The first time I took a yoga class it was in a gym. I had a membership that allowed me to go to an unlimited number of classes. Along with step class, spin class, and kickboxing, I decided to get down on a mat and try yoga. Back then, (20 years ago!) yoga felt like any other exercise class. The room was cold and bright. There was no music so I could hear the clank and bang of people re-racking weights and dropping dumbbells. I liked it pretty well, it felt good in my body, but I wasn't moved enough to start a consistent practice, or even dream of trying it at home on my own.
I dabbled in yoga on and off for years. I got into Bikram yoga for a while (a series of 26 postures practiced in a very hot room). It felt like a natural extension of the workout experience I knew. I would push hard, sweat hard, and feel like I really did something! That was when I decided that I wanted to be a yoga teacher. Unfortunately, at that time the cost of the training was prohibitive, and I couldn't get away for the number of weeks requisite to complete the training. I was in my early 20s then, moving apartments often, changing jobs like clothes, and my infatuation with Bikram was not meant to last.
When I turned 30, like for so many others, there was a seismic shift. While it had probably taken years, my body felt like it had changed overnight. I developed headaches lasting weeks, stomach issues that persisted everyday, and anxiety. I went to my doctor first. She gave me instructions to change the way I eat, change the way I move, and she also suggested a therapist. I was uncomfortable and afraid, but I went. I learned to seek help when I need it. My therapist and I did as much work as we could talking, and then she suggested we breathe together. The breathing practices alone transformed my anxiety into serenity and calm (with occasional tears, there's nothing wrong with that!). She suggested I reconnect with yoga.
The yoga I came to practice and love was very different from the yoga I learned in my past. My yoga practice today is transformative, it opens me up to new ideas and possibilities! I was encouraged by my teacher to try teacher training. I heard an echo from my past dream. I was afraid and excited. I have a bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy. My master's degree is in Environmental Studies. I really did, and still want to work on the protection and responsible stewardship of our natural environment. But then I thought, why not let go of what's not happening now? Why not learn to teach yoga today? The opportunity is in front of me. I can change my life and help so many others change theirs.
I started with 200 hours of teacher training, then completed 500 hours, and now I am working on 1000 hours of teacher training! I never planned it. I try not to over plan anymore. I just focus on my opportunities, the gifts of today, and this breath.