"It came to me so sweetly, and the word was like cool water on my over-heated body. Just soften. I heard myself say. Soften." (excerpt from Yoga Journal)
I had dabbled in yoga on and off for several years, for the most part, taking classes in local school gymnasiums or community centers. It wasn't until I experienced a class in a lovely outdoor setting in Mexico beneath the canopy of a gorgeous tree that I began to realize the depth and breath of what yoga is. Those outdoor classes and Sunday meditation sessions shifted my thinking, practice and commitment to yoga. After my three-month winter hiatus in Mexico I returned to Winnipeg and began practicing yoga regularly at different yoga studios. I started to read about the limbs of yoga and integrate yoga into my "off the mat life."
The decision to register for the teacher training required courage. I worried about my age, level of fitness and flexibility, ability to complete assignments and about teaching others something I knew so little about. Our first meeting time was scary...meeting new people, introducing myself and hearing the details about what I had signed up for! Slowly I began to soften and feel at ease. I was among like-minded beautiful people, all journeying in their own unique and individual way. The group was lively, inclusive, supportive and varied. I knew that my decision to take teacher training was personal - it was a way to challenge and enhance my practice and it felt great to be reading and learning about something not associated with my professional life. I didn't know where my training would take me - perhaps on to teach, perhaps not. It was up to me to practice and study with intention, to let things unfold and to trust in the path of the universe.
Yoga has infiltrated all aspects of my busy life. I am a school teacher with a hectic unrelenting pace. I am also a part of the "sandwich generation" where I have adult children and grandchildren, one child living at home and an elderly mother with many needs. Yoga helps me to stay well. It reminds me to look after myself and to maintain balance. Dedicating time to teacher training and to attending classes is not selfish, rather nurturing. I have learned to approach life's challenges with a softer heart. A big learning piece for me is to recognize that I am not responsible for other people's thoughts, actions and behaviours. My approach and reaction to potentially difficult or uncomfortable situations has softened. Learning to look inward and to connect to my inner experience and to investigate, without judgement what is happening with my breath, body and mind has been life changing.
That once scary, intimidating yoga studio has become a place of refuge. As I sit or lie on my mat I am enveloped by a sense of calmness, caring and warmth. I can access that place of calmness and contentedness wherever and whenever I choose. One of the greatest joys on my yoga journey is sharing my insights and learning with friends, family and colleagues. After all, everyone needs some yoga in their life! Soon I will retire from the teaching profession. Perhaps my teaching skills, wanderlust and love for yoga will unite in this next section of my life.