Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So you want to be a yoga teacher?

If someone had told me when I was in college that I would end up as a yoga teacher and massage therapist I wouldn't have believed it. At that time in my life I was a high strung, stressed out, perfectionist, just trying to figure out what to do with my life. My two choices then were athletic trainer (not to be confused with exercise trainer, I mean one of the people you see running out on the field when an athlete goes down) or journalist. I chose journalist and thus began my short lived career.

I was actually pretty successful as a journalist and that was the problem. By age 25 I was the editor of a decent sized, weekly newspaper in Shoreline. But I confess I had no idea what I was doing. I spent most of my time trying to prove that I deserved my position.

I thought that when I received my promotion balloons would fall from the sky and people around my would jump-up and applaud. They didn't. In fact, I received nothing but headaches and negative phone calls from very upset readers. You wouldn't believe the stuff that people think to complain about. I actually had a woman nearly punch me once because I didn't have room for an article about her that week.

To combat my stress, I took yoga classes at the Everett Parks and Rec. I would often joke with my husband that someday I was going to quit my job and become a yoga teacher. One day he simple said, "Why don't you?" I scoffed at the idea at first because it seemed so absurd. Yet the more I thought about it the more I felt called to it.

I completed my first teacher training in Aug. 2002 and was hired as an instructor at the Mukilteo YMCA. Everything seemed to fall into place, until the night of my first class...

The fact is I wasn't well received as a teacher by my first students. It's safe to say the hated me. They wrote nasty letters about me and asked for the return of the previous instructor who left to go back to school. She had been very popular and my style was very different from her's. All I could think was "what have I gotten myself into?" as my dreams of a stress-free life dissolved in front of me.

I stuck it out and 6 months later they loved me. Over the next few years, class eventually grew to 60- plus students. This presented it's own set of problems. I couldn't teach them, only lead them through a series of poses and try my best to get everyone to fit in the room.

During that time I picked up several more classes, 15 total and was running to-and-fro around town. I always felt like I was going from 5th gear to 1st without any downshifting. So much for that perfect life. That's when I decided to start my own studio.

Even with me as my own boss, calling my own shots, there are still problems and hang-ups that have to be dealt with. When my students look at me dreamily and say they wished they had my life, I laugh, and say "There's no escaping stress. Even yoga teachers have bad days."

What I've learned however,is that though stress is an inevitable part of life,it's how you manage it that matters. Breathe deep and accept that things will never be perfect (sometimes not even close.) Just as your poses will never be perfect, neither will your life and that's the beauty of it. God gives us challenges to help us grow and lead us to where we need to be. If my career as a journalist hadn't been so taxing I would have never become a yoga teacher. I would have missed out on one of the best blessings of my life.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you have a blog Shannon! Reading this truly calmed me down tonight, reminding me that each season adds depth and insight and beauty to the season that follows it.

    Can't wait for more of your musings!