In October 2015, my sister suggested coming to yoga class with her. I was in the midst of a confusing, heartbreaking situation that was taking a huge emotional toll on my husband and myself. I was constantly stressed, heartbroken and confused. All of my energy was focused on helping my husband, and it wasn’t until the benefit of hindsight that I realized that in leaving nothing for myself, I wasn’t truly helping anyone.
The class we chose was a hot, Bikram-inspired class at CorePower. I started sweating the second I walked into the room, realized that cotton was a really, really, really bad choice, and sat in the back of the room. I made it through the first few poses and thought This hour HAS to be almost up!
Then the instructor cued the end of the warm up and the only water break
But I loved it. The heat felt so great, and it was the perfect thing that forced me to get out of my own head and focus on something outside of my problems. I remember everything about this first class, as well as the other *firsts* – the first Vinyasa class when I thought my arms would fall off if I had to do another chaturanga, the first Iyengar class when we stayed in a forward fold for an eternity. And then the next pose for an eternity. What I learned is that, as all of these *firsts* accumulated, is that yoga isn’t an escape.
Despite my initial impression that yoga was a great way to get out of my head, I realized that it’s more like a secret path deeper INTO your head. In much the same way that meditation has worked for me, I find that when there is something gnawing, yoga will help my brain and body relax and allow those cross connections to happen, so that when my practice is over, I feel better and more in control of situations.
Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga was and continues to be an integral part of my wellbeing. I decided to embark on teacher training firstly just to deepen my practice, and secondly because I can take classes at Saint Paul College for free. I spread my teacher training out into double the time, and it’s one of the best decisions I made. Focusing so intently on the yamas and niyamas, and learning to meditate at the same time, felt like going through therapy. I learned not only how to teach, but how to recognize the destructive patterns I embarked upon when I felt threatened. Or scared. Or alone. And how to combat those patterns and create new habits and face those issues that I thought I was over.
My instructor, Maria Toso of Saint Paul Yoga Center, compared teacher training to swimming in a storm. As you learn to meditate and engage in mindfulness and being present, the storm relents and the waves around you still. But, when the water stills, that’s when you look down into the bottom of the water and see all of those old things you thought you had gotten rid of, but are still carrying.
As an instructor, my goal is provide a safe space for students not only to practice and their physical bodies but their minds as well. I focus on creating body-positive classes for different abilities that are challenging mentally and physically. Here’s my declaration of ideals and intentions:
I believe that every person has unlimited potential. Yoga is one way to access and activate it.
I know my learning will never be complete; I know I will never feel like enough. I hope to help my students down their paths –
To know the difference between ego and purusha. To know when to stop and when to explore. To find peace and patience with themselves and their practice.
– and to learn from them in the time we spend together.