Being Present and Being Open – Joy Arnold


My Yoga journey had begun almost 19 years ago when I had found myself in the midst of profound life changes. My husband, two kids and I had moved from California to the Midwest. At that time my children were just 1 and 2 years old, and having no family or friends in Midwest only added to the emotional stress.

I had only been out of California once…so moving across the country was a huge culture shock for me. I was a stay-at-home mom, money was tight, and we had just one car. So if I had to get out, I had to walk, and though this is a great way to explore your locality, with two toddlers and living in a semi-remote area, I didn’t really get out much.  

I wasn’t raised in a very spiritual home, religious home – yes, but spiritual- no. So when it came to a spiritual practice like Yoga or the mind-body-soul philosophy, I was a little surprised when I felt an intense calling to begin a Yoga practice and a desire to know more.

“That’s exactly how it is in Yoga. The places where you have the most resistance are actually the places that are going to be the areas of the greatest liberation. ” Rodney Yee

Life has shown me that the Universe, and our Soul, knows exactly what we need. On looking back, it’s crystal clear why the calling had begun at a time when it was least expected. I was a new mother, living in a new home, in a new state, and feeling isolated. I had been working for a couple years to break the cycle of abuse and toxicity that I grew up with and Yoga found me at the exact moment I needed it.

It’s Magical That Way

At that time, I didn’t have access to many Yoga DVDs, online Yoga classes or Youtube videos. And living on one income and owning one car, joining a Yoga Studio wasn’t an option. One day a week I would drop my husband off at work so the kids and I could have the car.  One of those days, I decided to go to the local library and check out Rodney Yee’s Yoga VHS tapes. For some reason, his energy and teachings resonated with me and I was hooked! I would practice for several hours a week.

My focus, however, was less on the physical practice and more on the mental and spiritual path. Back in the year 2000, I remember telling my husband that I want to become a Yoga Teacher! I thought it was crazy of me to think about teaching Yoga when my journey into Yoga had just started and I didn’t know much about it … except for the fact that it deeply resonated with me.  

“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” Deepak Chopra

But soon other priorities took over and I found myself struggling to find some yoga-time amidst daily chores, raising two children and running a household. My practice became non-existent for quite some time. I did manage to periodically roll out my mat to do a physical asana practice and experiment a little, but could never get myself to do anything consistently.

Guide in Times of Transition

Despite this, the other paths of Yoga, or doorways to knowing oneself, were very much available for me to observe and practice, and I certainly needed them during times of transition. For anyone who knows what it’s like to grow up in toxicity and to then retrain or rewire your brain for new healthy ways of thinking and being…this transition is not easy!

There’s so much pain, rejection, anger, and turmoil that surface from deep within.  You also receive similar reactions from those you’re so desperately trying to not be like. It can be a very dark and lonely time. And Yoga was there for me. Not only there for me, but I truly believe I would not be where I am today had I not felt and answered the calling to walk the path even when I didn’t know why or what it was I was doing.

“Healing is an art. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes love.” Joy Arnold

Among many things, Yoga taught me it’s okay to be me, to feel, to trust myself, to breathe, and to simply BE. Yoga truly has a magical way of meeting you where you are. Somehow, this sacred practice knows which path to illuminate at the right time. Somehow, this sacred practice knows which path to illuminate at the right time. When I need emotional and spiritual strength, my Yoga practice focuses on meditation, reflection, and pranayam. Then, when I need to process all of the memories and emotions I’ve been revealing and healing, the asana practice calls me and its magic transforms me.

It’s Not About Me

Fourteen years later around 2014,  I was hearing the quiet whisper again, ‘I want to become a Yoga Teacher.’ My personality is such that I am never convinced I know enough and this often makes me question myself, ‘Who am I to portray myself as an expert?’ ‘Do I qualify as a teacher?’

I still feel this way at times, but the connection with my inner voice has also grown deeper and I trust this feeling which is much bigger than me. I realised that it’s not about me. I am nowhere near done healing my own scars, but I can help others by sharing my life experiences and showing them how Yoga helped me break a dark toxic cycle. Yoga has helped me change my life not only for myself but also for my precious children.

“Darkness doesn’t cure darkness. Light does.”  Joy Arnold

Medication, drugs, and addiction will not change what has happened to you. You have to accept it and feel it to heal it, and with the sacred power and gift of Yoga you can! Yoga is Divine light.

I’m stubborn so it took me a year to finally convince myself, but by the end of 2015 I had earned my 200-hour Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Certification. I got out of my own way and immediately started teaching. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know anything, so in 2017 I began my 500-hour Teacher Training and graduated in the spring of 2018.

I will never stop learning, studying, and seeking. I am a forever Sadhaka. And one thing I know for sure, I am forever indebted and grateful for the sacred gift of Yoga. My passion and Dharma as a teacher is becoming more and more clear as I deepen my own practice. My passion lies within helping others navigate through stress and trauma by making Yoga accessible to everyone. Yoga is not simply asana.

“Asana is just one door through which we enter the healing gifts of Yoga.” Joy Arnold

Be present and open as you allow Yoga to work its magic. 

In Love & Gratitude,

Joy Arnold

500 RYT, 200 E-RYT, Reiki Master, & Holistic Health Coach

Instagram: @thespiritofjoy

Also Read:

Leave a Reply

Main Menu

%d bloggers like this: