It’s hard to believe that it was 15 months ago that I meagerly walked into the cozy back room of Whitman Wellness Center. I had no idea what this training would entail, what it would mean for me, if I even had the right to be here. Everyone says “Yoga Teacher Training will change your life!”. I didn’t know what to expect but I sat anyways, I stayed, listened and learned – my gut whispered to me that this would be the best decision of my life. As we started introducing ourselves I began to get antzy. The women around me had practiced longer, had this confidence beaming from them, and knew who they were, and I was just me.. I questioned again if I deserved to be here or if I was a fraud..
I DREADED the fact that eventually my turn would come to introduce myself. My inner monologue looked something like this:
“How could I package this introduction so that these people would like me?!”
“How could I introduce myself when I really didn’t know myself?!”
“I’m going to say too much and scare them off! Or I won’t say enough and come off stand-offish…”
What it came down to is that I wasn’t prepared to tell my story because I didn’t want to admit to pieces of my past because I had yet to fully come to terms with it myself. Bit by bit through this year (and change) the fears melted away and the unboxing began.
To start, I simply found yoga when I needed it the most. I was struggling through a toxic relationship that left me emotionally and mentally battered and bruised, I was coming to terms with my lifelong anxiety disorder and needed something (literally anything) to feel better. It’s hard to admit to now, but I choose to in the hopes that anyone else that was or is in this boat knows that they are not alone, that there is no certain “type of person” that suffers from mental illnesses, self-harming, and binge drinking. I was doing anything to make myself feel like I was prettier, more confident, more deserving of love and just better – and when I couldn’t I resorted to unhealthier coping mechanisms as a way to “punish” myself by burning, restricting my diet or drinking. I couldn’t go on like this for obvious reasons. My lack of self love and care convinced me that I didn’t deserve more than this though – the things I had done, the person I was, it was a narrative I let others write for me. I let others define who I was and what I could do and what I deserved – that was it. When I lost those people, at the time I told myself I wasn’t worthy enough and I was too sensitive or difficult to deal with. Almost every day I spent in bed, willing myself to get up but wanting to just stay small and disappear. I wasn’t suicidal, I never wanted to die but, I didn’t want to be here I wanted to fast forward through my mental breakdowns until things were better.
On one of those days I looked up mala beads at work and found a yoga blog, it was the divine coming through. I unrolled my mat on my bedroom floor that evening and vowed that I was never going to be the girl that drowned in her own tears and booze in bed again. Once I was free I was able to write a new story – I found solace and self love on the yoga mat. Moving my body was reinforcing how strong my body was, pranayama taught me I could be in control of my life, and meditation let me see the way out. After consistent practice for two years I was seeing a transformation in myself and felt called to help others, because if this was happening to me in silence others were probably hiding in similar boats needing to find a lighthouse – I wanted to be that lighthouse. Then came Lee-Ann, Cara and Whitman Wellness. The women I had met in that room on the first night became a second family, held space while I re-learned who I was, cried together during the hard times, and belly laughed through the good. A freakin’ pandemic could not stop the outpouring of love we had for one another, when one was weak we all stayed strong, we were (and always will be) in this together. As someone who had not had many meaningful, genuine, relationships with females this was in itself worth thousands. I love my tribe – hard.
The work wasn’t easy.
Transformation and awakening is not easy or always beautiful but it was worth it.
We sat together and unearthed old wounds that we tried to pack away because it was easier to run. But when your quarantined with nothing else but time in the world, in your own home, there is no where to hide – being on this journey in a pandemic was a calling. Asking us to rehash old wounds and heal them then let them go, for not every one we were holding was ours.
I learned this first hand when we dove into the Yamas and Niyamas – specifically when we hit the third Niyama, Tapas. Tapas asks us if we are willing to be burned for the blessing, can you withstand the fire to reap the reward. I was letting the world around me burn, for years I stood there accepting this not knowing when or if it was ever going to stop throwing flames. I just remember questioning “why do these things keep happening to me? When will this stop, when will I catch a break?” I never knew that I had been like a phoenix burning in these flames to become ash and eventually rise.
I had to burn to rise, I had to shed every bit of myself and to restart. This training gave me that opportunity – taking out every unhealthy vice and replacing it with knowledge, kindness and understanding. Re-affirming for the first time in a long time that I was worthy of the love, forgiveness and compassion I was freely giving everyone but myself. Sitting on the other side of this journey I am thankful for every dig, jab and fire that was put in my path to becoming the person I am today. Up until this point in my life I let myself be a victim of the events that had happened in my past, opposed to taking ownership of my life and responsibility for myself.
Because of what I learned about myself at Whitman Wellness Center and through Yoga Spirit® …
- I am able to discipline myself in my lifestyle change
- I am able to remain in the moment
- I am able to forgive my past and share my story
- I am able to love myself unconditionally
- I am able to share the tools to show others elf love on and off the mat
- I am able to be in a healthy and loving relationship for the first time in my adult life
- I am confident in who I am (not worrying who others think I should be)
- I know my own worth
I could go on for hours and pages and still have more to say. It’s hard to put into words what this yoga teacher training has done for my life. If you were to have met me three years ago, hell even a year ago, I was not the person I am today. I attribute so many of the defining moments of the last year to what I learned about myself while sitting at the studio.
My heart is full, my head is clear and the journey is just beginning. As we say farewell to our 200 hour training we say hello to the world of being a piece of the lightworkers puzzle.
This is our beginning ♡