How did I decide to sign up for a year-long yoga teacher training program? Here’s the brief telling of a long tale:
To begin, I feel compelled to state that I deeply appreciate all of the amazing opportunities the business world has to offer (or, at least has offered to me); yet over time I have come to learn that I need (really, really need) balance in my life. I am lucky to be able to work at a beautiful office building in a bustling area of downtown Minneapolis; but to remain mentally healthy, I also feel it’s necessary for me to be outdoors for at least a few moments every day. I am blessed to work with (and for) wonderfully brilliant people who are eager, excited, and energetic; yet as an introvert, I also feel a strong pull to spend time alone in silent meditation each morning. I am grateful for all of the modern-day conveniences at my disposal that truly simplify my life (such as a car, computer, washing machine, etc…); however, after a period of being sedentary, I feel compelled to move.
All of this is to say that I accept and appreciate the “modern life” I have been given to live; and at the same time, I have felt drawn to explore older, simpler paths of living, too.
Around five years ago I took a belly dancing class through Community Education (sidebar: I adore Community Ed, and recommend that every person take at least one “just-for-fun” class every year if they can – what a great way to try something new and stretch one’s mind, body, and/or spirit, and to do so pretty much “risk free”!), and during those six Sundays, I learned that my body was not only functional (i.e., it transports my brain from place to place), but also beautiful! As I circled my chest, shimmied my hips, and waved my arms, I became aware that my intelligent mind wasn’t the only part of me that comprised “me”; my body was an integral part of my life experience as well – and just look at what it could do! Wow!
I attended belly dancing lessons weekly for six months; then ran out of classes to take. However, around this time a friend invited me to attend a yoga class with her, and I found much of the same beauty and physical “purpose” in the yoga session that I had discovered in the belly dancing realm. Logistically, the yoga classes were offered more frequently than the belly dancing schedule, and the yoga sessions went “deeper” (skill-wise) than the belly dancing class offerings; so I found myself transition from belly dancing to yoga.
I took yoga classes off-and-on for about two years, going to a session when the mood hit, or when I felt like I needed to be coached (or pushed) – but I did maintain a basic, simple, yet daily at-home practice for those two years. At the end of that two-year period, I could feel myself at a plateau; I had taken my practice as far as I could on my own, and if I wanted to continue to grow in the physical realm of yoga, I would need to be guided in a class setting on a regular basis. So, I signed up for another community education class, and through this opportunity was led to my local yoga studio.
The owner and primary teacher of this studio was amazing (in my opinion); not only did she offer physical classes that seriously kicked my little rear end, but in those same bodily-intense classes she provided laughter, and levity, and peace. She stressed the mental and emotional components of yoga as much as the bendy-poses; and through this experience I learned that yoga had a strong emotive, intuitive component to it, as well as the anatomical one.
My emotional side was an aspect of myself I had only begun to learn about, and through yoga I began to become much more aware of the realm of psychological feelings, not just physical ones. During the past 18 months my personal growth curve seems to have ramped up drastically both in slope and speed – and I am doing my best to remain open to whatever comes my way.
Interestingly, in simply remaining open to what may be, lots of amazing things have been brought right to me.
As this relates to yoga: In April I celebrated my 35th birthday, and to help honor this passage of time, my parents gave me the gift of paying for a sizeable portion of yoga teacher training. I had been tossing the idea around in my own mind for a while, but the certification process is expensive, and I couldn’t justify spending large amounts of money on what would be no more than a fun hobby. However, if the opportunity was given to me as a gift, well… another incredible situation has arrived; all I have to do is accept it.
So, I did. And here I am. Ready to see what this next experience might yield. Exciting!