A Month of Firsts: YTT Part 1

It’s official! I am a 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate!! HEYO!!!!

I spent a month living at an ashram, a”forest school”, learning everything that is YOGA! I slept in a dorm with other yogi ladies, ate vegan food, chanted, and walked away with so much more than a certificate.

I have a ton to write about but it would be a gazillion pages long so I am going to try to break it up into categories the best I can. I’ll start with this one, a list of my “firsts” from this trip. Being in my 30’s it kind of seems weird to be experiencing things for the first time, but there is definitely a list so here goes…

My first time graduating after high school. After I graduated high school I started at San Diego State. I was a year in when my boyfriend joined the Army. So I quit school, started working full time to save money, got married, and never went back. I am not at all sad about it. I wouldn’t ever take any of it back.

Since then I have always had people wonder if I’d ever go back to school. My answer has always been no, I don’t want to have to go through all that, but if I ever did it would be for something specific. I guess I lived up to that. I went back to “school” to be a yoga teacher.

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My first time to Pennsylvania. After getting married I have frequently traveled along the southern states. For quite a few years, the DC area was the farthest north I had ever been. Now I can add Pennsylvania to my list of states visited.

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My first time to New Jersey. Sure I only visited the edge of Jersey that borders Pennsylvania, but I was still there. One of the last evenings at the ashram a group of us drove to an amphitheater in Jersey to see Alice Cooper and Deep Purple.

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My first time walking through a river. This one might surprise you. It sure surprised my friend who watched me walk in the water like it was normal. Sure I’ve swam in lakes but only ones that were highly populated for recreational purposes. This river was not one of those types.

On our first day off, a new friend and I ventured into town to do laundry, eat lunch, and go on a hike. We happened upon this great river area that had a walking trail, a giant covered bridge, and just all around great scenery. My friend is a seasoned river-goer so in we went. Of course I did yoga!

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Sticking to the theme here… First time jumping in a swimmin’ hole via a rope swing. On another day off we ventured to this great little town called St. Peters that sits along French Creek State Park. We nicknamed it the “Spirit Village” because it was just that; a quaint little village with yoga classes, a gem shop, and all around spirit, nuzzled up next to hiking trails and a river. I came here twice, the first time just for hiking, but found that this spot in the photo is where all the families hang out to swim and swing. So the second time we went I knew I had to get in and see what the fuss was all about. I guess you could say I am kind of adventurous. What an exhilarating experience! And yes, the water was cold.

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First time eating (almost) all vegan. I came into this really eager to see what eating vegan was all about. Having someone else cook it for me was definitely a plus! I plan to write a whole post just about this so I won’t say much but I will say this… I survived! LOL! I ate vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a total of 20ish days. I even stuck to it when I went out in the real world. It was pretty great! I didn’t miss meat or cheese. I now have quite a few ideas to incorporate into my regular life. But around day 20 I was tired of eating the same thing everyday so I staged a revolt and went out to eat breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I am not sorry!!

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This is a tough one… First time dealing with the loss of a pet. About half way through my time away, my husband had to make the choice to put down our boy Simon. It was a bit easier for me because I wasn’t around to witness it and I am also a bit more level-headed in situations like this. But that may be what made it harder for me; I couldn’t be there for my husband when he needed someone. I had the support of my new “family” while he only had the support of one of his best friends. Thank goodness for that one friend.

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Simon smiling on his last day.

Last but not least..My first time doing something totally alone, for myself. I got married when I was 19 and since then have been doing EVERYTHING with my husband. I have a 9 year old daughter, so the last 9 years have been spent doing almost everything with her as well. For me, doing things all alone involve me being alone at home or going grocery shopping. This was yet another road on my journey that I never expected.

I spent 24 days without my husband or daughter. I spent them in a “foreign” place. I shacked up with 7 other ladies in a dorm. I lived with 15-20 strangers for 24 days. I drove 6 hours in the truck to and from the ashram (I think I’ve topped out at 3 hour drives). I lived and survived on my own for the month. That’s the gist of it really. I elected to live away from my family and go on this crazy journey and I had to problem with it. I jumped in head first and it was AMAZING! I could easily say that being a military kid and wife prepared me for such a road, but I like to think that I am just awesome to be able to handle this kind of thing. 😉

What a trip!!

Stay tuned for more exciting posts coming soon!!

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From Guide to Teacher #NamasteTuesday

I became a yoga teacher a little over a year ago. And I know that even though I am not certified, I am still a teacher. But when I tell people that I teach I sometimes use the word “guide” rather than teacher because I am not certified. I tend to get self-conscious about using the word “teacher” because I have never been formally trained. I have attended classes, but I am mostly self-taught. I have never been taught how to teach, I just gave it a try and found out I am pretty darn good at it. And while I feel confident as a teacher/guide, there are still some aspects of teaching a class that I could use a bit more confidence. Well…the time has finally arrived.

I am going to officially get my 200 hour yoga certification next month! WOOO!!!!

I have been talking about doing it for a while. Not only to be more confident when I teach, but mostly for myself. There is only so much that you can teach yourself. And there is sooooooo much more that I have to learn. But there have always been obstacles. First of course is money. It ain’t cheap to get your certification. The second obstacle has been scheduling. Although I don’t work and you would think I have all the time in the world, I don’t. Especially on the weekends. And yoga cert classes are not on YOUR schedule. Most of them are only one weekend a month; Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. Even though that’s only one weekend a month we have to work around, that’s a lot of work. And we only have one car and a kid. So making sure my husband is going to be home on time for me to drive for an hour and make it to class, and then if my daughter had somewhere to be on the weekend…you get it. One weekend can really mess things up. We were, of course, going to make it work, but it was going to be tough. Until the Kula Kamala Foundation popped up on our search.

One other quick thing that was going to be tough with the other classes, a lot of them required that you go to their studios at least once a week to attend a class. Again, I would have to really rework my schedule to be able to do this. Oh, another thing, it seemed to me that a lot of the classes are also geared towards getting your certification so you can turn around the find a job as a teacher. I don’t need that. Sure, in the future my certification will make it easier to get a job, but at this point I am not looking for ways to market myself. So….

There were a couple classes that I was going to settle for. We were going to make it work. And then Kula Kamala came up. I don’t even know how my husband found it because it isn’t local. But this was THE one. This one has everything I was looking for and more. First, it’s not as expensive, and let’s be honest, that is always a plus. Second, it’s all done in one month. One super long, intense month, but no big schedule changes. Including not having to find child care because my daughter is on her own vacation until school starts. Double win! Third, and this is the pretty cool part, I am going to live and be fed at the school for the entire time, and that’s part of the tuition. And four, this class seems to be more about the spiritual side of yoga, while also teaching you how to guide others. This is going to be so crazy and awesome!

I have never done something like this. I have never lived on my own. I have never done something like this where I leave the family for an extended period of time. And I’ve never imagined I’d go off to live in Pennsylvania with a bunch of other yogi weirdos (I’m definitely one of those so I am not making fun of anyone) for a month. It’s going to be fantastic. I am going to be mingling with my people. I am going to be completely immersed in yoga for a month. And I get to experience a ton of things I have never had the chance to before.

I am also going to be vegan for the month. The food served is all local or homegrown at the school and it’s all vegan or vegetarian. I am honestly not sure what there will be that is vegetarian, (milk?) so I am going to assume that it will be almost 100% vegan. I am pretty excited about this too. When I think about eating a vegan diet I always say, “That would be great…if someone else made the food for me.” You want to cook vegan for me? Perfect. I have to prepare everything and buy new things and learn new recipes? No thanks. So the fact that I will be eating this way because it’s what is being put in front of me is going to make it a helluva lot easier to try. Not like I’ll have a choice, LOL! But I am honestly excited. I have not, until now, realized that most of the yogis I know or follow online are all vegan. So it will be interesting to see what it does for my mind. I am very eager to see what it does for my skin, if anything. I suffer from acne and cannot figure out what the hell causes it. Maybe it is something in animal products. I have read about it being caused by dairy but I do not eat a ton of dairy. But you never know.

You won’t see a blog from me in a while since I’ll be very busy, but I will definitely find time to journal and blog when I return.

The next time you see me, I should will be able to say with confidence, “I am a yoga TEACHER.”

And for fun, here’s me smiling while inverted. 🙂

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