I had wanted to become a yoga teacher since my early days at Boston College, where I taught various group fitness classes at our rec center, the Plex. Yoga teacher training, however, takes both time and money, and as a college student, I had neither.
So I waited.
I also waited because I knew I wanted to grow my practice physically and mentally before I embarked on a training. I wanted to go into my teacher training as prepared as I could be, so that I could be the best teacher I could be starting out.
During graduate school, I felt ready to embark on my training, but I sure as hell didn't have the time to do a training... I was in graduate school!
So I waited.
Then, I graduated from OSU, started working my full-time job, and had really gotten to a point in my practice where I felt like not only was I ready to take on the responsibility of teaching, I needed to. So, I saved up, started researching programs, and started planning.
But man, life was crazy, my schedule was jam packed with my full-time job, teaching at Cycle614 five times a week, and my long-distance relationship... not to mention my social life, my family, and just taking care of myself in general...
At this point, though, I knew I just needed to make it happen. It wasn't a matter of if I would do a 200RYT program, it was when and how. My body was itching to take my practice to that next level and become a teacher. I had to do it.
Going into it, I knew it would be tough. I'd have to give up teaching weekends at Cycle614. Traveling to Chicago to see Alex would be hard, seeing as every other weekend, I'd be at training from 8am - 6pm Saturday/Sunday.... and some Fridays even. It was going to be a lot to juggle.
But I put my deposit down anyways.
I needed this training.
I knew 2016 was my year to finally become a yoga teacher and accomplish this dream/goal of mine that I'd carried for YEARS. I knew Laurel's training was right for me, and I knew I had to do it in the Spring... (because if I'm being totally honest, there's no way in hell I could give up my weekends during football season).
I knew it was going to be intense: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Aside from our intensive weekends, I amped up my daily practice, and added on 10 observation hours with approved teachers, 10 practice teaching hours, and a ton of reading and meditation and other various assignments throughout the weeks.
But I also knew... that's exactly why I chose this program. I love to dive in into things. I want to be tested. I want to learn as much as possible... and that only happens when I am constantly engaged with a subject, every day of the week through various mediums. I knew the rigor of the program would pay off in invaluable ways.
I began my training in February. And in those four months, as if I didn't already have a lot on my plate with normal life, I also had my best friend since birth (my sister, really)'s bachelorette party in Nashville, her wedding in Pittsburgh, and a trip home to Akron to visit my siblings who were home from Bangkok (where they have lived for 2 years, and will be for another 2 years).
Needless to say, when I wasn't at yoga training, my weekends were packed. With all amazing things, of course, but packed.
I had to sacrifice a lot. The amount of times I had to tell friends/family, "sorry, I can't, I have yoga," are too many to count. I even had to wake up after my best friend's Pittsburgh wedding at 445am to drive home to Columbus to make it to training by 8am. That may have been the most physically painful experience of my entire life.... driving in the dark completely 150% sleep deprived. Ohhhhhhh LORD. Thankful Alex was with me and took the wheel half-way through.
I wasn't able to go to my best friend's wedding shower.
I wasn't able to go to my future brother-in-law's engagement party or wedding.
Yeah... that sucked. That really f---ing sucked.
But, I had yoga teacher training.
[Ok, background: see, I could only miss and make up so many hours... and I had already planned to miss a Friday night/Saturday for my best friend's wedding in Pittsburgh... so by the time the other events came up... I would have had to withdraw from the program, lose my investment, and start all over again some other time.]
So unfortunately, I had to tell my loved-ones, "sorry, I can't, I have yoga."
Then Alex moved back to town, unexpectedly, and that was amazing. And since he's moved back, we've just wanted to spend as much time together as we can, I mean, hello... we had been long distance for two years! But then I had to start telling him, "sorry, I can't hang, I have yoga." Or after a long day at work, when all we wanted to do was cook dinner together and watch the Cubs game, "sorry babe, can't, I have to go to yoga."
It's been a hell of a four months. I think it's safe to say I've gone through EVERY emotion. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am a better person today because of all that I've put into my yoga teacher training, and I am so grateful for all of the people in my life who supported me along the way. I'm so lucky everyone was so understanding.
Laurel always says that when you really commit to your practice and are a dedicated student, sure, you do the yoga... but you get to a point when the 'yoga starts to do you.' And what she means by this is that mentally and emotionally... things come up. You dive deep into yourself and what you're feeling and experiencing. You begin to see the world in a new way. You begin to see people in a new way. You begin to see your purpose and life course in a new way.
Yoga did me in a pretty incredible way. I could never put it into words, but in sum, it enabled me to face my fears, it empowered me to start this blog, it taught me to ditch the idea of being perfect, it has guided me to understand the world in a different way. It has opened the door for me to understand myself on a new level. It has allowed me to fall in love in a deeper capacity. And it has brought me this joy and happiness that is unlike anything I've experienced thus far in my life. Yoga has equipped me with the skills to take ahold of my life and live it in the way that I want to.
I am forever grateful to my incredible teacher trainers for these four months of life changing growth.
I also want to give a shout out to the 12 inspiring women who embarked on this journey with me. They are some of the most resilient, wise, strong, courageous and compassionate women I've ever met. I have learned so much from each of them and have gained a truly unique family. We've laughed and cried and sweat a LOT together over the past four months.
So here I am. After 8 weekends, 200 hours of training, 10 observation classes, 10 teaching hours, hundreds of pages read, and 102 total yoga practices since February 5th, today I graduate from my training. Today I am officially a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher. And now I get to go out into the world and share my love for yoga with others.
As I look back over the craziness of the past four months, this training reminds me that there will never be a perfect time for anything in life. There will always be something in the way. There will always be some sort of obstacle, no matter how big or small, that might keep us from going after what we want.
"It's not the right time yet," we tell ourselves. Or... the famous lie I know I've always told myself, "I'll have more time next month.... next year..."
This year was NOT the perfect time for me to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training.
But there was never going to be a perfect time. Remember? Perfection doesn't exist.
But I did it. And as I look back, I couldn't be happier that I persevered. I couldn't be more thankful that I am surrounded by people who not only understood and tolerated my hectic schedule, but who cheered me on and supported me in meaningful ways.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who was at the end of one of those, "sorry, I can't, I have yoga"s. Thank you to everyone who has come to my Thursday night class I've been teaching as a part of this training. Thank you to everyone who has understood my absence from major life events. Your support has meant the world to me.
So... what have you always wanted to do? Are you just waiting for the perfect time? Hell, you may think you've found the perfect time... but I guarantee life WILL throw curve balls.
So I encourage you to stop waiting... and just do it. Just make it happen.
Chase your dreams, work like crazy, and surround yourself with the right people. It'll all work out.