A More In-depth Look at Me- Niki
I, like so many people that practice yoga, became intrigued with it during a low point in my life. I was in college, feeling utterly isolated, alone, and misunderstood.
Not quite sure what possessed me- maybe the sight of my sad, unused mat rolled up perpetually in a corner of my room- but I pulled it out, popped on a Jillian Michael's yoga flow on YouTube, and fell in love with the practice.
I would practice for 2-3 times a day. It filled me with joy and purpose, and got my body moving in ways I didn't know where possible.
Not gonna lie, it was the "fun" stuff that got me addicted- arm balancing and inversions. Still my favorite things to practice.
But as I continued to practice, I noticed that there were deeper things shifting and changing in my consciousness.
Many of us are drawn to yoga as a physical practice. All of us can use more strength and flexibility in our lives, and there's no denying yoga is amazing for these goals.
But once we delve deeper into our practice, something begins to change inside ourselves.
After this initial falling in love with yoga, I would go through dedicated and not-so dedicated phases in my practice. I'm sure pretty much every yogi goes through this. We feel inspired, and then not so much.
I didn't have a daily practice anymore, but my practice never left me. The shift in consciousness had begun, and I knew deep down that yoga was an important part of my life.
So I would come back to it, and then leave it alone for a bit, and then come back- and this pattern continued for 6 years or so.
Strong emotions would come up surrounding my lack of practice. Guilt would set in. Guilt for not practicing. Guilt for not even wanting to practice. These feelings are totally normal, and I'm sure many of you can relate.
Truthfully, I had things I had to work through to reach a better mentality, and while yoga probably would have helped me get there sooner, everything works out for the best.
The Road to India
Becoming a yoga instructor was a thought that crossed my mind occasionally, but I hadn't really looked into it.
Fast forward to 2018. I had a dedicated yoga practice for nearly a year.
And then I randomly met a kindred spirit at a job interview and we got to talking about yoga. She told me she had gotten her yoga teaching certification in India, and that it one of the best things she ever did.
I remember thinking, that sounds cool, but no way am I traveling to India by myself.
But the seed was planted and then began to grow. After thinking about it for a month, I got a gut feeling so strong, that I knew this was part of my path and that I had to go to India to study yoga.
I did the research, looked at tons of schools, and eventually picked a vinyasa/Ashtanga style ashram that I felt aligned with what I wanted to learn. I picked the month September of 2019.
I studied at Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School, but I'll save this for another post.
Just know that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Just like the practice of yoga, this trip made me realize that I'll never fully be able to comprehend how strong I truly am (I'm talking mental strength, but there's a physical aspect to this too).
I saw amazing places, met the best kinds of people, practiced postures I'd never done before, and ate truly incredible food.
The greatest thing I got from this trip though, was a fire inside that had always been there- it just needed a little stoking.
That fire of self-discipline has continued to grow inside of me and my practice ever since.
Prior to training, I wasn't sure if I wanted to become an instructor, or if I was just going to deepen my own practice.
Within the first week I knew what I had to do. I felt an intense calling to begin teaching when I returned home.
4 days after my return, I got a job at my home hot yoga studio- my favorite studio ever! And it all felt so right.
Then 3 weeks later, I had a little freak accident. While enjoying a particularly nice fall day, I fell and broke my collarbone into 3 pieces.
I had surgery 2 days later, and was told I would have to wait 6-8 weeks for it to heal. On top of teaching yoga, I was waiting tables, and was going to be out of a job for a while.
It was all so crazy and surreal. I had just gotten home from solo-traveling half way across the world, and now I was bedridden. The pain in my collarbone made it difficult to even get out of bed, let alone stretch or practice yoga.
At first I was sad, depressed, and feeling a little hopeless. But then my training from India kicked in, and I was able to practice acceptance and see the good in this situation.
Had this happened to me before India, I know I wouldn't have handled it the same way.
I shifted my mentality to a more positive mindset.
And once again, I realized that I was stronger than I ever knew to be possible. Going through this, I knew that I'd be able to handle anything "bad" that comes my way.
Change your perspective, and your life can change.
And Now to the Present
Fast forward to now, nearly 6 months after my surgery. We are a month and a half into quarantine. I'm currently unemployed with no clue when I'll be able to go back to work.
At first, I was upset. How am I going to make money? How am I going to pay my bills? All these thoughts chattering away in my mind.
I began practicing yoga even more, and more importantly, practiced acceptance of the my situation.
All this free time has been a blessing for me. I've been able to do what I really love (yoga!) and now I'm building a business centered around it!
This is just the beginning! I'm so excited to get out of my comfort zone and continue to grow- as a student and as a teacher.
To sum this all up, sometimes we have to hit some lows to make it to our highs. I've learned this time and time again.
Let's make a commitment together to view challenges as opportunities.
Because it's from the really hard stuff that beautiful roots of growth take hold. Yoga is a constant reminder of this everyday.
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