I had decided to pursue the training to deepen my yoga practice and explore its spiritual aspects. But within a week, I found myself terrified that I'd lost the connection I had with yoga as I knew it and therefore, the lifeline to my happiness.
Twelve years earlier, I first came to yoga as part of my movement work in the theater. But I ended up sticking around for the long run after a bad breakup, combined with career frustrations that had left me depressed. I was unable to leave the house without breaking down in tears, except for when it came to yoga class. For that, I could somehow always pull myself together, catch the train downtown, and keep my spirits up for my practice. A few times a week, I found a few hours where the sadness stopped spinning, and, over time, that sense of peace extended into more and more of my day. Combined with therapy, yoga brought me back to life.
Fast forward seven years and into my teacher training. Yoga is still a key ingredient to my emotional stability, but as I learned more about how it all works from an insider's point of view, I wondered, will yoga still work its magic on me once I've seen behind the curtain?
Honestly, the fear was intense, and I almost quit my training a week in. Fortunately, I had plenty of great support from my teachers and a good friend who had been through training herself. She gave me the insight that no, the magic wouldn't be quite the same, but, if I opened myself up to a new relationship with yoga, it could actually be even better.
So I opened up to a new yoga, a practice that started with dharma, a connection to universal spirit, and most of all, love. I stopped letting the asana lead my experience and started flowing from the inside out. Within a month my medicine became my mission. I no longer wanted to simply soothe my own heart, but wanted to extend what I've learned to others in the hopes that I might make their journeys a bit lighter, too.
And now, looking back on those fears a year later, I think they were shining a light on exactly what I needed to see. I can't keep yoga bottled up, like a magic potion just for my needs. I have to share my knowledge and my experience to really tap into the power of the practice. Yoga is union, and union is by no means, a one-woman show.
I've been teaching now for seven months. I thought I knew peace before, but after experiencing the joy of helping students connect with asana, meditation, self study, and simply breathing, I see that it only gets more magical the more we share in it together.
Photo by Andrew Ross