Not only is today the first day of summer but it’s also International Yoga Day! How fun is that?! I know I have quiet a few new readers on the blog and Instagram so I thought it would be fun to unpack a little more of why I became a yoga teacher, why I practice yoga and why I think you should too… And no, this isn’t a sales pitch I promise 😉
I have been teaching yoga for almost five years now. I still remember my first teaching job. I was a brand new teacher and if we’re being completely honest – I sucked. I would run through my class plan in thirty minutes and still have thirty more minutes to f*** around and try and make it look like I knew what I was doing. I was painfully shy and would stutter and stumble over my words. I would forget what pose was next in the lesson plan and would have to stop and look in my notebook. Yall, it was bad. I was bad. I still cringe a little bit when I think of that first group of students I had, those poor souls. Little did they know I had them sit for five minutes in child’s pose because I was just trying to figure out what to have them do next! I am confident I went through one of the best trainings there is in the U.S. and learned from the best of the best, but those damn nerves and learning to be comfortable in front of an audience, that was a different story.
But if we can fast forward to now, I have taught in multiple studios, I have owned/operated/hired/managed and taught at my own studio, I have taught in schools, childcare centers and summer camps, I have taught ninety-something year olds and nine month olds, I have taught people from all different walks of life. Instead of running out of poses to teach, I usually end up having more poses than we have time for. I don’t have to write every single class plan down in advance but instead usually just open myself up to let the divine flow through me for an hour and trust my intuition to guide the practice. I still have so much room for growth, but it’s also so encouraging to see how much I can improve at something when I tackle it head on week after week. I have gone through seasons of teaching six classes a week and teaching one class a week, but I have never stopped teaching and more importantly, I have never stopped learning.
That’s the beauty of yoga, it’s not a destination. It’s not getting to the most Instagram worthy pose or getting better than the person on the next mat over. It’s not about something ‘woo woo’ (unless you want it to be) or some kind of devil worship (literally something I have been accused of doing on numerous occasions). It’s a journey inward. It’s a constant checking in with yourself, listening to yourself, honoring the space that you take up. It’s a tool for growth and self exploration. Each time on your mat is an opportunity to shed all the layers of what society says defines you so you can come closer to who you actually are when all of that ‘extra’ is stripped away. It’s tending to your mental health and emotions. It’s a bold act of self care, not in a selfish or watered down way but in a way that declares your own worth. It’s rest for your mind, body and soul. It’s a quiet space to process or just to be present. It’s calm in the midst of a crazy, f***ed up society that tells us we only have worth if we are constantly performing. It’s a place where we don’t have to constantly be striving and reaching for the next goal but we are allowed to just flow through the process and let the poses and breathwork do their magic. Yoga is all of this and so much more than one blog post could ever hold. It is a beautiful, never ending learning and growing process. It is my calm and my constant amidst an ever changing life.
So if your a yoga teacher or practitioner (especially if your a student of mine), I would love to hear what yoga is to you. How has yoga changed your life? What is your current yoga practice teaching you? Happy International Day of Yoga friends!