My Yoga Story

MY YOGA STORY During the past decade my yoga practice and my life have evolved together as I’ve become more aware of myself and of yoga.  I’ve come to see that yoga is an ever-evolving system, too. While aspects of yoga remain rooted in ancient wisdom, its practices have always been open to innovation. This allows us to refine the practice to meet our needs and understanding of the world today. In my experience, yoga can improve our physical, mental, and emotional well-being but it can also help us ask and sometimes even answer the biggest questions we have about ourselves and the Universe, as it has for generations of yogis before us.

BEGINNINGS When I was in my mid-20s, working on non-profit projects in Asia and Africa, I caught pretty much every tropical malady. A couple years later, when I was in business school, it surprised me when those illnesses began to affect me mentally and emotionally as well as physically. While Western medicine helped, it also took a toll and did little to address the fatigue and depression I was beginning to experience. A low point came around my 30th birthday when I was stranded for ten days on a remote island in Indonesia, sweltering under a mosquito net, sick with dengue fever, and barely able to stand.  When I was strong enough to walk again I was desperate for something to make me feel whole.  Though I had been practicing yoga casually for several years already, that’s when I discovered the bigger potential of yoga to improve my life. 

EXPERIENCE Having experienced the complex downward spiral of my body, mind, and feelings in illness, I was alert to the opposite effect of yoga in the first months of my recovery. Within a year of practicing yoga every day I felt healthier, more connected and more resilient than I had before I ever got sick.  I wouldn’t want to find myself sick and alone on a remote jungle island again, but I’m grateful for that low point because it led eventually to the path I’m on now.    

I’ve completed close to a thousand hours of yoga teacher trainings since then and I owe so much to my teachers, Jason Crandell, Don and Amba Stapleton, and Rusty Wells. I’m honored to continue mentoring with Jason Crandell as an assistant in his advanced teacher trainings.  Before moving to Portland in 2017 I had been teaching public classes and workshops in San Francisco and Sonoma County since 2012.

One of the highlights of my yoga journey so far is the months I spent studying yoga in India, where I first experienced the equanimity of a yogic life, ate a lot of lentils, and went for a dip in the Ganges, all of which I wrote about and photographed in a blog, The Ganga Benjamin-ji Express

LIFE  In between Savasanas these days you might find me immersed in nature, absorbed in a novel, investing in new and growing businesses, or working on my home in the forest outside Portland. 
Benjamin Lelsie Yoga Eka Pada Rajakapotasana _ Pigeon Pose.jpg