When you’re a first-time yogi and the teacher cues a bind in wide-legged, side-facing forward fold, do not make dubious eye contact with your friend on the way down.
That is, unless you want to catch the giggles (and the wobbles). You want me to do what with my body?
That was 10 years ago.
Despite the rocky start, I’ve come back to yoga time and time again — not always with a regular practice, but in spurts. When I was in college, it provided a reminder to stretch the muscles that powered me around campus. When I had a regular gym membership, it was a low-impact way to balance the step and aerobics classes. When life clouded in a funk, it offered an hour of breath to refocus on gratitude — and it truly (thankfully) gave me the space to breathe again.
When I first joined Evolution Power Yoga in summer 2015, committing to a regular practice caught hold of me. I was on fire, changed by the time on my mat, even twice a week. My heart said to explore teacher training. My head told me I didn’t want to be a yoga teacher.
Instead, I kept practicing.
In August last year, I took another look. I still didn’t “want to teach,” but I’d reached a point of restlessness that I knew I needed to address. Is this where I’m supposed to be? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Should I quit my job or move out of state or take some other drastic action to jump-start what’s next? Am I here because it’s easy? Am I here because it is safe?
I wanted more.
I wanted something different, and I wanted to feel like I wasn’t settling.
I was primed for the self-inquiry on the first weekend of teacher training, when our leaders asked us what we wanted out of the program. You could write a whole big paragraph, but then they asked you to pare down to one word. I wrote my word, and I thought, “Here we go.” And then I went through three or four more months of training and three or four more months of life.
In weekend six, they asked us to go back and look at this word. What did you want out of this experience?
Holy smokes, YES. Courage to not settle, to do the thing, to glean power from action and MOVE. TOWARD. MY. GOALS.
As I wrapped up the training, I wanted to stay in the learning. I wanted to be part of this community. At first, that looked like assisting. When a teacher spot opened up, I, the lady who didn’t want to teach yoga, kept going back to that word — courage. And I said yes.
It’s courage to stand up and make practice happen for students in the room. It’s courage to look a student in the eye and allow yourself to be seen in return. It’s courage to remain open to feedback, to growth, to something new. I see that same courage in our students, who show up on the mat and drop what they know to access something greater.
EPY’s training programs provide endless nuggets of wisdom that continue to reveal themselves in new spaces for me, but the three themes of Baptiste Yoga ring true:
Be a yes.
Give up what you must.
You are ready now.