Well, finally… after years and years of much masquerading and posing, I am a real yoga teacher. an RYT200 thank you very much. I do indeed say this tongue planted firmly in cheek, but it has been a fascinating experience to get here to say the least.
I took my first yoga class 18 years ago in L.A. ( separate story to follow…) we moved back to Boise a few months later and I began my 3-4 year immersion in the Iyengar tradition. Deep foundation in alignment and anatomical precision. After a couple of years of class once a week, I took a “deepen your practice” series that met once a month for a weekend for 6 months in a row.
Great experience. Then I rediscovered vinyasa flow, loving the dancerly grace and stamina it required. Yoga as active prayer. I went to L.A. and took a 10 day teacher training with Shiva Rea. Amazing transformative time for me. The gates were opened.
Then more and more workshops, teacher trainings, classes. Rodney Yee, Seane Corn, Micheline Berry, Max Strom, Saul David Raye, Julian Walker, Kristy Brock, Felicity Green, Sarah Ivanhoe. I was a yoga junkie…in the best way possible.
I started teaching children at my daughter’s preschool 12 years ago. I adored it and they LOVED yoga. Got it instinctively and to see their tiny blessed out faces after class was priceless. I taught there twice a week for 7 years.
From that connection, a parent at my daughter’s school asked me to come and teach yoga to she and her boss at a small law firm in town during their lunch hour. I declined, saying, “but I am not a real yoga teacher. I just mess around like a dork with kids.” she was insistent and finally I gave in and taught a class to the 2 of them for an hour. At the end of it, I was vibrating and thinking “this is what I am supposed to do.” It was utterly validating.
So I began to teach them twice a week. Then a Saturday morning at a small studio. Then another studio. Then more private clients and another studio. Years rolled by and I was teaching 20 hours a month as well as taking one or two classes a week and doing workshops every 6 months. Constantly deepening my practice and yet, never bothered to gather all of my hours together and turn them in to Yoga Alliance to be certified. Never really seemed important to me.
I am a reasonably intelligent, passionately curious (about things that actually interest me) kind of person. I am not an academic, testing, grades and certificates kind of person. in fact, the whole idea of it creeps me out. And also, I have an extremely short attention span for that kind of thing. 10 day yoga trainings were the perfect thing for me. Not 4 years of my life, but 10 days! I could get behind that. So I did, repeatedly.
But now, Yoga Alliance no longer grandfathered in all of your previous hours of teaching and trainings, but required you to do a 200 or 500 hour program with one school. Studios were often not even allowing teachers to teach who did not have this credential. It seemed that the time had come for me to pony up and do a 200 hour program. It would be good for me to do something that was so foreign to me.
Fortunately, I was able to do this training right in my home town. The Shanti Yoga School, run by Deb Murphy meets once a week and one weekend a month for 6 month programs. You just jump in at any time and ride the cycle through until you have completed all of the units, do your homework, asana check off, writings and tests and you are good to go.
I loved school. All of the information felt new and fresh. I never felt “oh, I already know all of this.” Was never bored, always excited, always ready to go to class, to spend the day learning and exploring. Total yoga geek. Constantly inspired by the endless conversation with the teachers and students.
A little while after I started the school, I got cancer…and then got cancer again… and then ended a relationship, and then my parents were both not well, and my daughter is a teenager and I moved and, and, and…..completing school kept getting put off. I had all of my contact and classroom hours, now I just needed to do my homework. just do my homework….just sit down and actually do the homework…
As procrastination, flowed into procrastination, the ominous pile of books and notebooks, always in plain view, anxiety always lurking, I started to ask myself “What the hell is your problem? Just do this thing!”
Then I began to realize this low grade panic and fear lurking just under the surface. I started to listen to the whisperings, and was so surprised when I was able to hear them say quite clearly, “What if you can’t pass? What if you really don’t know this stuff? What if you really have no business being a yoga teacher? What if you are nothing but a charlatan, faking it all of these years? When you go to take these tests and write these papers, you will be found out and you will be hung from the gallows” wow…
It was staggering to me to be faced with my insecurity around this detail. This piece of paper. I love teaching. I feel that I am a fine and competent teacher. My students are safe with me. Can I tell them the difference between abductor and adductor muscles? Not without consulting my notes….but I can tell them in perfect sensory detail how to allow their entire body to breathe as if they were a jellyfish, and when they tap into that, their abductor and adductors will operate in perfect accordance with each other. That is my area of expertise.
I feel less like a teacher and a bit more like a priestess holding safe space and creating a rich sensory experience for people to surrender into. To allow the breath to breathe them. The yoga to work its magic on each person exactly as they need it to be worked. Each individual experience unique. It’s not about me. It’s about the yoga. I am so very blessed to be witness to that alchemy.
So, I am now official! And when my daughter graduates from High School (June!!!) I will look into the 500 hour program. All I want to do now is go to school, and take workshops and study and travel to workshops, to teach workshops and do yoga and teach yoga and give and receive massage and dance and laugh and love big every day…oh wait….that is my life…lucky me…
It delights me that at 51, I have found my passion and my place. The college world never held any interest for me at all, and now I have found my schooling arena. That there is no end to that diving deeper and learning more . I am forever an eager student. And now I can say with confidence, “Why, yes, I am a yoga teacher. Don’t believe me? Let me show you my papers…”
…now, if i could just figure out how to rotate photos on this site….