• yogabystrada

Why I Teach Yoga

You may be wondering what got me into yoga, or you may have known me from my previous career and wonder why the big change. Well, I'll be glad to tell you..

I started practicing yoga in college. It was risk free since I didn't know anyone, it was free, and it was a chance to take a break from school work. I don't think I initially enjoyed it so much (it was so weird and so hard!), but I soon learned to love it. I have been practicing on and off ever since then.

I went to school to become an elementary teacher, and I got my first job right out of college. I taught for four years and during that time, teaching consumed my life. Not only was I working the normal school hours, but I'd be the first person to get to the school- around 6 AM, one of the last to leave, and then I would go home to continue working on my plans, grades, emails, etc. This went on everyday, over the weekends, and I still continued to work over holidays and summer. It seemed like there was no end to all the work, and then it didn't even seem like it was benefitting anyone or truly worth it. I didn't believe I was making the positive difference I had dreamed of. I became burnt out pretty abruptly (although I think it gradually built up and then all bursted at once) and my anxiety had hit an all-time high. It was difficult to do almost anything- to focus, to sit still, to sleep, to get myself to do MORE work- yet again. I felt trapped. And worst of all, it seemed like there was no end in sight. I had only been in my 4th year, and I could not even imagine continuing on for another 30-40 years.

In yoga, there is a saying, "Let go of whatever is not serving you." At first, I thought this was just referring to my active thoughts during yoga class. Then, I looked at my life as a whole. I realized I wasn't happy teaching elementary school. It just wasn't the right fit for me and I unfortunately did not beat the burnout statistic. I left my teaching job after teaching for 4 years. I still wanted to empower, help, and grow students, but I just took a different route to get there. 

I really had no idea what I would be doing with my life, but I just knew I couldn't keep going with teaching if I wanted to live a happy, healthy, and worthwhile life. I decided to go for my personal training certification in April of 2018 because I wanted to focus on being physically active and helping others do the same.

Then, I began my 200-hour yoga teacher training in October of 2018 and learned so much about myself- my thought patterns and behaviors that hold me back, how strong I am, how much being consistent pays off, and how even despite all the objections in my mind, I can still do great things. 

After I taught my first private class to a group of beginners who crammed into an office space during their lunch break and seeing how I could positively affect others through fitness/yoga, I was hooked. They really enjoyed the class and said I had "a knack" for teaching. When you worked for years to get to your dream career, and it turns out it's not the right fit for you, it's utterly devastating, humiliating, defeating, and depressing. I felt like I had nowhere to go, and just like so many times before when I've felt at rock bottom, yoga has been there to pick me up. Now, I love the end of my yoga classes where I can see the peace settle in on my students and I can hear their sighs of relief. I hear their stories and their day to day lives, and I just feel that it's so important to be able to take some time out for yourself and do something good for your whole body. I feel honored that I can help people find the space to do this for themselves.

I went into teaching to help kids and be a positive role model for them. I wanted them to learn in a fun way, know that they are loved and valued, and learn how to believe in themselves. Similarly, I am teaching yoga to help others live their best life through their practice. I want my yoga students to learn in a fun way- learn something new about themselves either physically, mentally, or emotionally; learn that they are stronger than they think they are; learn that they are not "too old, too injured, too overweight, too inflexible" and they can still do great things. I want my yoga students to know that they are loved and valued- I try to get to know my students and make sure that they know I see them, respect them, and really value what they have to say. I want my yoga students to believe in themselves even when they have no hope in their lives, when nothing is working out right, when they are so busy taking care of other people and other priorities, I want them to believe that they should be the number one priority. I want them to try new things and not be afraid of failing. And, I want them to celebrate their successes- big and small.

Yoga has changed my life- beyond words can express (or maybe I'll try to express it in a later post), and it would mean the world to me to be able to inspire others through yoga- not just the physical practice on the mat, but the emotional and mental practices off the mat as well.

I want my students to come as they are, do what they can, and show gratitude for themselves and others.