My Journey to Teaching

How it all began…
Yoga was never something I considered practicing until I was 19 years old. I was going through a difficult family transition and I was very depressed. It eventually manifested into anxiety. I was too young to realize it at the time, but I started having panic attacks. My family was concerned and suggested I see a doctor. I was prescribed numerous medications, but they all left me feeling worse. I couldn’t leave my house without having a panic attack… so I stopped leaving my house. It was bad.

My mom was the one who encouraged me to try yoga. She had practiced when she was younger, and she thought it would help. I went to the store and bought a VHS tape (remember those?!) and practiced for the very first time in my bedroom. I enjoyed it but didn’t think much of it. Then one day before work I had a panic attack. Without even thinking about it I lay on the floor and told myself to just breathe. Several minutes passed before I realized, wow, the world didn’t end… I’m ok! That was the day I fell in love with yoga.

My practice continued over the years with breaks here and there as I got married and had children. I became more serious about yoga around seven or eight years ago after having pelvic floor dysfunction. During this time I never took a public class. Not once! I was afraid of people seeing me practice. Kind of ironic now, huh?!

Truthfully I was my own teacher. I bought books, attended workshops, and learned as much as I could about the practice and anatomy, as it pertains to movement. I was fascinated by the human body, both physically and mentally.

One day I finally mustered up the courage to take a public yoga class. It was at a Baptiste studio, which is basically power yoga in hot, hot, hot, (did I mention hot?) room. I put my mat down in the back and looked at what I considered to be the ‘cool’ people. I thought I didn’t belong. When class started though I completely forgot about my insecurities and how I looked. I was so distracted by what was happening. I noticed how the majority of the room was struggling. Students couldn’t keep up with the fast pace. Their breath was strained, they were pushing and forcing, the total opposite of what I had been experiencing in my little room. I couldn’t help but look at the teacher and think, ‘Do you not see what’s happening? Are you going to teach them how to move? Are you even looking at them?’

Needless to say I was a little disheartened and didn’t go back. I’m sure the teacher had good intentions, but I was frustrated. I wanted to walk around the room and offer information to everyone. I guess you could say the teacher was already within me, I just didn’t know it yet.

In my previous career as a Certified Pharmacy Technician, my favorite part of the job was training new employees. I loved sharing knowledge in a way that was digestible. I’ve always found it rewarding to watch someone connect the dots and gain confidence in the process.

Meanwhile, I had been taking fitness classes at my local rec center. Numerous instructors suggested I should teach but I always brushed them aside. Until one day the rec center needed a yoga instructor. They reached out to me since they knew I practiced, and I said no. I respected the practice and I thought I didn’t know enough to teach, but everyone persisted. My friends, my family, my husband… they all nudged me so I eventually gave in to get them off my back. Terrible, isn’t it?!

I was terrified the first time I taught. There was a room full of people waiting to be lead through 60 minutes of practice. Somehow I managed to begin and the neatest thing happened. As I watched the bodies in front of me I got swept up in teaching people how to move, how to make it accessible, and how to re-inhabit their bodies. I witnessed their energy shift and it was pretty cool.

The pattern of feeling like I was going to throw up before class and then loving it afterwards continued for a long time. I wondered if I was crazy and if I was any good. I made mistakes and I would have done so many things differently. But my passion for yoga and teaching won. It was a perfect match.

So here I am today. Still practicing, still learning. That will always come first. The only difference is now I love to share it. I love to teach people about self-discovery and self-inquiry. I love to help people find compassion for themselves while showing them what they are capable of. For me, the most effective way to find self-awareness and forgiveness is through the body. It is an incredible vehicle for change.

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