17 September 2010

My essay

What is Yoga and What do I Expect from Teacher Training?

Yoga is many things to many people… Over the years, yoga has been many things for me: a haven, a path to health, and a place to learn to let go. I’ve had chronic back trouble for 5 years, and though I’ve practiced yoga at home for over a decade, it finally took a consistent “back outage” every 3 months for a year to make me realize that I had to change my lifestyle. I can no longer afford to sit in a desk for 8 to 10 hours a day, no matter what the pay. My health comes first. This affirmation led me to find this training.

A little over 7 years ago, I met my husband. We dated for a while, split up because I felt we weren’t at the same stage in life, and then got back together when he made a major change, proving that he was indeed the partner for whom I’d been looking.  During the couple of years between when we met and when we married, yoga was a haven for me. I was working two jobs – about 80 hours a week – and it was imperative that I maintained my physical fitness (one job involved lifting heavy boxes, repeatedly, for hours). I had long been a subscriber to Yoga Journal and at some point during these few years Cyndi Lee wrote a home practice article on hip openers as the link to happiness (http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/1334). I loved the routine so much I eventually did it on a daily basis. It is the reason that I not only survived the challenge of working two jobs, but also was open enough to fall in love with the man who would become my husband.

Fast forward two years to 6 weeks before my wedding: my back “went out” for the first time. I sat down on the coffee table and was suddenly in excruciating pain.  I had to attend my bridal shower while on prescription painkillers and using my grandmother’s old walker. The girls in my wedding were discussing exactly how they would decorate the walker for the big day if I was still using it. You’d think the severity of this alone would have woken me up to the fact that I wasn’t paying enough attention to my health – but sadly, it did not.  Over the following years, life progressed: I cut back to one job, I had a child, gave up my dedicated yoga room to my son, and had my back go out several more times with increasing frequency.  Finally, between 2009 and January 2010, my back went out every 3 months, including once while we were at Disneyland for my husband and son’s birthdays. I finally had an epiphany that despite my efforts to lose weight at the gym with cardio and weightlifting, my body demanded something more. I’d long enjoyed reading articles in Yoga Journal by Elise Miller and her video Yoga for Scoliosis was in my “yoga toolbox.” With that last back outage, I decided I had to try something new. I learned that Elise was offering her beginning session of the scoliosis training at a yoga studio in Aptos, and if I traveled up for that, I could also schedule a private session with her. The initial plan was for me to go on my own, but because of my latest back outage, my husband decided he needed to go with me… It made for a fun weekend getaway (the first time we both left the 2 year old), and I learned so much about how to adapt for the curve in my spine from working with Elise. The experience reinforced the idea that I needed to make a permanent change in my lifestyle to bring the practice of yoga to the forefront.

I began looking for a way to make this change happen.  The timing was apparently perfect, because it didn’t take long for me to discover the new YogaWorks studio, where a teacher training was going to be held later in the year. I decided to invest in a membership so I could get a feel for the studio and see if the teacher running the training would be a good fit for me. My first class was Dani’s Therapeutics; actually, it’s been the only class I’ve attended since I joined in the spring. I knew immediately that I had found the path I sought. I still can’t believe I’m moving forward with the idea to become a yoga teacher. It’s rather surreal.

Along with this radical change in future profession, I’m been working to heal lingering hurts from my past. I’ve always had trouble letting go, and learning to leave things in the past and stop visiting them is something I need to learn. I am hoping that yoga again will help me to implement this change in my life. Old baggage just becomes heavier with time, but it’s been a struggle to let go. I’m not sure how to do it, but I have faith that just as it has many times before, yoga will get me through. I know that by going through this training, I will grow, both in my knowledge of yoga and myself. Yoga is my future.

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