When I walked into my first hatha (heated) yoga class, I thought I’d discovered some kind of cult. I remember my best friend giving me the “what the hell did you get us into” look. It was hard. It was hot. It made me SUPER sweaty, and I LOVED it. After my first class, I started going two or three days a week. Which lead to three or five days, workshops on the weekend, and meditation classes every now and then. And then I came to the decision to enroll in Teacher’s Training. I figured, why not? I love yoga and I’m pretty good at teaching things to people, so I might as well give it a shot.
Before I write any further, I feel I should explain why I loved my yoga practice so much. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, it brought me peace of mind. I looked forward to that 90 minutes of “me” time every day. My practice taught me to be patient with myself, to stop judging others, and to let life work itself out.
Basically: it made me happy. I was flat ass tired every time I left the studio, but it also gave me this renewed sense of calm and awareness that I just ate up like a tasty little piece of cake. I could never get enough. I always wanted more. Moving through postures on your mat, being guided by your breath, gives you a chance to own your shit. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and learn to be okay with who is staring back at you. That’s yoga.
Fast forward to the Summer of 2011 when Teacher’s Training began. I worked all week at my full time job, and then I spent 30 hours of my weekend in the studio: participating in workshops, doing two yoga classes a day (I now sympathize with football teams who have “two a days”!) spending time with others at the studio, and building what I thought would be lifelong friendships. I loved Teacher’s Training, and I loved who I was becoming.
I graduated with a fantastic group of people in October of 2012 with a renewed sense of purpose and a tremendous love for this practice of mine. I wanted to share it with everyone. I wanted other people to have their own practice that would bring them such joy and happiness, a place where they could grow into their best selves.
In training, I’d decided to move to Chicago after graduation to be closer to my brother and find a teaching a job. However, a week after I returned from a trip there, I met and fell madly in love with my now boyfriend and decided to try things out and stay here. This led to me teaching volunteer classes at the studio where I graduated. Life was good and I had a chance to teach. This was going to be GREAT!
My first couple of classes had a few students, and then the classes started to grow. 12, 13, sometimes even more students, and as a new teacher I was ecstatic! I was still practicing a few times a week, but I pulled back some to recuperate from the long months of training where I spent most of my waking hours working, sleeping, practicing or teaching. Over time, I realized I was beginning to burn out. I worked all week, sometimes even on Saturday, and then in the middle of the afternoon I had to drive across town to teach. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of every class with every singly student, but it was becoming too much. I decided to take a break and mention it to my teacher. I imagined the conversationwould be harmless and things would be okay. Life was supposed to go on.
But I was wrong.
The conversation turned ugly, feelings were hurt, and we had a big falling out. That day a little part of me died inside. This was the person who taught me everything I knew. She was the reason I signed up to teach in the first place. She was the one who believed in me.
And now we never speak.
I stopped going to the studio. I lost touch with most of the students, and more importantly I felt the distance grow between myself and people I considered close friends. But I suppose those things happen.
I hardly practice anymore. Sometimes I roll my mat out and go through a few sequences, but it feels forced. It doesn’t make me happy. It’s like there’s this tiny little hole in my heart and I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve tried other studios, yet it just doesn’t feel like home, if that makes sense. I don’t teach anymore. When people ask if I do, I just tell them I don’t have the time.
What I really want to tell them is that I don’t want to teach and I don’t know why.
They say writing about your feelings is a form of therapy. I’m hoping by sharing this with all of you out there, it brings me a little closer to my mat. My yoga practice used to be something sacred – a place where I could go and be around people I loved while being alone enough to sort out life and become a better person.
This weekend, I’m going to a Yin class Saturday and a detox class Sunday. A part of me is looking forward to it. I can’t wait to leave all my mental “to do”lists outside the studio door and spend ninety minutes sweating my ass off. My hope is that over time, I will find the love for yoga again. And as a teacher, my hope for you all of you yogi’s out there, is that if you ever fall off your mat and stay away for a while, you find the courage within you to come back.
Amber is a full time legal assistant/part time student and all the time lover of life. She spends her days helping clients work through life’s tough challenges, and her nights watching Netflix with her wonderful boyfriend and two adorable cats. She believes in always being honest, staying true to who you are, being there when your friends and family need you most, and that her boyfriend should always share his ice
cream with her!