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My relationship with Yoga

How did I end up in Yoga Teacher Training?! This was not part of my plan… at all.

Yes, I’d taken Yoga classes here and there; and I know downward-facing dog, child’s pose, and how to do a warrior I. But how did I get here, in this class room, learning how to teach others Yoga?

All I did was sign up for a guest pass to “check things out” on day one of class. But I needed a sign. Like, a pretty big sign, to know if I was supposed to stay and take the whole training. Well, the Universe responded and gave me several signs.

The Yoga instructor was the woman I’d spend the last two weekends with, learning Yoga Nidra (guided sleep meditation). She walked in, smiled the moment she spotted me and gave me the most welcoming hug. She asked what I was doing there. I told her I’d made a last minute decision to come on a guest pass to check out the course and see if this was where I was supposed to be, to which she responded, “Oh yeah, you’re definitely supposed to be here”.

Sign number two; one of the girls from my Monday night class walked in, and looked almost relieved when she saw me. She asked if I was taking this course and I shared the same story, to which she responded with a, Oh yeah you’re supposed to be here, smile.

Sign number three; there were three other black people in the training. Y’all know that’s almost unheard of. I’m used to being the only black person in most rooms, sometimes there’s like maybe one other one, but four of us… What?!

All these signs and the class hadn’t even started yet. Really God? Secretly, I was half expecting to get disappointed or be let down somehow, and that is obviously not what happened.

“What is your relationship to Yoga?” This was the question written on the board. We were supposed to answer this question with a partner. And I went right into my “I wasn’t supposed to be here” story, and then shared how I thought I could incorporate Yoga into my Life Coaching practice. Then we were supposed to go around the room and introduce our partners to the class and share their responses.

As I sat and listened to everyone else’s stories, I realized, I didn’t really answer the question. I kept it professional and started talking about business, while others shared how Yoga had saved and changed their lives. Wait! What?! Where did these people take Yoga classes? Because all I ever took Yoga for was to get some type of exercise in, stretch some stiff muscles and be “trendy”.

And frankly, all I thought I was going to learn was, how to teach people how to do a proper chair pose and how not to fall over while doing a tree pose. Why are we talking about feelings? Who cares? Why is this important? I would soon learn.

So yeah, I signed up for what I thought was going to be a five week training class. To which my Yoga instructor responded, “you may think that you’ve signed up for a five week yoga training course, but that is just module one. This is a three module, four month training class, sooo… welcome.” Wait! What?!

There was a forth sign later on that day, when I told a friend that I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training and his response was the best, “Fuck Yeah!”. I literally laughed out loud. I kept talking, and I think he was still processing, because a couple minutes later, he was like, “Ima say it again, Fuck Yeah!”.

It’s been two weeks and each day that goes by, I’m more and more convinced of why I am supposed to be here. Yoga is more than just a cool, trendy exercise for the middle class American. Yoga is a way of life. And the physical part, the poses, are just a fraction of what Yoga is really about. 

How is it that I took Yoga for so long and never knew that? It was bothering me. Why didn’t I get the same healing revelation that others shared about in their Yoga experiences? Not one Yoga class I’d taken had ever moved me to tears, or healed a part of my mind, spirit or body. So I had to go back and think about when I was first introduced to Yoga.

I was seventeen when I started college. And since technically I was a minor, I was forced to take a P.E. class. I was appalled, like for real for real. I thought I’d taken my last P.E. class in high school. So as a protest, I decided to take Yoga. Seemed simple enough. Oddly, that ended up being the only class that I passed that semester.

I continued to take Yoga classes here and there over the years, and usually with friends, because that was the cool and trendy thing to do. Yoga was never something I did alone. So if someone else wasn’t going with me, I wouldn’t go. Weird right? I could go to the gym by myself, spinning class, Zumba class, but Yoga was always something I did with others.

Now, nearly 30 years after meeting Yoga for the first time, I’m here, by myself, for myself and no one else. It’s just me and Yoga. And now that I think about it, Yoga has been trying to get me by myself for years. Yoga has been patiently waiting for me, little ole me. I’ve been a flirt and a tease, and it’s been hoping for a real relationship. I just kept blowing it off. But now I’m ready, no more f’ing around. I’m finally ready for something serious.

Yoga is more than stretches and poses; it helps you take the necessary steps to lead you closer to God. It teaches you to give yourself over to a power higher than yourself. Yoga helps to formulate a state of mind in which we are always present. The goal of Yoga is to reduce the superficial perceptions and incorrect understandings we hold hostage in our minds and bodies; and prepares us to be able to show up in our human suits, pure, peaceful and unaffected by the ever changing crazy chaotic world around us.

Did I know what I was getting myself into when I showed up on day one of training class? No. Did I know that I was going to be learning the ancient language of Sanskrit? Nope. Did I know that I’d be giving up a part of my life for the next four months? Not a clue. The only thing I am certain of, is that I am right where I need to be, learning exactly what I need to learn to take my mind, my body and my spirit through to the next level of life.

I release, I surrender.

I trust and know.

That as above, so it is below.

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