Back in the day, I was big into my life list. The idea of it really spoke to me and one afternoon I brainstormed close to 100 things I wanted to do in this lifetime. That list slowly became less than relevant over time as my life changed in some big ways and I realized I didn’t really want to carry many of those things out anymore which is why the list has since disappeared. (Though I’m grateful for some of the things that happened because of it.)
However, one of those things never really changed and sat in the back of my brain for a long while, occasionally rising to the surface like ‘yeah, I still maybe want to do that…’ and that was to become a certified yoga teacher. It stemmed from really loving yoga and thinking I might have mad teaching skillz. (At the time, ‘mad teaching skillz’ = 1) I like to talk a lot! B) I’m good at noticing when people do things incorrectly! PERFECT!) I also wanted a chance to immerse myself in practicing for awhile and figured teacher training would be a good place to figure out how to get upside down without having a panic attack. (Inversions = not my favorite.)
My yoga journey began at 19 when Tom and I, home from college one summer, stumbled into a Bikram studio, got our asses kicked, and went back over and over until school started again. I’ve practiced Bikram in a mostly on sometimes off kind of way ever since. This led me to the most magical little studio in my neighborhood, which led me to their hot yoga classes and then to their vinyasa flow classes and then and then…
Over the summer, I noticed the studio was beginning a 200 hour teacher certification in October. It would run for almost six months, every other weekend, pretty much all weekend long. I called J from my bedroom in Astoria after going to an informational session about it and I was like, geez I don’t know I’m not sure what to do, it’s expensive and I’m already too busy and blah! and J listened and then outlined all the reasons I should go for it in this very gentle loving thoughtful way which is why we’re getting married. Because I have never met anyone who talks to me quite that way.
So I forked over one trillion dollars and signed up.
And on a Friday evening in October, yoga training began.
Soon after that, J proposed (BEST), Hurricane Sandy hit (WORST), we moved in together into a terrible apartment, I started a new full time job which stressed me out more than I anticipated, we realized we hated our apartment too much to stay, we broke our lease, we moved out, we moved into a new apartment, we realized OH GOD WE NEED TO PLAN A WEDDING, we started doing that and throughout it all, every other weekend I spent 16 hours in a yoga studio plus took class three or four times during the week, which was mandatory.
It was…not the most fun sometimes???
One Saturday morning in particular, I remember standing in our kitchen in tears and J asking me what was wrong and I whispered, “I don’t want to go” because I was so tired and I wanted to have a lazy Saturday with him or sleep in or just not talk about the chakras anymore because WHO CARES!? MINE ARE PROBABLY ALL BACKED UP ANYWAY.
J gave me a hug and told me I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do.
But then he reminded me of all the other days of yoga training.
And the fact that pretty much all those days felt like the best days of my life.
Friday nights I would burst through the door at 10:30 positively beaming, wanting to share everything I learned. Which I’m sure was SUPER FUN for J, a very patient saint.
“J!!!!!!!! DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU STORE TRAUMA IN YOUR HIPS? I MEAN THAT IS SOME CRAZY SHIT. THE TRAUMA IN YOUR HIPS. WHAT KIND OF TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES DO YOU THINK YOU HOLD ONTO? WAIT. DO YOU WANT TO SEE MY HEADSTAND? HOLD ON. OKAY. SEE? NOW I’M UPSIDE DOWN. ANYWAY, BACK TO YOUR HIPS…”
And on and on it went.
To say I learned a ton is an understatement.
Posture clinics (taught by an Iyengar teacher so pretty much I learned everything I’ve been doing is wrong), prenatal (I wore a sandbag around my stomach and tried to practice yoga – THAT AIN’T FUN, LADIES!), restorative, yin, Bhagavad Gita, chanting, inversions, rope wall, anatomy, sequencing, practice teaching, modifications, adjustments, props, ON AND ON AND ON. Om shanti, you guys. So great.
But the thing about 200 hours (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) is that it really isn’t a significant amout of time to learn anything at all. It was one of those situations where the more I learned, the more I realized I DIDN’T know and as a perfectionist, that stressed me out like crazytown. My teachers were so full of knowledge, so wise and so amazing, spewing out the names of bones and muscles, modifying poses for injuries and pregnancy, speaking to high levels of spirituality and sacred texts and I was like Oh cool, how on earth will I feel ever feel qualified to teach other people any of this!? AHHHHHHH!
But to be completely fair to myself, I was more prepared than most. And when teacher training ended, I could teach a fully vinyasa class, I could modify most poses for a pregnant student, I could sequence a class in an intelligent way, and oh yeah, I COULD STAND ON MY HEAD ALL OF A SUDDEN. (Upside down = no longer terrifying, mostly awesome.)
When the certification ended, the studio asked if anyone was interested in taking a few more weeks to learn how to teach in the hot room. They were interested in training people to potentially sub a class here and there as the studio has very popular hot yoga classes. I said yes because the hot room is where it all began for me but deep down I was a little like NO MORE! I CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE YOGA FOR AWHILE!!!
But something in me knew it could be a great opportunity so I dug down deep and signed up and continued to study yoga for a few more weeks. I learned all about the heat, the effects on the body, the modifications you need to make, the dangers, the health benefits. Then we got up to take turns teaching poses and what do you know, an almost 10 year Bikram practice makes you quite a natural at teaching hot yoga. I surprised myself with how much I knew.
I was asked to teach a full class for any friends who wanted to come so the director of the studio could observe me.
Tom was in town randomly so he showed up and a few other friends that completely surprised me. It was so wonderful and so fun.
A few days later, I got an e-mail asking if I would like to sub a few classes at the studio, which will probably turn into a permanent thing for me.
My first one is Saturday.
My name is on the schedule.
I not only became certified to teach yoga…
I am officially a yoga teacher.
It. Is. Awesome.