I did not find yoga. Yoga found me. Quite honestly, yoga demanded me. I avoided teaching for an entire year after my certification. I finally and reluctantly said yes because I was so tired of saying no when asked to teach. Why were people still asking me, anyway?!
I now know why people were still asking me to teach. But let me back this up a little.
I first first found myself in a yoga studio 3.5 years ago when I had hit the lowest bottom of my life. Since I had already read every self-help book I could find & still feeling no relief, I was desperate and I had nothing to lose.
I remember thinking that I would never pay $100+ dollars a month for yoga when I could pay $25 for a gym membership. Little did I know how vastly different these two things are. I was, however, willing to sign up for the new student membership to get a sense of what all of this was. Still being guided by my scarcity mindset, I committed to going to as many yoga classes as I could in that 30 day trial simply so I felt like I was getting my money's worth. What a blessing in disguise this was.
The first month I spent every savasana with tears running down my face. I wasn't sure why this was happening, but I knew I needed it. Over time and listening to the incredible teachers guiding me, I realized that it was part of the healing that comes from yoga. The movement, the breath, the connection to body, mind and spirit, were all shifting, opening and releasing things in me that I had spent my entire life avoiding. And truthfully, I hadn't even been aware that I had been so disconnected from myself. We don't know what we don't know.
Those 30 days changed me. Yoga allowed me to feel connected to myself in a way I had never experienced before. When my trial ended, I made a choice that no matter what, yoga would be a part of my life, and my budget.
My love for my practice has continued to grow since that first month. I have learned that there is so much more to yoga than the asanas. The physical practice is just the beginning. It is a way of life carried down for thousands of years and one that I feel deeply honored to be a part of.
I became certified to teach yoga when I was 2.5 years into my practice. Although I loved my YTT experience, I still felt unprepared and simply not confident enough to begin teaching. I decided that I would not pressure myself into anything, but instead, follow my heart and trust that I would be led back to teaching if I was meant to.
Over the next year, I moved from LA to Michigan to be closer to family temporarily. The transition was, and continues to be, extremely challenging. However, being here is also giving me the opportunity to recalibrate my life and explore more of who I am and what I want in an entirely new environment.
Since making my way back to the mid-west, I've been practicing at a studio in a small town near where I currently live. The owner of the studio has asked me several times about teaching and after half a dozen no's, I was surprised she asked again.
When she approached me to teach a summer outdoor series, I cautiously said yes. My yes came from rationalizing it being outside, that it was seasonal, and as she told me, likely a small attendance. But more than anything, I knew that if I had been asked this many times to do something, there was a reason for it. The Universe was not going to let this one go. I knew there was something on the other side of this, and I had to find out what it was.
I was pretty nervous a few days leading up to my first official class. I created my sequence, practiced teaching it in all the ways I could think of, and did everything I could to stay out of my head. Nothing good happens there when the ego is involved.
The morning of, I checked in with the studio and there were 11 people signed up. A few more than I was hoping for, but definitely a number I could handle. I knew that I was doing this no matter what.
I arrived at the studio with some extra time before teaching so I could ground myself and shake off the energy from my day job and traffic. The studio owner, Jen, said to take my time and meet her outside. Twenty minutes before the class began, I walked out to where I would be teaching and I kid you not, it looked like trails of ants marching up with yoga mats. There were already so many people there that all I could do was look at Jen and laugh.
We quickly realized that this many people were not going to be able to hear me, let alone see me. The next thing I knew, the manager was putting a mic on me, telling me to channel Madonna. Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous, but at this point, all I could focus on was how high I felt.
I began the students in a seated meditation which I joined in for. I remember thinking to myself, 'I don't know if I can open my eyes again. I am fairly certain that I won't be able to use my words either. Maybe we can just stay in a 60 minute silent meditation'.
But in that moment of fear, I remembered to ask my angels for guidance. I opened my eyes, I looked down at my sequence, and I simply said into the mic where I wanted my students to go next. And then I did that again, and again and then again. I did this until the hour was finished and we were bowing down, saying 'Namaste' in unison. The adrenaline I felt from teaching 150 students that day lasted until the next week when I taught again, and the week after that and the week after that...
If 150 people showing up to my first class is not a sign that I am meant to be teaching, I don't know what is. How lucky am I that the Universe never gave up on me?!
As I become more comfortable teaching, I am able to use the adrenaline as fuel for my confidence to create the space, sequences and energy for my classes. Teaching is incredibly vulnerable for me still, but I have this unshakable knowing that I am meant to be doing this. I am living my purpose when I am in this role. It is exhilarating, it is an honor and it is pushing me past boundaries that nothing but my own practice and dedication to it could have prepared me for.
I am deeply honored that students show up to my classes and trust for me to guide them. I would not be a teacher without you. I am deeply humbled that yoga never gave up on me. And I am deeply blessed that this experience is also my purpose.
The Universe is always guiding us. We just have to get quiet enough to hear what she is saying.