Let’s Get This Straight – I’m Not The “Yogi Type”

If you told me 15 years ago that I would be a yoga teacher today, I’d probably laugh for a very long time! I have done bodybuilding, cycling, running, hiking trips, rollerblading, squash and anything that is high energy and faster paced. (ps… I still do these) Close your eyes and think of a yogi. What comes to mind? Here’s a list of a few stereotypical yogi traits:

  • Thin as a rail
  • “Granola” type
  • Vegan/vegetarian
  • Sits and meditates hours on end
  • Bends into pretzel shapes with ease
  • Chants on a regular basis
  • Very religious
  • Always at peace

I’m sure you can come up with a list of your own or add to this list quite easily. I tried yoga a few times about 15 years ago. I HATED it. It was way too slow and I think I spent most of my time in final relaxation pose (savasana) giggling. At the time I quit and starting taking kickboxing shortly after.

Let’s Rewind For a Few Minutes

In early 2012 (and for many years on and off for that matter), I was particularly stressed out. Nothing seemed to be “right”.  Job satisfaction was at an all time low and other areas of my life were not exactly where I expected them to be at my age. On an exceptionally stressful day, a great friend of mine dragged me to a hot yoga class. I made up every excuse in the book to not go. She would not take “no” for an answer. She even went out and bought me a pair of yoga pants and workout top so I could go with her immediately after work.

THAT MOMENT CHANGED MY LIFE! I fell in love with the flowing style of yoga, often referred to as vinyasa flow. Although I didn’t attend the yoga studio regularly, I did begin practicing at home and taking interest in not only the physical yoga practice, but the entire yoga lifestyle. I loved it so much that I started researching the possibility of becoming a yoga teacher and expanding my knowledge of the entire yoga practice. Over and over and over again, YogaFit Canada kept coming back as my most likely yoga school to take my yoga teacher training with. Here’s why:

  • I could take as long as I like to achieve the 200Hr-RYT certification. Most schools require you to do the entire thing in a very condensed period of time, requiring loss of work hours, etc.
  • I could start teaching yoga after taking my level 1 training and putting in some volunteer hours to the community.
  • It is a yoga style that is accessible to every-body.
  • It has a huge influence from the fitness industry, being initially taught in fitness centres.
  • Plain english language and transformational language is used. No need to learn Sanskrit or to confuse students with a language they don’t know.
  • It is one of the largest yoga teacher schools in the world.

I Didn’t Know What I Was Getting Into… At All!

I scoured the Yogafit Canada website like a mad-woman. I was on a mission. A mission that turned out to be a journey and continues to be so. I planned it all out. Since I’m a goal-setter, I decided I’d try to complete the 200-Hr training in one year!!! Most trainings were being offered in Halifax, a mere 3.5 hour drive away and a few in Toronto; a great opportunity to visit my brother and his family. I didn’t know what I was getting into… at all! But, this is a good news story! The 200-Hr yoga teacher training with YogaFit Canada has changed and continues to change my life daily. I was beyond nervous when I attended my Level 1 training.

  • What if everyone was bendier than me?
  • What if I knew nothing compared to everyone else?
  • What if I made a complete fool of myself?
  • What if I couldn’t finish in my goal-setting time of one year?
  • What if I hated it?
  • What if it was “too yogi” for me?

I had a serious case of the “what ifs” going on. Thank goodness my “what ifs” were all unfounded!

Here’s What I Learned

The Theory

Having fun in Level 4 training with trainer Shannon Jaress Johnson

Having fun in Level 4 training with trainer Shannon Jaress Johnson

My Personal Journey

Sitting here thinking back, my heart overflows with joy and my eyes fill up with tears for this journey that I’ve embarked on. It seems like a cliché to say it is a journey, but it is exactly that. You know the saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear? This is exactly what happened for me. The YogaFit Canada 200-Hr teacher training experience has and continues to change my life. It hasn’t turned me into a stereotypical yogi. Actually, I have come to learn that the stereotypical yogi is not the norm; especially in our modern world North American society. It has allowed me:

  • To become more aware of my “self”, my “Self” and how everything is connected in life.
  • Have more patience with myself and others.
  • Has given me the ability to cope and even thrive through life. Something that has often been a struggle.
  • Allowed me to recognize once and for all that happiness is an inside job. It doesn’t make it easier, but brings clarity and puts the onus on me and away from everything outside of me.
  • To know that the present moment is the one that matters. A concept that is a practice and very hard to master.
  • Share my love of yoga with others in a way that I could have never done before.
  • Bring joy to others through my love of yoga.
  • To recognize that even in those moments when it seems that I have temporarily forgotten about the essence and truth of yoga, yoga always rears it’s beautiful head and reminds me to come back to centre, to what is, to the truth.
  • To notice that my path is my own and that each human in this world is also on their own path.
  • It has taught me to practice the YogaFit Essence on and off the mat:
    • non-judgment
    • to let go of competition
    • to live in the present moment
    • to breathe
    • to feel
    • and to listen to my body (physical and emotional)
  • I have also started my own business and quit my day job as a federal government public servant! My life has done a complete 360. I teach weekly lunch time classes to the business crowd in my downtown area. I also have this website www.myyogaplayground.com. It is in its beginning stages, but will have free weekly online yoga classes, monthly packages to access all videos, and packages for specific needs such as yoga for athletes, yoga for depression, and more.

I Am Not Perfect

Even though I have learned all of these things, it in no way means that I am the picture of “perfection”. Far from it. You see, yoga is a practice, not a “perfect”. It is meant to be practiced day in and day out, on and off the mat. I continue to learn and grow on a daily basis and fully intend to continue doing so until the day that I leave this world. The 200-Hr yoga teacher training has given me the skills to be a great teacher, but more importantly, it has allowed me to be a better student of life than I have ever been.

Level 1 Training in 2012 with Master Trainer Paul Galloro

Level 1 Training in 2012 with Master Trainer Paul Galloro

The Journey Continues

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love to learn. I love to learn just as much as I love to teach. I did complete my 200-Hr yoga teacher training with YogaFit Canada. I even completed it within my one year goal. Lisa, Paul, Terra, and so many other master trainers were and continue to be my mentors. What a ride! Since then (October 2013), I have also become a certified holistic health coach, am enrolled in a yoga for athletes program with Sage Rountree. In addition, this coming month, I will receive my 200-Hr RYT certificate with the Yoga Alliance, and am embarking on a new YogaFit journey. I am enrolling in their 1000-Hr Yoga Therapy program. This September, I will start the program by taking the YogaFit for Warriors and the Yoga for Balancing Moods modules. I can’t wait! May this journey never end! Namaste my friends! The glorious happy person that shines in me, recognizes the same beautiful being that lives in you! Much love, Kay

If you have questions or comments on this article, how to become a yoga teacher, or to simply create your own yoga journey, please comment below.