Happy Monday! In the event you haven’t seen me mention it here on the blog or on my Facebook Page, I wanted to take a moment to let you know what is going on here on Tasty Yummies this month. Beginning today, I am embarking on a month-long program to becoming a certified yoga teacher. It is Monday through Friday, for 4 weeks straight, at the end of which I will be a 200-hour registered yoga teacher!
How I Got My Start with Yoga.
This journey is something I have dreamt of and been looking forward to, for a very long time. I starting practicing yoga about 7 years ago. It began with a 6-week intro to yoga course at East Meets West Yoga in Buffalo in 2007. In many ways it was love-at-first-forward-fold, but in other ways it was a huge awakening and humbling experience. I struggled with many aspects of my practice, at first. For me, many of the challenges came from the mental and emotional responses of learning to quiet my mind and of course, the physical limitations of putting my body into positions it had never been in and that I never thought possible.
I didn’t dive right into a daily practice after the intro course, I would hit classes here and there, I would use sicknesses, injuries and busyness as excuses to take a month or two off. I was in a place in my life that I wanted to see instant results, I wanted to be better at yoga than I was and I wasn’t looking at the path of getting there, just the frustration of not already being there, like many of the seasoned yogis around me in class (who I now realize had likely been practicing for many, many years). If I had any element of sadness in my life, I would stay away from my mat, a result of being broken down to tears during savasana on a couple of occasions. I was later able to acknowledge that it was my own fear and my ego that wouldn’t let me fully give into my yoga practice. I guess I just wasn’t ready for all of it, quite yet.
About two years after completing the Intro to Yoga class and practicing here and there, on and off, I really found a rhythm with my yoga practice when I found Ashtanga yoga. I practiced Mysore-style (a supervised self-practice) as often as I could and it really changed my entire perspective on yoga. It honestly changed me as a person. The dedication to an Ashtanga practice, to this day, is one of the most humbling yoga experiences I have had, it taught me so much about myself, as a yogi and as a person. It has been the biggest lesson in patience I have ever been exposed to. It really played a huge role in me wanting to eventually become a yoga teacher. I finally transitioned into a regular vinyasa practice after practicing Ashtanga for some time, and I developed (as close to) a daily practice, getting to the studio 4 to 5 days a week, when possible, and at home when I couldn’t get to a studio. Besides seeing the physical changes in my practice, I began noticing the calming effects it had on me in the rest of my life. Through my yoga practice I have truly found a union with my mind, body and soul. It has given me the ability to be in-tune with my body at all times, to recognize what it needs, to let go of what isn’t serving me and to take it all for exactly what it is. After just a few months of constant regular practice, I found myself changing, unconsciously. Yoga has literally become a path to me finding my soul. Through my yoga practice and in finding my breath, I am as a result much more able to deal with stress, anxiety, negative thoughts and fear – both on and off my mat. These are things that I never thought were possible. The deep cleansing breathing I learned from my yoga practice, has become something I use on a daily basis to stay grounded, connected and present.
Additionally, on a physical level I have struggled for many years with back pain, I have several herniated and bulging discs in my back that have always been a source of chronic pain. After trying a regular routine at the gym, running, spinning, etc – yoga is what allowed me to focus on my physical weaknesses and work through them in a mindful way. I was able to strengthen areas of my body, such as my core, to aid in supporting my back. All of this has given me the ability to live pain-free, nearly all of the time.
Becoming a Yoga Teacher.
After moving to California early last year, I found myself in a new place with my yoga practice. I was used to the same studio I had always practiced at, the same teachers, the comforts of knowing what to expect (with the exception of when I traveled). I loved East Meets West Yoga and it seriously brings me to tears to think about how much I miss it. When I arrived here in Long Beach, I found so many amazing yoga teachers and studios, but I have bounced around a bit, trying to find my new home, to find my place. It was after I was here about a month, in finding my own practice at home, at various studios and with different teachers, that I realized I am that place, it is within me – no matter where I go. I was finally ready to take my own yoga practice and my overall yoga experience, to the next step. In addition to furthering and deepening my own practice, I am really looking forward to learning as much as I can about the practice, the history and philosophies and gaining the knowledge and the insight to share what I have learned along the way and will learn in my my new journey, with others.
Yoga has changed my life in so many ways and I want to share this same joy with any one willing to accept it. I am excited to share with my future students the incredible union that I have found on and off of the mat. I am happy and blessed to have found an amazing teacher training program, with James Brown at American Yoga School in Venice Beach. I am so excited that this program encourages me to find my own voice as a teacher, using my own words and experiences to share all of this with the world, in the most honest and true way possible. I cannot believe that for the next four weeks, I get to start every single day with a three hour yoga practice, I get to sit around and talk about anatomy, the philosophies of yoga, teaching methodologies and I will even be teaching real classes within three weeks from now. Is this real life?
So, What Will Be Happening Here on Tasty Yummies this Month?
Throughout the month of January, Tasty Yummies will be featuring a series of guest posts from some of my very favorite bloggers and friends, along with a few posts from me. Recipes, round-ups, posts about yoga and more. I also hope to check-in once a week, to bring you guys up to speed on my experiences in the yoga teacher training program. Plus, for those Los Angeles area locals, stay tuned, as there will be an opportunity to take a yoga class with me and the others students, in my third week of teacher training. I will post more info about that, as I have it.
I cannot wait to share this next step with you guys, I hope you are as excited as I am.