In September, after a year-long journey, I will be a 200-hour Yoga Alliance-certified yoga teacher.
Less than two months left.
Reflecting on one year ago today, I am starkly aware of how significantly my life has changed. How significantly I have changed.
One year ago today, I was that girl who crept into the back of the yoga class, breathed as quietly as possible, and then slipped silently out at the end. I didn’t speak to anyone. I kept my head down. I was withdrawn.
I had no sense of community, in yoga class or, honestly, in the larger canvas of my life. I felt lost. Unloved. Treading water.
When I finally approached Thomas, the teacher whose classes I’d been attending religiously for over 6 months, and told him I was maybe-a-little-bit-slightly interested in teacher training, my knees were shaking I was so nervous. Thomas completely lit up at my words and actually jumped in the air, “Yes! YES this is going to be an amazing journey!” I laughed, opened up my body language just a little, and asked about my first step.
If you know Thomas, you know that his reaction was very in-character and that, though he was genuinely excited for me, his jumping in the air for joy wasn’t really anything extraordinary. So I didn’t think it was anything extraordinary for him to say, “This is going to be an amazing journey.” I didn’t think my cynicism was anything extraordinary.
I was used to surviving, not thriving. I was used to cynicism.
Oh, the surprise I was in for.
I struggle to put into words the journey I’ve been on in the last year. I will try, but just know that my language is imperfect to describe the experience that has been yoga teacher training.
Compared to one year ago today, I feel like I have shed half my body weight. I feel at home in my body. I feel at home in my life.
I have a community. I am full of love. I feel secure. As I have recently proved to myself, I am able to experience rejection without crumbling and lashing out and using others as a crutch. I am able to articulate what I want, and I speak what is true bravely and boldly.
I haven’t even touched on the fact that actually teaching yoga, what I originally set out to learn, has been even more incredible and difficult than I imagined. Every time I sit at the front of a room and begin a class, I am shaking inside. I am picturing every student in the room like a child who needs their hand held. Who needs to remember how to come home, and it is up to me to take their hands and lead them. I must be gentle, confident, strong and soft all at the same time. Yoga has been such a deep and powerful tool in my life, and I long to facilitate the same experience for others. Every time I start a class I have to remind myself, “It is not about me, it is not about me. You are here to empower.”
This has been a deeper, more transformative journey than I ever could have imagined. When I first began, I couldn’t manage to say out loud how strongly I knew that I needed this. But something, softly, was tugging at the edges of my soul and I listened. In one brave, courageous moment, I listened. One year ago today, I hardly ever listened.
But I did one time. I listened one time.
And here’s a secret I’ve since unveiled: all you need is one time.
I have experienced extreme highs and extreme lows in the span of one year, and I know that this roller coaster of a journey is a fact of life. I cannot prevent the drops that bring your stomach to your throat, and life will not slow down just because my teacher training is going to be over within less than two months.
But here’s what I do know: if I hadn’t gone on this amazing journey, as Thomas put it, of teacher training, I would be a completely different person today. And I am grateful I took the plunge when I did.
If I hadn’t listened to that tug, if I hadn’t done the teacher training, I probably would have awakened at a different time, in a different way, and I think I still would’ve made it home to myself eventually. God is bigger than my decisions, and if I didn’t let Him use this teacher training, He would’ve found something else to work His way into.
But I am glad I did this teacher training when I did. I am glad to be at home in my body, in my life. I don’t know how I lasted this long as a visitor in my own journey.
It has been a welcome change to stop treading water. To sit inside my life. To be, at last, at home.
If you haven’t felt this comfort before, I urge you to find it. To take a risk, to listen to whatever is tugging at the tiniest corner of your heart, and dive right in.
And then, hold on, because it’s probably going to get challenging. Growth always is. But be gentle with your heart. Coming home to yourself is and will always be worth the struggle.