I think I want to teach yoga.

That realization, perhaps revelation that scares us and invigorates in the same breath. We’ve all been here. “I think I want to teach yoga,” I said to my husband in June of 2012. September 2012, I began a 10-week 200 hour RYT teacher training program at Gaia Flow Yoga in Dallas. It was simple really, after I let go and let God if you will, I took the leap and had this overwhelming feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

In those first few months when debating whether or not to follow those yogis before me and start teacher training, I must have read hundreds of blogs, websites, etc about how long should I have practiced before training, what will I learn, will I know how to teach at the end, how will I know I’m ready for such an intense training?

Inquiring students are now looking to me for this unanswerable information. I hope my experience helps ease some uncertainty; however, I hope it doesn’t ease too much…It’s where we are uncomfortable in this life when we grow.

Myth #1
Everyone will be so experienced.

I wish I would’ve let this one go. It caused some restless nights. I have been doing yoga for about 3 years; I have been practicing and actually dedicated to that practice for a little over a year. However, at the time of training I was about 6 months into actually be aware of how powerful yoga was to my mind, my body, my soul. 6 months. That is all.

We were all at different levels in our personal practice, yet many of us were blind to it. There is no striving in yoga, no ego. Each person in your program plays an integral part of the process. Some are there to become teachers, others to gain knowledge of yoga to deepen their practice. It is here that I found the focus of yoga is not nor will ever be the poses, the flying, the handstands, headstands, backbends, etc. The asanas are beautiful but the dedication behind the practice is what keeps us coming back. Each time I fall and get back up, each time I see beads of sweat hitting my mat, each time my body starts to shake, I take that with me, it becomes a part of me…and I am stronger. Experience in the yoga world doesn’t mean much. One of my greatest teachers always said, “We are all beginners.” Don’t let the idea that you are a beginner keep you from a journey through teacher training. That would be silly. ♥

Be honest with yourself. I promise you know when you’re ready. If it’s a timing issue always remember that we make time for the things we want to. It can change your whole perspective. My husband, Kyle and I were transitioning into married life, even buying our first home during my time in teacher training.

Myth #2

I will have to memorize things.

The thickness of the training manual is intimidating, but that’s about where the fear stops. From Sanskrit pronunciation to proper cues to anatomy to principles of yoga, you will be given the tools to not just teach but to be inspiring. You will memorize things not because you have to, merely because you want to. It becomes part of your wealth of knowledge. It will be your yoga bible as you start writing our your very first class outline.

Myth #3

10 weeks is a long time. Yes, it was but looking back it went by so very fast. Of course I missed my newlywed husband and our little dog, I missed our Saturdays and Sundays together but I wouldn’t trade my teacher training experience for the world.

Myth #4

I don’t think I can actually teach at the end.

“The mind is everything. You become what you think.” Buddha

Enough said. You can do anything, be anything. You are brave enough, strong enough, and definitely smart enough.

Myth #5

I won’t get a teaching position.

Being a teacher should never be a destination, but rather a goal in your journey. When you are genuine, passionate and prepared, you will radiate what yoga really is, a lifestyle–a science of life, of well-being. Be yoga. When you’re absolutely ready, it will come. ♥

I hope this spoke to somebody out there considering a 200 hour yoga teacher training. Yogis who inspired me to teach always said when you meet your group and grow with them, you will know why you waited until now or had to do it now…it’s exactly where you’re meant to be. So I pass that knowledge to you. All of my love as you make your decision; although, I think it’s already been made.

The Start of Something Beautiful

Kindred spirits, uplifting conversation, what I have been searching for, I felt home.

I remember it like a vivid dream. A time in my life, a place in my heart that needed a little more independence, a little more faith, maybe a little more love. I left academia with a degree that lacked true passion; yet on my journey through it, most notably my travels to India I found something more. It took me about two years to accept it, but this passion, this life force was just waiting for me to uncover it: yoga. As an advertiser and social media consultant, I prided myself on using social responsibility as a tool to gain entry into markets, to stand out. I was missing the true point of responsibility. I desperately needed to share my inner wisdom with others, and each time I left a yoga class at various studios, I was given a taste, a glance, even just a peek of pure harmony, an intense love of everything in life.
I hesitated to tell loved ones of my intention of aspiring to be a yoga practitioner. I’m not sure why. I suppose looking back it was just not my time. I was waiting for the Universe, for God to open my eyes to see the place where I really needed to be. Something higher pulled me to Gaia Flow—the friendly faces, the love based practice, the vibration of the music, the remembrance of my travels that I could feel in the hot air. Whatever it was, I was home.

The very first day of teacher training, I was partnered up with Mary. I didn’t know what to expect. To be honest, I thought everyone was going to be seasoned yogis with years and years of experience. We sat cross-legged facing each other, were told to look into our partners’ eyes and really see them. I could not do that. I saw her eyes. I think I even muttered, “Wow, you have beautiful blue eyes,” yet I didn’t see much past that. It felt nice, yet uncomfortable where I wanted to smile and turn away all at the same time. But, as I held contact and composure, my mind was racing with what she may be thinking.  In the ninth week of teacher training, we revisited this exercise. As we sat in a circle, connected as one, we found everyone’s eyes at least one time and that time, I didn’t even have to try to see them. I just saw. I saw Katie’s heart, Ben’s strength, Nic’s wisdom, and everyone’s trueness until I came back to Mary. Without words, without expression, I saw her kindness, her willingness to lend a hand all in a glance, a connection. It was so powerful, many of us cried. As I think about our group, sitting in that studio connected, tears freely flow from my eyes now. It is my highest intention to make those connections with my students, to see them in their good days when everything is beautiful and in those days where it takes everything just to roll out of bed. Wherever they arrive that day, just to see them for their beauty. In the hustle and bustle of life, elements of existence get in the way. Jobs, stress, career, even family restrict our notion of happiness, or meaning. We get lost in judgments, take ownership of certain ideals just to please, but through it all, we are all the same.

My best friend, Amelia is one of the strongest women I know. When I decided to start teacher training and really immerse myself in everything yoga, she said to me, you have such a calming presence, I know this is what you need to be doing.  And it’s not about being “zen” being “calm” all the time. It’s about using that energy I was given and helping somebody. I never knew I had it, but now I seem to share it with so many people, with strangers, with loved ones. And it’s constantly evolving.  My friction with India subsided after my mom said to me, “Don’t be so rigid.” So I started using that as my mantra for some time now. To not being so rigid. To know my own ways yet to get uncomfortably comfortable as we have learned throughout teacher training. When I listen, when I truly listen to myself, I grow in those times of uncertainty, I grow in the mundane, in the day to day where I am forced to lie outside of my comfort zone, because outside of my comfort zone is where I am able to really feel, to react, to be emotional. Even though I was right where I needed to be, you’d better believe that first day of teacher training was so novel, so different than anything I had ever done, I was uncomfortable. And as I left that first weekend, I was ecstatic. Each weekend to come would hold its own set of challenges, laughs, and independence until the day came when I was to teach my first class.I walked into the studio on November 3, having the support of so many behind me. The support based on the notion that I was happy doing this, doing what I loved, doing what made me feel most alive in this world. I think that was what kept me so calm during the day. As I put on the headset, began to hear myself breathe and speak, I could only hope that I would do my best and reach someone, as all those yogis before me had moved me in some way—to push to yield to be.