“Stand in your space and know who you are.”
I’ve been worried lately. About me. About the yoga studio where I work. It’s become a numbers game and I want to know where is my yoga in all of this? I must be true to myself. I must teach what I know. No matter if I’m the best yoga teacher ever, or just kinda ehh. 50% may like me, 50% may not. It’s all an ebb and flow, it’s all BALANCE.
I’m not a new teacher, and I’ve taught hundreds of classes. I started teaching at the University of Wyoming in summer of 2013 a week after my first yoga sculpt (yoga with weights) training. Turns out, I’m the only instructor in Laramie who has been certified in using weights in a yoga practice. I have done my research and I have developed a relationship both with the practice and information. I have done over 50 hours of mindfulness training and completed my masters of science in counseling. But, what makes my classes isn’t my knowledge or letters behind my name. What makes my classes is that I live my practice. The teachings of yoga come from me because I have lived them. Let me back track.
Summer of 2009 I spent the entire summer in jail. I remember every pop song that came out that summer and could dance with Beyoncé, I learned to make intricate letters and drawings with color lifted form newspaper with deodorant and toilet paper. I measured the amount of steps in the 18 by 18 foot box outside so I could run a mile (back and forth 138 times). I was in jail because I had broken the law. I had broken myself. I had revoked my probation that I was on for my second DUI by catching a charge for a third DUI. Automatic 180 days in jail. I did my time and go out through the Albany County Court Supervised Treatment Program. Saved my friggin life.
I am a human being who is working through my stuff. I went through a two year treatment program to gain sobriety and learn tools to deal with intense emotional trauma (dead dad, drug abuse, etc). I spent the next two years in intense psychotherapy using EMDR, dream analysis, and just plain hard work realizing how very much I hated myself. HATED myself. But only through yoga did I wake up. Only through yoga did I realize I am divine.
My daily yoga and meditation practice is a practice in being mindful, just being, really. Not a saint. Not perfect. I even walked away from my practice for a few months because I doubted my ability. I came back. Still flawed. But a flawed human who teaches yoga from the only place I know—my heart. I teach not because I want to be the yoga queen or self-important but because I don’t want to die anymore. I want to live. And I want to live amongst others who are divine, star-dust, magnificent. The ancient teachings come out of me backed by my history. I know darkness. I lived it.
Whether I have a class full or just one, the message is the same—you are so, so important. This comes from a life I lived where I didn’t understand this and my movement, my breath, my sweat, my voice, was lost in addiction. I’ve found it again through yoga. And I remember, just keep doing the poses, just keep teaching, and all is coming. All is already here.