Satya Jewelry: What made you start your yoga practice?
Taylor Harkness: I was a rock climber living in Florida, land of… no rocks! So after lots of training in the gym, I was ready for something new to break up the routine. My best friend took me to a yoga class and it was unlike anything I had ever done before. I was also working as a Paramedic at the time and in need of restoring some balance to my life and my schedule. Yoga changed my life. That’s not hyperbole. Yoga actually changed every facet of my life- from eating and sleeping habits, to physical awareness, to the ways in which I view the world. I’m eternally grateful for every step along this journey.
SJ: What is the best part of your journey in becoming a young yogi?
TH: The people. No doubt about it. I’ve always been a people person, but lots of people had let me down. I was also growing tired of seeing people hurt, sick, or not taking care of themselves. As much as I loved my job on the ambulance and the sense of fulfillment it gave me in providing service to others, I was burning out. We sometimes idolize the calm, hippy-dippy, gracious yoga practitioner. But, yogis are still human. Yogis have showed me that we all still have insecurities, tempers, and bad days. But as yogis, we have tools to combat the worries and pressures. Yogis show up, they own their good parts and not so good parts, and they are constantly working on bettering themselves while encouraging others to do the same. I’ve never loved people more than I do now.
SJ: Who have been the most influential people in your life that lead you to the most growth?
TH: My family, for starters. They have always encouraged me to be exactly who I am and to do what makes me feel best. They have my back and they hold my heart. My friends do the same. In particular, my best friend Kathryn Budig (a yoga teacher who needs no introduction), has been my biggest influence in yoga, my biggest cheerleader, and my sister from another mister! I would walk to the ends of the earth for that girl. And I know she would do the same.
SJ: What do you hope to accomplish with your yoga practice?
That’s the beauty of a yoga practice; there are no pressures to accomplish anything. It’s the one place where pressures and frustrations and limitations no longer exist. I hope– and I know– that yoga will continue to make me feel good, empower me, and keep my body, my mind, and my heart healthy and strong. That’s all I can ask for.
SJ: Any advice for young aspiring yogis?
TH: Practice with a lot of different teachers. Take many different styles. Blow your mind open with anything that feels so outside of your comfort zone that your heart races. There is something to learn, and something for which to be grateful in every moment. I one time took a yoga class on a grassy hill. It was so hard to balance and the ground shifted beneath my mat. I finally stepped off the mat and into the grass and realized that getting dirty was what I had needed that day. Stay open. Sometimes the lesson looks like dirt.