When I tell people that I completed my yoga teacher training in India, the natural assumption is that I went to India specifically to study yoga. I went to India for many reasons, but yoga was not among them.
Up to the age of 35 I had, with great determination and stubbornness, pursued a somewhat non-traditional career in the non-profit sector. I set goals and reached them with a sense of lofty accomplishment and little regard for my own happiness. About ten years ago, despite landing what was supposed to be my dream job, I began to struggle with burn-out. I also met my future husband. We fell in love, we needed a change, he got a job offer and we decided to get married and move to Mumbai. India offered opportunity, adventure and a new beginning.
After we moved, I took a break. I enjoyed the rest and freedom, yet felt deeply dissatisfied with my housewife existence. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I didn’t know what I wanted. At loose ends, I started looking for work but had no luck. I unsuccessfully tried to teach myself Hindi and somewhat more successfully attempted cooking Indian food. I went to the gym. I took a yoga class near my house. I read two newspapers every day to learn about current events. I tried to do all the things you should do when you finally have precious free time, without focus or results.
I eventually found work supporting non-profits with research and writing. I also began to study yoga more seriously, signing up for an 1100 hour teacher training program at The Yoga Institute. My teacher in the neighborhood had studied there and it was relatively convenient to our apartment. The daily classes provided a sense of purpose, an oasis in the midst of inner confusion and the outer chaos of Mumbai, a teeming city of millions. Through my yoga practice, I began to uncover a sense of peace within myself that I’d never before experienced. I felt myself letting down, gradually letting go of the accumulated weight of years of overwork, unrealistic expectations and self-doubt.
As much as I enjoyed practicing yoga, I initially resisted the idea of teaching it. I was unsure how to approach teaching without falling again into the pitfalls of over achievement I’d experienced in my non-profit career. Then I discovered two things. One, I truly enjoy teaching. Two, being a teacher keeps me accountable in my own practice. I have to walk the talk! I now see teaching as an integral part of my own yoga journey.
So, I close with a big thank you to past, current and future students. You are my best teachers, you help me keep it real and challenge me to grow. Namaste.