From the very minute I took my first Baptiste yoga class this past summer on a weekend at the beach, I was a changed woman. Something inside of me woke up. As I sweat out my soul in a 90 degree room and slinked my way into poses from my wildest dreams, a small fire began to smolder. I couldn’t wait to go back. Luckily we had a family shore house so attending classes on the weekends was not a problem. Typically one is excited to be at the beach for, well, the beach, but I was excited because it was really the only place I knew of that had this type of yoga. I live in the suburbs and while there are good yoga classes with great teachers here and there, none of them compared to the experience of a Baptiste yoga class. Baptiste yoga is wild. It’s sweaty. It’s empowering. It’s strenuously vigorous. And it’s full of calmness and tranquility all at the same time. Sometimes there is music. Every time there is flow. It’s an athlete’s dream come true.
With each weekend at the beach, I could barely fall asleep on Friday nights because I was so excited for class on Saturday morning. My body craved the physical exhaustion and detoxification while my mind craved the peace and presence it brought to my life for that one hour of sheer power. Not to mention, my body was shaping up to be more toned than ever before. With each class and each triumph over standing splits, half moons, and even headstands (yes headstands!!), the fire ignited and made me aware of a need to share that experience with others.
As long as I can remember, teaching yoga has always been at the back of my mind, but I’m pretty introverted and shy unless you know me well. But one sweaty Saturday morning at the studio, as a wave of peace swept through my entire spine during a Savasana, I decided right then and there on my yoga mat, that this is what I need to do and I am doing it! Coincidentally, summer was coming to an end and I didn’t know where I might find this form of power vinyasa yoga at home. I was also at a point where once a week wasn’t enough. I needed more!
That night, to put it out into the universe, I muscled up the courage to announce to my two older sisters that I was going to get certified as a yoga instructor. Instead of saying, “good for you!” they simply LAUGHED AT ME! Then came a list of things that I just wasn’t enough of. I wasn’t “hippie enough.” I wasn’t “granola enough.” I shopped too much, and my clothing was too expensive. Students wouldn’t get me. Students wouldn’t hear me. I even heard that I wasn’t “charismatic enough.” OUCH!
There were no cruel words or remarks that were stronger than this fire in the pit of my belly to keep me from pursuing my life as a Yogi. In fact, their harsh words probably did me a favor and gave me the extra motivation I needed to prove them wrong.
Despite their commentary that continued to taunt me for the rest of the summer, I stayed my course and found a certification program at a studio as equally amazing and close enough to home in the burbs. I also got my husband’s full support to take on extra responsibilities with our two adventurous sons in my 200 hours of absence this upcoming fall and winter.
Months after putting it out into the universe, here I am two weekends into the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, and all I can think of is, “Why didn’t I do this sooner!?” I have never felt so at home and so at ease, yet so overwhelmingly stoked and stressed at the same time. I am in the right place. I know that something BIG is in the works and embracing that change is both scary and mind-blowing!
I am on this journey with 17 other amazing individuals just like myself who have come from doubt, fear, and misdirection. We are all different ages, genders, races, and share different religions, backgrounds, upbringings, and beliefs. Yet, we are all committed to dropping our masks and getting down to our own truths so we can share this powerful gift of yoga with our communities.
Within the first two weekends, there has been lots of sweat, self-discovery, some tears, a ton of laughter, and growth that cannot be measured. In a recent breakthrough of mine, I actually heard and raised my own inspiring voice to an entire room of fellow yogis holding plank at my direction!
We are learning to drop our plans and teach from the heart. We are learning that the best yoga classes do not use scripts. A few of us were a little rattled to think we’d be teaching without scripts, and our teacher’s response was, “What fun is life if you are living off of a script?” He could not be more right. It’s not fun at all!
Living in the moment is an art. It’s something that takes hard work and courage. Yoga Teacher Training has become just that! It is more than just learning the poses and how to recite them with ease in front of a group. It has become about opening myself up to what is possible within me so that I can create real experiences, not just for my future students, but my friends, family, husband and sons, and an entire community beyond them.
As I drove home from my first training, I told my husband that this is the best investment in myself I’ve ever made. For me, it’s far better than the Masters Degree I received. I am not even halfway through the training and I already see a difference in myself and am beaming with excitement to continue to do the work and relish in this experience every pose and posture along the way.
Also see: How Yoga Helped Me Battle Depression
Photo: 17 storey via Flickr