Yoga is my whole life.
I looked at the calendar and realized this year marks 10 years on the mat. Something that started as once a week, attending with my mom turned into a bi-weekly practice, and then shifted to almost daily. It transitioned into yoga teacher training and quickly moved from employee to owner. I’ve taught inside at community centers, churches, homeless shelters, domestic violence advocacies, banks and more yoga studios then I can count. I’ve taught outside on the beach, at the Marketplace green and under the moonlight. I have taught children and adults, preschools and chair yoga to my grandmother’s friends. I created two non-profits. I became certified as an e-RYT 500 hour yoga teacher under yoga alliance, a reiki master and a crystal healer. I’ve worked with countless people, businesses and companies. I became a Lululemon Ambassador and more recently their Here to Be Partner.
My “resume” is impressive. It’s crazy to think about what ten full years of teaching and practicing has brought into my life.
What I shift back to all the time however, is the practice of intention.
Yoga has guided me through engagement, graduations, planning a wedding, marriage, working full time, opening a business, pregnancy, birth, motherhood, divorce, trauma recovery, opening more businesses and so much more. Without my practice, without intention, I wouldn’t be who I am.
The practice of yoga literally carries me in my darkest and my most joyous moments. It’s the moment I remember to breathe in court, the deep breaths I take before responding rather than reacting and the knowledge I have ingrained in my body to hear my intuition and guide others towards theirs. It’s my personal superpower.
But I’ll be truly honest with you: I don’t practice as often as I should.
It’s the old adage of “I’m too busy/I move while I teach.” As teachers, sometimes we move our bodies and listen to our own advice while we are at the front of the mat. I often feel like I’m doing yoga 8x a week even if I’m really not. I’m in the teacher seat with a hat on for keeping people safe, guiding them, assisting them and holding space for their practice, not mine. I go through periods of time when I carve time out to practice more regularly and occasionally I find space to practice at home. But with a toddler and a few businesses on hand it isn’t always top priority.
Physically practicing (as opposed to being in my “yoga mindset”) makes me the best teacher, mother and person I can be. It allows me to fully breathe, the way you’re able to when you leave practice.
When I fell down the stairs a few weeks ago, I mostly believed my lesson to be “slow down now.” And it partly was. But it was also quite loudly “get back on the mat, right now.”
In the last few weeks I have been on the mat a minimum of 3 times a week. In class. With teachers who aren’t my employees. With teachers who aren’t my friends. With teachers who are my friends. With teachers who I’ve never met in my life. And with teachers who I admire and trust with every inch of my soul.
They’re asking me to dig deep, challenging my body, mind and soul in ways I have been craving.
It sounds silly to hear this as a ‘revelation’ from your local yoga teacher… but:
YOGA SAVES LIVES, GO BACK TO YOGA.
All capital letters and jokes aside, especially if you’re a yoga teacher: it’s time to go home. To come to the mat as a student and a beginner as often as we can. Not to gain knowledge or reconnect to creative sequencing, not to inspire or for any particular goal. Rather, go back to yoga to reconnect to your soul and remind you why you teach or practice in the first place.
After ten years, things look entirely different. My life is upside down and backwards in comparison to where I was at 23 and my God I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m loving this age and this space; loving who I am now and who I’m becoming.
Thank you yoga. I promise I’ll always come home and am ever grateful for you welcoming me back with open arms. I love you and I’ll never stray again.
Namaste xx, Jenny