It's official... I am a professional Yoga Teacher! It's amazing to reflect on the path that brought me here. I have a degree in Agricultural Business and a career spanning advertising sales, hotel sales and teaching kindergarteners - not very yogic, and in fact, some of the reasons I needed yoga in my life to begin with. One may never have guessed this would be where my career would lead me (including myself), yet it makes so much sense to me now.
I was 19 the first time I set foot on the mat. I was in college (Go Mustangs!) and looking for a fun new form of physical exercise. It was fun, and it was physical, but what I didn't expect it to be was peaceful. I noticed immediately the calming effects yoga had on my mind; a toned figure became just a bonus. As an overwhelmed college student I needed all the stress relief I could get and yoga became my source.
As much as I loved yoga, I admit I was a fair-weather yogi for quite a long time. With a lot on my plate, I didn't have the discipline to make it to the mat as often as I could have... should have. Many things changed over many, many years. Schedules shifted, jobs changed, we moved across the country, got married, started a family... but one thing remained the same: I always came back to yoga when I needed to release. It became my source of daily rebirth. If ever a day was tough I would find myself in a yoga class and by the time that class was over I felt like a new person, whole again, ready to tackle whatever came at me and with fresh perspective.
Fast forward several years later to the seriously belated honeymoon we took to Tulum last June. For those of you who have been to Tulum, you know about the presence of yoga in this tranquil Caribbean oasis (If you haven't been to Tulum, what are you waiting for!? Seriously, it's incredible.). I took a handful of classes at the in-house studio where we were staying - which was a loft above the restaurant. The loft's beach-facing wall had sliding doors that opened up to a panoramic view of the ocean; the breeze coming in during our practice was unforgettable. It was so loud it literally drowned out every other ambient sound. The experience was absolutely life-changing. It was here, in this loft, that I knew I was going to become a yoga teacher.
On the flight home from Mexico, we researched Teacher Training programs in our area and came across Avalon Yoga in Palo Alto. This training program was unique to others because it was rooted in science with expert guests spanning a wide range of topics including Chiropractics, Music, Systems Biology, Asana, Anatomy, and Pranayama. We even spent a day in a cadaver lab (my stomach is still churning). Each guest was individually fascinating. And again, I got more than I expected from the experience of yoga. Not only did I enrich my mind with seriously incredible knowledge, but I made some lifelong friends along the way.
So here I am, one year later, a certified yoga teacher. I feel honored that I am allowed to do this for a living. Yoga has brought me peace and self awareness, amongst much, much more - and hope I can bring some of the same benefits to my students. But why Yoga for Mental Wellness? You'll have to check back here for my next post! ;) Until then, I'll see you on the mat.