By the time you read this I will have finished my final teaching for my 200 hour yoga teacher training certification. It has been a long 3 months getting here. After my first class in 2006 I was hooked. I remember everything was yoga. I was going through crazy transitions in my life – death, job change, and relationship issues. I realize now that all those things got me to where I am today. Yoga right now is hot. It is everywhere and big business. But, I can speak firsthand on the benefits of yoga. The better sleep, the calmer mind, and finding peace in an otherwise chaotic life.
I remember the nervousness I felt after my first training weekend. What type of teacher did I want to become? Do I need to give up anything? How will I find my teaching voice? There were and are still so many questions that I don’t have the answer to. But, I do know I want to be the kind of teacher I enjoy – fun, playful, giving, knowledgeable about the human anatomy, and true to who they are. I am forever a student of yoga. There is no mastery or end goal. It is yoga practice, not yoga perfect.
The above photo is of my final teaching outfit. The Paris Pink pants and top are from Lululemon and my glitter TOMS are just plain fun. I’m debating which chandelier earrings to wear and which bright lipstick to rock. For me, yoga means embracing who I am. I am the girl who loves her beauty and fashion so teaching with all the necessary accoutrements makes me comfortable and relaxed. I am excited to lead retreats based on beauty, travel, and yoga (look out for those in 2013). I have so many thoughts and ideas whirling in my head on how to combine all my loves. I found beauty in yoga.
I thank you dear readers for always being here. Namaste (the light in me, honors the light in you)!
Pretty Post Script:
This is the start of a piece I wrote in 2006 on why I came to yoga. I’m still working on it.
“Falling in Love With a Mat”
“Inhale and step back with your right leg into a lunge; exhale and step back with your left leg into downward facing dog and hold for three breaths.” I am listening to Kimberly’s voice as I am trying to concentrate. It is painful. My mind is filled with thoughts of . . . and clouds are forming, thunder is rolling, and rain is imminent. The storm controls my heart and mind. They are both heavy with doubt, anger, and pain. I have come to this yoga class not of my own inclination, but because of my doctor’s referral. Yes, a medical doctor. I listened to him explain to me that yoga would help with my grief. I did not think so at the time. What I needed was to be fixed. I needed him to numb my pain. I needed a pill, but he would not give me one. “I will not put a band aid on your problem. You need to come to terms that your brother has just died.”
I looked at him through tear-stained eyes and explained that I was coming to terms with it, but it was not fast enough. I wake up crying, go to bed crying, cry at songs, and cry in my office. I was crying all the time. “Julia, once again, your brother just died. I need you to understand that there is a process in grief just like everything else. Trust me, you will thank me later. Just take a class.” His face was filled with concern. I left his office with a prescription to try yoga to deal with my grief.
I finally made it to class and after the first twenty minutes I knew I was home. I started wondering where has yoga been all my life. Why didn’t I know the benefits of daily practice, of meditation, of flowing with prayer and breath? With each inhale – I let, with each exhale – I let go. I knew from that one class my life would change. After weeks of a restless and grief stricken mind, I was finally able to experience a moment of peace. As I lay in Savasana (relaxation pose), the tears finally flowed. The tears of losing a brother so soon, the tears of a family torn by death, the tears of not knowing that my life was about to change, but knowing peace with its direction. I did not find yoga. It found me. It found me when I needed to be found. I understand this now.
During this time I picked up Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had been a huge fan of Elizabeth’s previous works and couldn’t wait to read it. As I read about her journey, I was beginning my own. I was alone in a city without family. While she was eating, I had no appetite. While she was praying, I felt forsaken. I prayed and I cried, cried and prayed, but I was struggling.
More life changes occurred. A major job change forced me to rethink my passion and purpose. With that change I realized that the power of living my dream is up to me. The only consistency through this roller coaster was my ability to stay on the mat. The mat was able to absorb the thoughts of frustration, isolation, hurt, and fear. The mat held my secrets and released me to release my fears. The mat absorbed the waves of emotions that engulfed me like an ocean and reminded me that I was not drowning. I was living. This is life. Life – no matter what is going on, is beautiful.
After that yoga class I kept going back. For me the mat is an alter. It reconnects me to God. I come to it when I am happy in a prayer of thanks. I come to it when I am sad in a prayer of praise. I come to it and give thanks. I thank my doctor on the mat. I give thanks for what the mat has opened up. I dedicate my practice to friends, family, to those who have wounded me, and to myself. Yoga reconnected me to my spirituality. And that is always a good thing.