Vivian Selles, 35, had never had a consistent fitness routine until she took up yoga in 2012.
“I was overweight and out of shape,” she says. “After a bad breakup, I began a dedicated, daily practice. I lost 80 pounds and have kept it off.”
She now teaches at Be Yoga and in private sessions. She also works with Yogarteens, a local nonprofit that brings yoga (and art) to middle schools in the area (www.yogarteens.org).
The Seversville neighborhood resident began 2015 with a vow to do a handstand a day and document it on social media.
“I’ve done monthly yoga challenges via social media in the past and find there is a community of yogis who constantly inspire and support one another,” she said. “It helps keep me accountable.”
Selles began practicing yoga at a time she was “unemployed, overweight and depressed.”
“Yoga truly saved me,” she said. “In learning to practice compassion and forgiveness for myself, I am able to extend this to others.”
Follow along on Instagram at #yogawithvivian. Selles said, “Yoga is a personal journey, practiced in community.”
Here’s her story in her own words:
“Handstand 365 is a yoga challenge where you do a handstand a day, snap a photo and post on social media with the hashtag #handstand365.”
How I did it
“I love inversions. Going upside down is a scary, yet exhilarating, experience. It requires you to let go of fear and accept what is, and it requires being aware of your own physical body. Other inversions came with such ease once I found my center of gravity, but handstands and I had a love/hate relationship.
“I decided at the end of last year that 2015 was my year of letting go, and practicing yoga is a constant practice of letting go. I work full-time and teach several times a week and needed a way to hold myself accountable for a daily practice.”
“I started Jan. 1, so I won’t finish until the end of the year. Physically, I’m seeing more tone and definition, especially in my arms. My form has improved from the days of kicking up on a hope and a prayer. I’ve become more aware of my body mechanics. I can hold other inversions (like headstand and forearm stand) for longer periods.
“It’s a daily reminder to let go of expectations and to see things from a different perspective.”
What I learned
“I’ve learned so much from this challenge, but probably the biggest takeaway – as cheesy as it sounds – is that when I believe in myself, things are possible. I wasn’t a flexible kid or super athletic and had never done a handstand prior to practicing yoga. I never thought, at 35, I’d be doing a handstand a day. I never thought I’d be in the best physical shape of my life, (yet) I am.
“I’ve learned that in a world where we have no control of the things going on around us, we have control of ourselves – our thoughts, actions and reactions.
“When you learn to let go of the thing that doesn’t serve you – whether it’s negative thoughts, a toxic relationship, material things you don’t use – you experience freedom, or what we call in yoga moksha.”
We’re looking to share stories about health and fitness, about overcoming obstacles and about new discoveries you’re making on the road to Living Well. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.