Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yoga Teachers

Someone asked me today after my morning class if I used to be "corporate." She said that most of her yoga teachers used to be in other professions and then had major changes in their lives and switched to being yoga teachers after some realization or shift in their priorities and she wondered if that was true for me too.

If you know me, you know that's not my situation. Sometimes I think of myself as such an unlikely yoga teacher. And then again, not really. It has become more and more apparent to me that I'm a very likely yoga teacher. It just wasn't always that way.

I am one of those people who grew up in a family and time of exploration where new things were considered and practised sometimes. We had family meetings and spent the weekends "in community." I grew up going to potlucks.

When I graduated from university, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I had a degree in Communications from McGill and didn't have a clue what kind of job I wanted to do or anything. So I went travelling. While I was away I ended up in India basically because my Thai visa ran out and it was cheaper to go there than to go down to Malaysia. It was on Easter that I met Mother Teresa (see last year's post). That wasn't really planned - it was more of a "what should we do, it's easter, hey, let's go to Mother Teresa's, great idea, let's go" but it had an impact on me at the time.

Anyways, I came home after my trip and was working in Montreal on a film and I was not taking care of myself and was in crummy relationships and I didn't know what to do next so at the age of 24 I moved into Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, which at the time was an ashram. That means there was a guru and we were volunteers and practised yoga. I figured if I went I could at least learn how to be a yoga teacher. I went for 3 months and stayed for about 3 years.

I learned to be a yoga teacher. And I learned a lot about yoga and about what it means to integrate yoga into a "normal life" and I got a lot of experience that at the time occured for me as regular, but as I found out, was pretty special. I'd walk down the halls and pop into lectures by Deepak Chopra, Swami Satchidananda, and other gurus.

I later left and went to Omega, where again, what was normal for me was seeing Thich Nat Hanh, Maya Angelou, Ram Dass, and other major teachers, all in the course of my work days.

I love my computers and my technology and my daughter and my friends and live what I would consider to be a pretty normal life. I've just happened to have had access to a lot of amazing teachings and communities where people are practising those teachings. So leading meditation is easy for me to do. I've had lots of practise being a student! Leading yoga experiences is fun and easy too. Sometimes I think I'll branch out and start some sort of completely unrelated business and just use my yoga practice to help me in my business. And lately I've come to accept what I do as valuable and completely up my alley - accept the gift I have been given and continue to offer classes and support for people who want it.

I haven't always been an enthusiastic yoga teacher - yoga was just always there for me - it wasn't something I stumbled upon that changed my life. It is so integrated that I can't really remember life without those teachings. And I forget that sometimes. I'm starting to get it and I appreciate it when people come across yoga and meditation and are willing to give it a try. As I say, it doesn't hurt and most people don't say, "I started yoga/meditation and things have just gone downhill from there." It's not like that! Things usually get better with yoga and meditation!

I'm grateful for the presence of yoga and meditation in my life and I can imagine my life without them and it's not a pretty picture. I'm glad I had the opportunity early in my life to learn and practice and now to share that as well. So I'm a full-time yoga teacher and I realize it's a privilege and I'm honoured.

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