Complete and utter honesty is pretty much never the best policy, but here I go anyway. I had originally planned to make my first post about why it's taken me so long to write said first blog post (given that ideas for this blog have been running through my head for years, I purchased the domain in November 2015 and began constructing the site in January 2016) about why I've been so hesitant to actually start writing. But I'll save that for another time. To celebrate the fact that I've been given my first yoga class ever aaaaand the fact that I officially have a teacher profile over at Fierce Grace, I feel somewhat inclined to share why I became a yoga teacher. I call this post the most honest because I didn't write it for the web. No quips, no jabs, just me being open. So, here goes, my application essay to become a Fierce Grace yoga instructor:
Movement has always been a part of my life and I’m keen on obtaining the qualifications to continue to do so. My journey to yoga was a bit of a circuitous one, but I’m very grateful to have found my passion for it. I started as a gymnast when I was 6 (but my career was dramatically cut short when my instructor told both my mother and me that I’d never be very good because I was too tall). Luckily, I then found my niche as a dancer at the age of 7 when I began attending my aunt’s dance school. I became a part of the junior company, travelling across the United States to attend national dance competitions. I learned tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and lyrical, and began teaching tap and jazz to our younger students when I was 15. I had always loved dancing, but this is when I first realized that I loved teaching. The smile on my students’ faces as I extended their movement vocabulary to include new phrases was inspiring. As I have discovered my love for yoga, I want to become confident enough to do the same with asanas.
One of the reasons I want to become a teacher is because I love learning and I adore teaching. When I joined a modern dance company during university and began choreographing, we were required to take pilates and yoga classes in addition to ballet and modern classes to compliment our training. As a choreographer I began to teach my pieces to dancers my own age of different abilities and body types. I loved breaking down the moves and giving the dancers different tips to adjust the movements to benefit their body type and skill level. During my years dancing ballet this was something that was never afforded me. The movements are just as strict and prescribed as the ideal body types. I have a slightly more curved spine, hips that don’t naturally allow perfect turnout, and feet that don’t elongate into the perfect point. Dancing en pointe was excruciating for me, but all my life my teachers simply pushed me into the correct and “ideal” position and literally sat on me to force my body into submission. In addition to dancing I played tennis and ran hurdles during high school and was also a long and triple jumper on my university track and field team. I happen to be quite strong and flexible, and all of my coaches and instructors have noticed this and pushed me extra hard in whatever activity they coached. Additionally, I tend to be a perfectionist, and I used to view everything as a competition with myself. I had the tendency to push myself to my physical limits and used to covet the morning-after pain. I learned to genuinely enjoy not being able to walk up stairs after lifting and conditioning training, or long dance rehearsals. My coaches and instructors encouraged this, telling me this meant I was working hard and making progress, and simply pushed me further and harder. As a result, over the years I have pulled my hamstring, developed tendonitis in my knees, sprained my ankle twice, and after the second time, the arch in one of my feet has fallen slightly. I’m interested in learning more about preventing and modifying for injuries through adjustments, topics that have never been discussed in my dance or athletic training. I’d also like to learn more about practical anatomy and physiology. But most importantly, I’d like to share this knowledge with other students, so they can be spared the injuries I’ve suffered.
I’ve learned to love yoga because of how humbling it is. I see so many people doing awe-inspiring poses, but for once, I'm not competing to get my leg higher than it was yesterday. At Fierce Grace I’ve learned that despite what 'asana' means, you're not supposed to pose, you're meant to stretch! And you can only stretch into the pose your body wants to do on that day, at that time. Over the years with the guidance of Fierce Grace instructors I’ve become more comfortable and confident in my practice. I’ve learned focus on alignment and doing the best with what I've got at that moment. It's taught me humility and instead of going full steam ahead 100% of the time, I now know how to listen to my body to know when to back off and when to push forward. It's taught me to be unassuming, as what your body wants to and can do each day can be completely different. I’ve also learned that yoga is practice, not performance, which I used to confuse.
As a dancer and athlete, I have a good knowledge of movement, alignment and energetic principals in addition to possessing body awareness, but there’s so much more for me to learn. I believe in the old Latin proverb “docendo discimus”, which means, “by teaching, we learn." I want to become a yoga teacher to deepen my practice and learn more about my body, but also to learn about the practice of yoga as a whole and how it applies to other bodies. I believe that by being tasked to teach this to others will be the ultimate challenge that will push my awareness as a practitioner to new levels. But above all, I’d like to become a compassionate and inspiring teacher and an effective communicator, all of which are qualities I admire in all of the Fierce Grace teachers whose classes I attend. I’d also like to learn more about yoga as a business and how to effectively earn a living teaching.
That's not really the end, but I cut out the very last bit which was a bit TMI for y'all. So there it is, my first blog post and why I became a yoga instructor. I'll leave you with my very first schedule of taught classes. All of the following are multi-level classes, Classic and Fierce Grace (learn more about the different classes here):
Monday 6 June: 19:00 - 20:30 Classic class
Monday 20 June: 19:00 - 20:30 Classic class
Tuesday 21 June: 18:00 - 19:30 Fierce Grace class
Saturday 2 July: 17:00 - 18:30 Fierce Grace class
Petrified/terrified/excited/about to wee myself all at the same time.
Here's a photo of me in "proper yoga teacher attire," pretending like I casually just sit around chillin' in cobblers pose with a shiny forehead.
Here's a photo of me and my photogropher laughing really hard at the idea of how shiny my forehead is as I called it "a beacon for the aliens".