I began yoga teacher training in August of 2017 with HYS for a 6-month, 200-hour training in hopes of becoming a better yoga teacher and gaining insight into the wild world of yoga’s history and philosophy. I was searching for something more. Before signing up with our yoga school, I was certified after a weekend workshop and was teaching a few classes. My background in school at UNC was Exercise Science so I understood the physical aspect. After graduating, I was a personal trainer in Greeley and a fitness instructor at a community college. Physical health, fitness, and conditioning are my passions and ways of taking good care of myself because I’ve found something I’m good at. I was a gymnast when I was younger, and when I gave the competition up, I moved to dancing and sport. I wasn’t a dancer in the formal sense, but a break-dancer at Kid’s Night Out and in school talent shows. I recognized it more as a form of self-expression. I then moved into intramural sports in middle school and attempted to specialize in high school… unsuccessfully.
Oh well, it was all fun and I believe everything before lead me to yoga, and that’s where it all opened up for me. During college I only knew sports and exercise, so that lead me towards my degree. I spent 5 years in school pretending to know what I was doing or where I was going (really no clue- life just happens, so I made decisions) but I can look back at myself sitting in class studying and not being fully present. I was always somewhere else, or scattered and not in the driver’s seat of my mind. I was more controlled by fear, desires, expectations, judgments, and external pressures. I was not yet awakened to the idea that if I wanted something to happen I had to take responsibility and work for it. Exercise became compulsive and I developed this disconnection with myself and started to seek outside myself for comfort or acceptance. My teenage and mid-twenty self wouldn’t have been able to explain what was happening, but I can see it now. At that time I knew of yoga and participated in some form of the physical exercise, but never in the way I do now.
The sense of disconnection would grow deeper and my ideas about myself would grow negative. I developed a lack of confidence and self-esteem. I spent years in this darkness without knowing truly how to get through. My focus was always on my appearance and how I looked to others… wanting to be everyone’s friend and creating illusions so I could hide. So I focused on the things I could control, which were exercise and food. It was NOT in the healthy sense. I was never officially diagnosed with an eating disorder because I never admitted it to anyone, nor did it get bad enough for anyone to notice, but I knew it was psychological and deep-rooted to a point of self-destruction.
I finally sought help from my mom who also struggled with the same type of feelings about herself and her body. Our bond is strong because we have each other’s understanding of what it feels like to struggle with accepting and loving yourself. It took me about 7 years to realize that it was possible to heal from this. I figured out that it was all in my power to change my mind about how I see myself. I still have mental constructs around the whole idea but I am able to dissect the thoughts and keep them from taking ground. This is why yoga has saved me. It is liberation from a life of suffering. Since realizing that we choose to suffer and have the power to create our universe, I have included yoga into my lifestyle. I constantly find myself going back to the yogi’s code of conduct to remind myself to be kind and compassionate, speak the truth, let go, and be humble.
In reflecting back on my journey with HYS and my teacher training, I was able to make friends with my mind and open up to a community of people with the same intentions. Meeting with my group a few times each week also allowed me to practice opening up to others and finding comfort in community. I learned to listen without judgment and this has made me a better friend, partner, daughter, and sister! I am so grateful for HYS and the way they approach the teachings with respect to history and tradition. I learned that yoga isn’t just a set of postures, but a guide for life’s many challenges.
I have been able to see beyond the duality of things and see a middle way (the Dalai Lama has a great philosophy on seeing past polarities or black and white). I like to think of life as a balance, just like the yin and yang, where every piece is a part of the whole, so many of my beliefs were transcended beyond the material plane. Perhaps the most influential of teachings were the Sutras and Mr. Dennis Hill’s translations. I have learned to let go of my ego (mind) and get lost in the service of helping others find light in their lives. For my Seva project, I chose to volunteer for 10 hours at the Northern Lights Boreal Festival in Sudbury, ON. The festival highlighted local artists and showcased musicians from the community with good food, music, and fun. It was perfect for me to give back to the community I want to get involved in. With this certification, I will teach the lost art of discovering the self through mindful movement, pranayama, meditation, music, community service, and love!
Here I am at the festival assisting a member of Mama’s Broke band at the merchandise booth. I was assigned to sell merchandise for the bands. I also got to meet many beautiful people and make new friends. Smiles are contagious!!!!
My goal and mission is to teach yoga as a way out of the standard way of living and show people the beautiful power of the human body and its ability to heal. Once we heal ourselves we can be a voice for those who are still suffering. I believe Yoga is for everybody and everybody can do yoga. It isn’t always sexy and calm, but it is waking up to your true self and allowing that unique light to shine even when fear is present. We don’t have to try and avoid fear, but instead work with it and find a way to the other side. Consciousness is the higher purpose, and my life’s work will be to shine the light of consciousness on the intelligence of the heart and gut (we actually have 3 brains and the mind is not the main driver when we are balanced.)
Thank you HYS and yogi’s for your continued support and love. Thank you for holding space for me to grow and dream. I feel empowered to share my story because there is power in being vulnerable. I have also learned, through the Earth Medicine workshop, that I am not the story of my ancestors but the story that I create with choice in every sacred moment. I was born to certain parents because it fit with my evolution at the time. My hope is that more people feel empowered to share their story and release the expectation to be perfect. I am grateful for my experiences because they have brought me to yoga.
Peace, Love, and MAD Respect to my fellow Yogis and all life everywhere! We are a part of a Revolution