How did you get here, to this yoga thing? And teaching? People ask me all the time. In short, it started with sweating. I love what it feels like to move and the exhaustion that comes from working hard. Yoga did that to me. It was f*cking hard. Harder than anything and I liked that. Then, one day, I sat up from savasana with a new feeling that seeped from my insides out to my skin. It was palpable and clear, yet unfamiliar. It was a feeling of belonging. Like I had come home after a long time away.
I felt compelled to share this 'belonging'; make the invisible feel seen. So I got on a plane.
My first teacher was tough, very strict and hard to connect to. She was exactly what I needed. After that 200 Hr training I returned back to Canada prepared to figure things out by myself. The first class I taught was on cold concrete in the basement of an accounting firm. Next, I held classes after-hours in an aromatic coffee house. And finally, after pinching enough pennies I opened my very own yoga joint. That's where the learning really started. The people in that Northern studio taught me about community while showing me what it takes to actually teach; what it actually takes to connect.
Fast forward a few years, in a sticky Vancouver studio I met Clara. That woman made my head spin. She introduced me to a new meaning of movement. Pushed me to scratch past the surface, into the real shit. She taught me the practice, and then the practice exposed me to my Self.
Recently, one of my students asked me 'how long does it take, to figure it out? When do you stop digging? When does it stop being so hard?" As she choked on tears, I felt a shudder in my own chest. I know this struggle all too well. It's the struggle and the exhaustion that keeps me here. There's work yet to be done.
Yoga isn't about stretchy pants and trendy mala beads. It's a path to higher Consciousness, to awareness, to the Divine, to the Universe, the Abstract, Allah, the Great Mother, to Love, to your neighbour - to the God of your understanding. That walk is underestimated. There are legs of brilliant sunshine, paired with ruts of dark desperation. It can be isolating and lonely. This expedition to Self exposes parts of ourselves that we've worked hard to suppress and bury. It makes us feel, like really feel. And not just the sweet things like love and joy and happiness. The practice has a way of tearing us apart. It goes into the old wounds of the soul. It pulls off the bandages and scrapes out the puss. It stings. But this is how we heal. This is how we get clear and strong. This is how we connect with our authentic Self. This is how we return to the sun.
Until the work is done, until the wounds have cleared and healed - that's how long it takes. What helps, is going through it together. Support, compassion and love. On the mat.