I found I struggled to write this. The task; “write about something yoga related”, well, there are so many options. I’ve spent months flip flopping between ideas. Ayurveda? The Nadis? Pranayama? All these things I have learned over the past 6 months have changed my life & filled my heart in ways I never expected. Though for this particular assignment, the final one of my 200hr training, none of those really resonated. After taking the last week to reflect on my time in Anahata Rising, I realized I needed to write about my experience with yoga thus far. How I got to where I am today.
I discovered yoga about 9 years ago, at a time in my life that seemed a bit dark & lonely. I had just gone through a devastating break up, and was constantly feeling anxious and stressed. I had also recently been kicked out of the dance studio I was with for 19 years, dance was really my only outlet for creativity & exercise. I was feeling lost, lazy, and craving that same feeling dance had given me for so long.
I had heard there was going to be a 6 week yoga workshop running at the Rec Center near my house. It was always something I had been interested in. I knew little about the philosophy, or the science behind it. I had just heard of its benefits for body and mind. I was always reluctant to do things independently, so this was sort of a step out of my comfort zone but I decided to sign myself up. I immediately went out and got my first mat, & started class the next week. My first class I was hooked, the flexibility came easy for me so I was able to just breathe deeply, just for me. I was able to connect with myself. It was something I’d never really felt before. The anxiety I arrived with and the tension I had been holding for the last weeks had melted away. I was at peace. The 6 weeks came and went. I enjoyed each class more and more and discovered something new about myself each time. I continued with what I learned after the 6 weeks but quickly let it fall
away. The first of many times that would happen in years to come.
In early 2012, I applied for an esthetics job at a new spa/yoga studio in the city. Bliss YogaSpa was said to be different than any other yoga studio and spa in western Canada. Taking another huge leap out of my comfort zone I got an interview & eventually landed the job. Little did I know this was the beginning of a whole new chapter of my life. One that is still presenting me with opportunities and sustaining my growth 4 years later.
I feel like my first yoga class at Bliss was my real introduction to yoga. It was a heated flow class. I was blown away. The room, the teachers voice, the sequence, how everything was tied together & how it all made me feel. Lying in Savasana at the end of class thinking “It would be so cool to teach this stuff”, not realizing I had just planted a seed. I got into the routine of going to classes religiously for a few weeks, then stopping for months at a time. In these long stretches without practicing, anxiety & triggers seem to arise easier than usual. Though something would always call me back to my mat, & myself. I started to realize yoga was like medicine, therapy, it was what was bringing so much balance to my life. It helped me let go of the shit. Taught me to live more in the present moment. As my practice deepened, so did my curiousity towards the philosophy of yoga, and meditation. I started taking more workshops, reading books, going to yoga festivals & exploring classes at other studios. I was falling in love with everything about this ancient practice. I started sequencing my own classes & developing a home asana & meditation practice. Eventually, I couldn’t stop reading about different teacher trainings, and talking to other teachers about their first YTT experience.
At the time I wasn’t in it to teach classes, but to deepen my own understanding & practice. It was something I put a lot of thought into but never actually thought I
would do. I always had an excuse, lack of money, lack of confidence, fear. The usual excuses for me.
There was a 200hr teacher training being held at Bliss, in January 2016. Anahata Rising, being lead by two amazing, knowledgeable teachers, in a beautiful space. How could I say no? I took an info card, still doubting myself, thinking I would never be able to do it. But I just kept coming back to it, the idea was always in the back of my mind. I felt a sense of urgency towards it. Maybe I could do it. Maybe I’m supposed to do it. I went back and forth on it for months, the whole time part of me knowing it was what I needed to do. I signed up. It immediately felt right.
Exciting. Like I had just set out on a brand new path…everything was unknown. January finally came. I had just ended a 7 year relationship a month prior & could feel that the next few months would be a very transformational time for me. I had no idea the journey I was about to begin. The first day, we entered the room in silence & sat in meditation. The room smelled like sage, an altar set up in the corner of the room & the energy was just so calm. I felt like I had shared space with these people before. Like I had known them for years. It was sure to be an incredible 6 months. After the first day, there was already so much information to process. I wasn’t quite sure where to put it all, or how to use it. I would go home and have it swirling around in my head and be up for hours. Though it always seemed to click overnight. Waking up feeling as though everything had organized itself into where it needed to be and it all suddenly made sense. My
dreams were strange, my thoughts were changing, and everything in my life started to slow
down. This would be the common theme over this whole process. I found I started caring more, about myself & others. Talking less. Silence was becoming my favourite sound. I started to re evaluate different aspects of my life, really becoming aware of what served me & what simply didn’t fit anymore. I learned how to observe my own patterns more closely, find the root of them, & catch myself in the ones that were no longer needed.
I learned to be easier on myself. It’s ok to be exactly how you are. Perfectly imperfect. Unbroken. It’s ok to be awesome, and fierce and show people that you know your shit. Be authentic. Teach from the heart. Stay present in the moment. Breathe. This training has taught me so much about yoga, things I never expected to learn. It’s taught me more about myself than I ever expected. I feel like it brought me through the biggest transformation to date, and I’m so grateful for my teachers & everything I’ve learned, and will continue to learn on this journey.
I started this training, for me. Now that it’s done, I have this urge to share all the things I’ve learned with others. Hopefully giving them things they can take with them off the mat. Just like so many of my teachers have done for me. I want to be able to incorporate some of the history into my teachings, some of the 8 limbs. While still focusing on proper alignment & giving people the experience their body needs.
Going through my first training has just made me hungry for more. I will forever be a student, Growing & expanding. I will continue on this path, discovering new ones along the way, always grateful, & striving to become closer to my higher self.