Warrior Wednesday with Stephanie: When Cultures Meet

*** Favor encontrar la versón en espanol abajo ***


If you've stopped to read this article, maybe it's because you're going through something similar.

My name is Stephanie Enbysk, I have been a Yoga teacher for 1 year and 2 months - I know it might sound little, but it has been the most important time of my life.

You see, I grew up in a pretty religious family in Panama. It wasn't an entirely bad experience for me if I'm honest – I have learned a lot of values that I carry with me, and for them I'm very grateful to my grandmother. But I don't deny that there were days when so much religion at home was a little exhausting. The irony of all this is that in the end I became passionate about it and even came to think about the possibility of becoming a nun.

Over the years my vision of God has changed, though. I no longer see him as someone to fear. When I was young they always told me, "Be good or the Heavenly Father will punish you" or before you turn to God you have to pray (I don't remember how many “Our Father”s and “Hail Mary”s were needed to talk to him). Now I don't think or believe it should be this way, if he's my father I'll address him honestly and straight to the point, without this many detours, as I would also address my parents.

My beliefs have been transformed, as well as my whole life and my personality, since I began my journey in Yoga, but my respect, my belief in the teachings of the 10 commandments, and my belief in God remain intact. It was simply a matter of keeping an open mind and having respect for the beliefs and opinions of others.

In short, my life before Yoga was daily stress. I didn't know myself. I didn't know what I really wanted. I had a lot of family problems. I simply couldn't find my place, felt lost, insecure and sad that the years passed and I hadn't done anything with my life.

When I made the decision to do my Yoga training, I did it to simply try it out, but the truth is that I didn't have any kind of knowledge, not even the name of the most basic poses. I had only had about a year of taking classes, I was never consistent, but my husband did notice the improvement in my stress level the next day after I participated. Therefore I need to give him credit for my decision, a decision that felt like pure madness at first.

At this point I was scared for three reasons:

1. What will my family think when they find out, since the church sees Yoga as pagan.

2. I didn't know what to expect.