more than just hatha yoga
There is nothing scarier than deciding you want to explore a new path. At 26, I was feeling sluggish and lost. Coming from a very active childhood, I needed to find new ways to soothe my mind and get back into my body. So, I rented a mat and tried a hatha yoga class, again. But this time was different, this time I was hooked. With no mirrors to tear myself apart, I found positive stillness and pure love coming from the voice of a teacher I had never met before. I went back time and time again. And then one day, I realized that the best part of my day happened when I was just walking off my mat. I became clear, settled, and light each time. I wanted to know why.
I immediately dove into books about yoga from an emotional perspective. Yoga really attracted me on a philosophical and mental health level, it’s clear that yoga is deeper than just a physical practice, although we all love the hard work and physical rewards. I decided the best way to learn was to teach. I researched for weeks. I read reviews and spent time on the Yoga Alliance website and finally decided to go with YogaWorks.
The initial commitment to the program was terrifying. It’s an expensive leap of faith. I remember sitting in the Q&A session in a nervous panic. I spoke loud and fast. I pushed myself to the limit. I wanted to prove this or that. I needed to feel like everyone in the room was impressed by me in whatever capacity available. I worried about what my boyfriend would think or my family. “Candace has given up on her dreams and become a hippie.” It was a web of toxic insecurity that I had been dealing with for years.
The night before the course started, I felt like a 6th grader on the first day of school. Making sure I had everything I needed to an obsessive level. I could not chill out. But as the course started and went on, I learned to breathe. And not just on my mat, in a “real life”. I became much more comfortable with my soul, my mind, and my body. See, what I was doing before was exhausting and dishonest. I was on a hamster wheel in a twisted city, but journeying through the YogaWorks Teacher Training program with 15 other students and 3+ instructors showed me how I live life. How I could go about understanding emotional pain, frustrations, and struggles. We were focusing on so much more than our handstands, but all of the work combined helped each piece. The opening of the chest and strength in my spine grew, but so did my confidence. If you are physically closed, you are emotionally closed as well. It’s all the same thing.
I found true friendships that inspire me, and I made a friendship with myself that took 27 years. Yes, there were days I was exhausted and overwhelmed. There were a few tears, and sleepless nights trying to figure out my purpose in the world. The twisting classes gave me a hardcore flu. But it was all of the toxins physically and emotionally leaving my body. After it was gone, I felt better than ever.
Sometimes the things we fear the most are directly correlated with the change we need most in our life. I am not the same person I was before the training. I’m lighter, stronger, more understanding of myself and others, and I’m not as afraid. Yes, I’m still capable of getting completely strung out. And no, its not magical. It’s dedication to more than learning poses, it’s dedicating time to learn about yourself, and learn that teaching is a continuation of that time.
I can’t imagine going into the next chapters of my life without yoga and the knowledge I gained from this training. Whenever I start to forget what I’ve learned, I know I have been away from my mat too long.