If you had told me three years ago upon graduating college that I would become a yoga teacher, I probably would’ve looked at you very confused.
At the time, I had just gotten a PR degree and wasn’t really practicing yoga. My mind was focused on getting a job in the PR field and being quite literally, the twenty-something PR girl.
The reality is, yoga has been in and out of my life for over a decade (maybe even almost two). It was weaved in and out of gym and ballet classes since then; it was first introduced to me in elementary school and I remember being taught downward dog and a few other yoga postures. I knew certain postures as time went on, but it never occurred to me then, let alone three years ago, that I could or would be teaching yoga to others.
Fast-forward to my time in college and I was really getting a handle on my wellness and fitness journey. Near the beginning, I decided to take a one-credit yoga course at the community college I attended. I remember the asana practice, but most of the lectures and history of yoga went right over my head at the time; I just wasn’t ready to receive it.
After college, the fitness trainers I trained with incorporated a lot of yoga into their weekly routines and soon, I found myself practicing and craving more of a yoga practice. I evolved to practicing more with YouTube videos then finally started venturing out to my local YMCA and other yoga studios.
I took a break for a little bit, but something in me really wanted to get back into practicing yoga. I remembered seeing a post about hot yoga and was so intrigued by it. At this time, I was ready to add a weekly yoga class to my schedule. I played the field (I know that means something totally different but that’s kind of what I can equate it to) until I stumbled in a couple of minutes late to my first hot yoga class after work. And I’m not talking just any hot yoga class; I’m talking hot power yoga inspired by Baron Baptiste.
My initial thoughts were:
- “There’s a lot of people here!”
- “I’m going to hide in the corner in the back of the room”
- “Wow, this room is really HOT”
- “Breathing in this heat feels hard to me”
- “Was my instructor in the military? This is like drill-sergeant yoga!”
- “Why isn’t the instructor practicing with us? Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?”
- “What time is it?”
- “OMG it’s only been 10 minutes”
- “Okay, you got this!”
- “I’VE NEVER BEEN THIS SWEATY”
- “What is crow pose??”
- “Am I doing this right?”
- “I don’t know if I’ll ever come back – this is hard”
- “Hey, I know this posture at least!”
- “Wow, chaturangas feel hard to me”
- “Oh, thank goodness, it’s time for savasana”
- “Not sure what to do with this cold washcloth for savasana, but Imma just cover my face with it (btw this is part is awesome!)”
After class, my thoughts were:
- “Wait, wow, I feel amazing! Is this what the post-yoga glow feels like?”
- “Okay, I’ll give it another shot”
I ended up giving it another shot every week for two years. And just like that, I became a dedicated hot power yogi. I slowly made my way up to the front row of the room, mostly because it created less distraction for me and allowed me to focus more on my practice than others. It was also because my confidence was at an all-time high for the first time in my life.
Within the first year of practicing, I realized my weekly hot power class felt like an escape for me. It allowed me to get away from the stresses of work and personal life, while also giving me the ability to just focus on me. It was mine; it was my “me time”. No emails to check or to-do lists to think about. And no one really knew my name, which I didn’t really mind, and yet I felt so connected to everyone in class. I could just be me without worrying about others judging me. As time went on, I realized I wasn’t just getting physically stronger, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stronger, too.
I noticed one day after listening to my instructor talk about equanimity (finding calmness in a stressful situation) week by week, I found myself in a stressful situation off of my mat, where instead of reacting irrationally, I paused and calmly responded. It was then, I really knew something inside me was changing and I was becoming a better version of myself.
By my second year, I was alternating between two instructors every other week. I stuck to my weekly hot yoga class with the same instructor, but there was another instructor who incorporated essential oils into their class and the way they taught made the class seem so timeless that I couldn’t stay away. I found a sense of balance within my yoga practice by alternating fast and slow classes, which was something I definitely needed.
By this time I was about more than a year and a half into practicing yoga weekly and had thoughts of becoming a yoga teacher and wanting to make an impact on others the way my instructors and my yoga practice did on me. Later that year, I received an email one day detailing how my second instructor who taught the slower-paced vinyasa classes was leaving my beloved yoga studio and opening up their own studio an hour away from me. I was sad at first, but also extremely happy for them. As I continued to read the email, something caught my eye, which also made my jaw drop and I let out an excited squeal. At the end of the email, this instructor noted how they were offering a 200-hr yoga teacher training at their new studio.
After reading that, I was justifying how I could make it work. I knew in my heart it was now or never. I was already talking about how I wanted to pursue personal training, nutrition, group fitness training, and yoga teacher training by the time I am 30. Some external sources had doubts about my decision, but I didn’t let it get me down. I knew this was my path and I had to follow it, especially once I realized I could make it work with my full-time work schedule, and I could pay for it in full. I took the plunge and signed up for the nine-month-long yoga teacher training and had no idea how deep I was really diving into my yoga practice.
My yoga teacher training was even more life-changing than I ever would’ve guessed but SO worth it! Now, yoga is an essential part of my life. I practice it, I teach it, and I live by it. Some days or weeks it can be hard to get to my mat to practice or even meditate, but every time I do, I’m reminded of why I practice and teach, and that is the most fulfilling feeling. It’s the one thing in my life I felt called to do that I truly acted on, and wasn’t part of the linear checklist society had for me.
Special thanks to Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn for inspiring to go out of my comfort zone and try a yoga class, David and Linda Schaar for the studio space that became a second home, Stacey Skala for introducing me to my true style of yoga, which spoke to my soul, and also for opening up your yoga studio to us every weekend for YTT, Soña Briggs for teaching me everything and more a 200-hr yogi should know, and Jasmine Margreno for raising the vibration in our yoga community, becoming my mentor, and taking over Vibrant Life Yoga, and to all of my friends and yoga students. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Namaste, friends.