Next week my yoga teacher training begins and for the first time in my life I’m not entirely sure where I’m heading. Before, I was so busy thinking about my next steps and trying to prove things to myself (that I was smart enough, ambitious enough, good enough) that I missed so many important, beautiful things along the way. I was always chasing something, telling myself I’d find happiness in the next assignment, job or party, in the next five pounds, or maybe the five after that. I sought external validation and was crippled when I didn’t get it. I was plagued by feeling like I hadn’t found my place in this world. I questioned my work and my authenticity, living in a constant flux of anxiety and depression that eventually contributed to me resigning from my job.
I needed time to think. I was sick, tired, sad and confused. I felt like I had gone off track (or more honestly, completely off the rails) somewhere along the way, but I couldn’t quite figure out what had gone wrong, or where. On the outside, things looked good. I was more or less always moving forward, yet for some reason I felt like my work didn’t matter. When you define yourself by your work as I did, this eventually causes you to misinterpret this as meaning you don’t matter. These thoughts kept me up all night, but left me exhausted and bedridden during the day. It took a lot of work for me to return to some semblance of normalcy. Yet even after I got my shit together and stopped feeling sorry for myself, something didn’t quite feel right. I couldn’t shake the thought that there had to be more to life than this.
I have spent my entire twenties floating from job to job, program to program, my passions shape shifting as I struggled to find meaning in my work. One thing that remained consistent throughout though was I love, love, LOVE to write. Up until yoga, nothing other than writing brought the same catharsis to my soul. I felt like writing was the only way to truly connect to myself, often not knowing how I felt about things until I put pen to paper. The same thing happens to me on the mat. I have found so much clarity in going inward through yoga and meditation that I now believe we all harbour the answers to our deepest questions. Yoga has been essential to helping me cope with and heal from many things that have harmed me. It did not come as a surprise to those closest to me when I began expressing a desire to take my yoga more seriously.
Yoga is the best therapist I’ve ever had.
Yoga teacher training feels natural to me at this time in my life. Not only do I want to deepen my own practice, but I feel this pull to design classes that incorporate all of these lessons I’ve learned from a decade spent misaligned with myself. Yoga to me is so inclusive. It is so personal, and yet so connected. I subscribe to the belief that yoga is for everybody and every body, which is why I eventually want to use my yoga for good. I have so many ideas for programs I want to create, especially for women with mental health and eating issues. I just feel like I need the proper education and support (and maybe a sprinkle of luck!) in order to bring these ideas to life.
I’ve heard so many stories about what yoga teacher training is like, especially about how emotional it can be. I am scared and excited in equal weight. Having the opportunity to study yoga under teachers I care deeply about at a studio that feels like a second home to me is something I express gratitude for every day. I feel fortunate that I am in a place right now to take this leap. While my own practice consists mostly of vinyasa, I have elected to take training that encompasses vinyasa, hatha and therapeutic yoga. After this, I’ll focus on adaptive and restorative yoga, as well as pre and post natal yoga training, and I’m sure many other things that I have yet to discover.
And after that? Who knows! I want to (finally) write a book of essays, get my other passion project back up off the ground, launch a YouTube channel, and partner with like-minded people and organizations to develop unique workshops for women and girls to help them see their value, beauty and worth. I want to study mindful self-compassion so I can incorporate this into my programs, as well as more thoroughly into my own life. I want to immerse myself in this as much as possible because this is what is important to me. This is what I feel like my life has been leading toward. I’m not sure what’s to come, but have no doubt about it, I’m on my way.
I will be blogging throughout my yoga teacher training journey starting July 4. I hope you come along for the ride. Oh, and if you have any advice for me please share in the comments below.
*rings bike bell twice*