I never ever thought I’d do yoga, let alone teach it; I was never the flexible sort or into the whole “I am Zen” thing. I also never thought I’d start my own business one day; math was never a friend of mine. My passions lied elsewhere, in the world of communication, relationships, and feelings (I’m such a sucker for feelings. In my world, feelings are often superior thought). After completing my bachelors degree in Liberal Arts, I was set on a career in the Social Work/Psychology field. Its wide net of possibility and versatility attracted my people-person side and I knew it would enable me to do what I wanted to do most: help people find clarity and understanding in their life. My school interviews progressed, my applications processed, but something in me was resisting, holding me back. I didn’t feel as though my heart was really committed to the idea of social work. This indecision caught me by surprise; I was the sort to always know what I wanted and how I was going to get there, and I had has my heart set on it for so long. I couldn’t imagine what inspired this change of heart.
Meanwhile, a serious long distance relationship (does that sound like a oxymoron anyone?) began to slip from underneath my feet, and I found myself standing in a puddle of confusion, disbelief, and despair. With my boyfriend gone save for all the painful memories (insert lots of tears and Godiva chocolates), and future career slipping away into wisps of smoke (insert *cricket cricket* when people asked me “So, what are you doing these days?”), my emotional breakdown was set in place and boom, I was a wreck. I quit the job that I hated anyway but never had a good excuse to leave, and I spent large amounts of time lying on the floor in my room wondering how I would get through the next five minutes. One long boring minute led itself into the next, and my life seemed to adopt a big shapeless gray blob. My energy levels sapped, my emotional scale looked like a dead heart beat, and most of my friends were far away in school across the country (so bye bye any thoughts of a GNO to take my mind off of things). One day while browsing youtube videos in a desperate attempt to find something to do, or some flying cat video to make me laugh, I found a yoga video titled “Yoga for Heartbreak.” The heartbreak part of the title screamed at me as if an ambulance siren, and I hardly noticed that fact that I was about to click a link to a yoga video (huh? yoga? like, the exercise that hippies do?). Now, to be fair to myself, I had done yoga a few times several years earlier with my mom. She had bought a yoga DVD and did it a few times a week on the floor in her room, and I joined her just because. So by the time I came across this yoga video on that game changing day, the Sanskrit yoga words sounded somewhat familiar and not just like baby blabber. The instructor in the video used a lot of phrases that sounded like she was leading a support group session, or was a therapist talking to a patient on a couch. “We all have a hard time accepting ourselves” and “It’s okay to be uncomfortable sometimes” and “It’s about being in the moment of your journey, and worrying less about where you need to be.” These phrases came along with some simple, easy to follow stretches that helped me begin to feel my body again after several months of doing hardly any work or exercise. I could not believe how much better I felt after the short video; better than I had felt in months. I was surprised that yoga could be so relaxing and simple. I had always assumed that yoga was for the insane acrobats and that you had to be a size 2 to be good at it. The message from this video was the exact opposite: anyone, anywhere, anytime, yoga could be done, and dang it, IT FELT GOOD. I began to do yoga videos every day, sometimes even twice a day, and messages of self-love and acceptance seemed to theme nearly every video. I started to look at my life like a yoga sequence: I didn’t always know where it was headed, I couldn’t always follow along perfectly, it was going to take time to get used to, but I could do it and it would work out somehow in the end. Practicing yoga became more than something I did for fun or something to keep me busy; I am sure that doing yoga helped to heal my broken heart, and gave me a sense of direction. I realized that so many of the elements of a yoga practice paralleled the therapeutic world; increased personal awareness, belief in the healing process, practicing patience as a core value, accepting yourself (emotional make up and physical body) lies at the heart of happiness. The answer slowly emerged over the next few weeks. I could still help people, connect with people, and enable people rebuild outside the structure of a graduate school degree by teaching yoga. The revelation was surprising at first because yoga seemed to be way off the beaten track, but who said I had to go to graduate school just because it was the “thing” to do? Like most wonderful things in life, yoga, and the way it changed my life, happened quite unexpectedly. It was the answer to my life questions, and most importantly, it taught me that you don’t have to have everything figured out in order to move forward.
I began a hunt for a yoga teaching training course to enroll in, and my new found mission gave a renewed sense of direction and purpose to my days which I was so badly craving! My journey brought me to Israe in July of 2014 where I was part of an 100 hour intensive teacher training, and after the program ended, I returned to my hometown in Los Angeles where I gained the second 100 hours by volunteer teaching, working in a local yoga studio, anatomy exams, and additional workshops. The more I learned about the human body and yoga anatomy, the more enamored with life I became. It amazed me how the units of the body worked in cohesion to practice, perform, and eventually perfect. More importantly, I discovered a love for myself and a deep seeded confidence in my ability to contribute something significant to the world and help make it a more forgiving and loving place. I have met yoga teachers and avid students from all over the world, and hearing each one’s story how life brought them to yoga touches me every time and reaffirms the choice I made to teach. A collective group of people, dedicated to caring for themselves and others, who care about feeling good from the inside out, and who simply want to enjoy a supreme quality of life, the yoga world has offered me treasure chest of inspiration and possibilities. My hope and dream is to spread that love by teaching what I have been taught, by transferring the love I learned to receive, and allowing people to become the best versions of themselves by simply believing they are worth it.
I was thrilled when I completed my training and was awarded a Registered Yoga Teacher 200 Hour (RYT 200) certificate from the Yoga Alliance. I began teaching right away, to anyone and everyone who would participate (I have yet to convince my brothers that yoga is good for them!). I taught a variety of classes, ranging from private one-on-one classes to group classes to classes for at-risk youth. I fall more in love with yoga each day, and I honestly feel so blessed to do something that I truly enjoy. They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and I’d have to agree!
Peace, love, and blessings to you all