Day 18 – stretch
Yoga has enhanced my life in so many ways, and it continues to do so each and every day. Yoga has taught me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, to challenge myself, to evaluate my choices – to be a better me! My (legit) intro to Yoga (after the initial Kundalini scare) started, as it does for many, as a workout. My parents wanted me to come to class with them; I finally obliged figuring I could get a good sweat. The class was awesome – great music, fun teacher, lots of sweat – I had a blast, and that’s what hooked me. I wanted more. I felt a sense of community and immediately drank the kool aid.
Fast forward to my first teacher training. I had no intention of becoming a yoga teacher, I was on the rode to become a psychologist, had my life all figured out. After class one day my mom asked if I’d be interested in signing up for training if she paid for it. She thought it would be a good transition from grad school to the real world; that it would be good to learn more about Yoga before working with clients – another tool in the old tool belt. I figured, why not – free class, get to do lots of yoga, hang with some cool people – sign me up!
Terrified to silence, I sat through each session gobbling up information only to keep it to myself (initially of course). Something about that first training brought up some stuff. Prior to that time in my life, I was pretty fearless, loud, outgoing and in your face. For some reason though, at that time all of that went out the door. I was terrified. It took me over a year to teach a class, and even then I was a shaky, sweaty, bright red mess. There were so many times I wanted to quit – I never really wanted to be a yoga teacher anyways. And yet something kept pushing me in that direction. I realized quickly as a therapist that what I was doing wasn’t really for me. I wanted to be more involved with my patients – not just meeting 1x a week for an hour. I wanted to be real with them, be myself and really connect. So I pushed myself to grow, to take my yoga off the mat and live it. To challenge the things that kept me stuck, to find my big girl voice. Looking back I think that the fear holding me back stemmed from insecurity around becoming a “grown up”. Thinking to myself, “why would anyone want to listen to me? I don’t know shit.” The truth is that I do know some shit. I do have something to offer: my own perspective/experience is worth something …at least it is to me, these days. I still have much to learn and in the big scheme of things I really don’t know shit. I guess I just have a different perspective on what that means these days. I will forever be growing, seeking and learning.
Today, a friend of mine (LA NANNY) was preparing to teach yoga for the first time in her first ever teacher training. I heard myself in her words, in her fears, her nervousness and uncertainty. As I was coaching her through the process, I realized just how far I have come. It’s easy to look ahead and see how far I have to go, however, while it takes some additional effort, it is absolutely amazing to look back and see how far I have come…how far I have s t r e t c h e d.
Yoga, in the end is much more than a workout – it is a stretch beyond the physical. Through the practice of yoga I have learned a lot about who I am, and who I am not. It has taught me about acceptance, integrity, truth, balance and most importantly how to get comfy in my discomfort. My journey on this path has not been easy – in fact it has been pretty damn tough. And yet through each and every challenge I have become closer, kinder and better to myself and those around me. I have worked hard to create more joy and balance in my life. Yoga is life and life is Yoga. #OneDownDog at a time.