yoga for 15 years, my first teacher being Sheri. At first it was a means for cross training while I was an avid runner. After two broken hips after my fourth child in 2009 I realized running was no longer serving me well and began an in-depth personal study into the history, philosophies and evolution of yoga. Yoga and Ayurveda, whose histories collided centuries ago, quickly became a lifestyle for me and my family. Their principles for living, loving and conducting yourself on realms of life resonated with me completely. I found myself wanting to learn Ayurveda on a more scientific and therapeutic level and enrolled in an Ayurvedic Practitioner, Body Therapy, and Panchakarma Technician program.
Still studying yoga under the keen and skilled direction of Sheri, she encouraged me to join her in yoga teacher training in 2015; I accepted the challenge never intending to teach yoga, but to provide myself with personal enrichment. What I learned was less in the way of the look of poses, but more in the way of why we do yoga, self discovery and humility.
My yoga philosophy:
Yoga – which means “yolk”, “union”, “one with god” – developed for very beautiful reasons: for just that – to unify with god, purify the body and liberate the mind. This is not to say that strengthening the body does not have its benefits, for higher (spiritual) levels of yoga cannot be achieved if the body is weak, sick, injured or fatigued. “But using it (yoga) for physical practice is no good, of no use – just a lot of sweating, pushing, and heavy breathing for nothing. the spiritual aspect, which is beyond the physical, is the purpose of yoga. when the nervous system is purified, when your mind rests in the atman (the self), then you can experience the true greatness of yoga.” ~ jois Yoga is unfortunately poorly understood in the west and often viewed as just the latest health craze or another opportunity for commercialization of the fitness industry. This is a severe injustice to an ancient Indian tradition intended to help us achieve liberation. Yogis believe the supreme being resides within all that exists, and all humans, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender, have the ability to achieve moksha (oneness with God). No one person is saved or condemned, but rather earns the fruits of his actions, words, and thoughts, or arms, and advances spiritually by acting in accordance with “dharma”, or righteousness.
It is with this understanding that yoga should be examined.
“Asanas are not meant for physical fitness, but for conquering the (five) elements, energy and so on. So, how to balance the energy in the body, how to control the five elements, how to balance the various aspects of the mind without mixing them all together, and how to be able to perceive the difference between the gunas, and to experience that there is something behind them, operating in the world of man – that is what asanas are for. The process is slow and painstaking, but a steady inquiry facilitates a growing awareness.” ~ Iyengar
Thus, the real work of yoga begins when you step off your mat, not on it.
How do you live? How do you act when no one is watching? Do you love others unconditionally?
THIS IS YOGA.
Although I enjoy teaching everyone the philosophy of Yoga and Ayurveda on and off the mat, I will always have a strong affection for young girls & women and anyone struggling with self love and acceptance. It is clear now my path: the utilization of Western medicine and the wisdom of Eastern tradition to help others achieve their best selves.
I look forward to meeting you at Prajna!