I have been walking around for a year or so now telling a few people who’ve ever asked, that my dream job or what I would like to do when I retire from a real job, is to teach yoga. Only problem was, I had never even taken a yoga class. What a bizarre statement to make.
Or was it?
There has always been something that holds my attention when looking at pictures of people practising yoga or when I read about what it brings to their life. Something that resonates deep with me. They always look so fit and healthy. But, it’s more than that. The pictures exude peace and serenity. And that is something I always seek in my life.
Together with that and my love of the East, which is where the practise of yoga originates, maybe it makes sense after all. Eastern countries, their traditions, religion, health practices, music – I’m drawn to it all. I’ve been fortunate to travel to India, Malaysia, Bali, Thailand and Sri Lanka in recent years and there is something about those places I cannot get enough of.
When I asked myself a few years back “what is it I want to do”, it was hard to know the answer. (Actually, it was a former boss of mine that initially asked me the question). What did I love to do? I wasn’t at all sure. In fact, I couldn’t even answer the question. I’d been so busy doing whatever needed to be done as a mom, wife, colleague, friend… for years, I had no idea what it was I actually wanted anymore. What I loved. Who I was.
It wasn’t like I didn’t enjoy a lot of day-to-day tasks that needed attending to. I didn’t mind it so much. I loved my work – at times. I usually enjoyed whatever it took to make our house feel like a home. It’s a given that being a wife and mom brings love to my life, daily.
But what gives me joy? What is fun for me? What excites me? Where do I want to go with my life? What do I want to do with my life? Answering any of those questions was baffling.
Two things have helped me find some clarity.
One was taking notice of anything I did that made me happy. Felt good. Inspired me. Brought me joy. At first, it was like searching for that one pearl waiting to be discovered in amongst the hundreds or thousands of shells. Couldn’t see it. Couldn’t find it. But eventually I noticed there were certain things I read, watched or participated in that brought me fun, joy, positivity or authenticity. Or the opposite. I also noted activities, places, people, relationship that were difficult, boring, negative or created feelings of anxiety because they didn’t sit right with me at all.
The second was to pay attention to my words. What was I saying? You know….when you blurt out things like….. Oh, I love to cook! Or I love to eat!!! Or I love holding newborns. Or I love the smell of a new book. For you it might be that you love taking out a car and driving fast. Or you love getting into a heated debate over…whatever. When you say these things, try noticing what it is you’re saying. Try noticing what it is that gets you excited.
Along with excitement I also get very loud when speaking of something I feel passionate about. I’ve only just noticed that about myself in the last year. (Well, it’s helped that our kids actually started to point this out to me. And do so ALL the time now!!) When discussing particular topics I definitely turn up the volume up a notch (or five)! Education, teachers, wellness, nutrition, the importance of a just, equal and fair society. I believe the passion I feel about each is leading me to a certain path I should be taking.
One day last spring I finally stopped talking about this yoga-thing and told myself no more excuses. I made the grand leap and registered for an introductory 8-week course, drove the 5 minutes over to the studio and took my first class.
Some other time I’ll describe that first class as my memories of it remain warm and close to my heart. If not for my teacher that day it may not have had the impact on me that it did. So I have feelings of overwhelming gratitude towards her. One of those instances of being at the right place, at the right time with the right person.
Today, seven months later, yoga is like my sacred space. It brings me peace. It brings me joy. It brings me to prayer.
Today Monday was my first day in the 200-hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training program I’m taking that runs from now until May.
I am a beginner with my practise. My yoga looks nothing like Sean Corn’s does below.
But I feel that. And that, is what I want to do. At least, for now.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu
I took that single step today. Or maybe the step was asking the questions years ago. Quitting my job. Or going to my first yoga class. Paying attention. Regardless, I am moving forward.
What’s the first step you might need to take along your journey? Have you taken it yet?