May 28th marked an anniversary of sorts…my “yogi-versary.” Had you told me five years ago that I’d be teaching yoga, I would’ve laughed. Five years ago I wasn’t even practicing yoga. Kurzy told me yoga would improve my running and decrease my recovery time. I kept foam rolling and thinking he was nuts (for the record, he is). Then while getting ready to go away, I was in a car accident. Just enough to tweak my back, but multiple flights and midnight layovers made it worse and I found myself resorting to yoga. Suddenly I was doing yoga on the floors of the Toronto and Calgary airports, and in the tiny AirBnB. While on this trip, Tam and I ended up doing yoga with hundreds of others. Crammed into a conference room, Elena Brower led us through this amazing practice and I found myself crying. I couldn’t pinpoint why but I do know that something changed in that moment and I haven’t missed a day since. Tam started thinking about a baby after that and would tell me that I was going to become a yogi so she could have a full year off…I laughed and honestly wanted to barf at the thought. It terrified me.
Fast forward and now I’m teaching hours of yoga every week. As I reflect on this journey, I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned along the way:
· It’s called a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect. There is always a chance to learn and grow no matter your abilities. The most advanced yogi still has the excitement of learning.
· The energy that you put into the world truly makes a difference. Come into class stressed or mad and it is felt by others. Show up with lovely energy and the whole group feels it. Our studio has had the energy of someone who’s grieving hard. When her day is harder than usual, I feel the entire group sending love her way and it changes the entire room. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t moved me to tears more than once. It’s an amazing gift to others.
· Emotions are allowed in life so they are okay on your mat. No apologies or explanations necessary.
· Life and yoga require you to focus on your own mat if you wish to succeed. No comparisons. Just do you.
· Be flexible and open to change. Exciting things happen when you try new poses and new things.
· Trust yourself. If you can’t do that, how do you trust others?
· Sinus infections are not a yogi’s friend.
· If you wear the wrong shirt, you can almost drown in it.
· The ability to control a room of people. I’m an introvert so this lesson was a tough one. I still look out at a full class sometimes and feel nerves, but I know that I preach about getting outside of your comfort zone so here I am.
· Airport floors are not the most sanitary places to do yoga.
· It’s hard to teach three hours of yoga the day after a tough core workout.
· There is nowhere that I won’t attempt to handstand.
· I didn’t know I was missing yoga until I found it.
For all the lessons I’ve learned, I’m grateful for the gentle nudges that have sent me in this direction.
P.S. Tam stop giggling and saying “I told you so.”