Shedding the layers

I started on my yoga journey back in 2007. At that time I was an extremely shy girl who wouldn’t dare talk to a stranger, much less make eye contact with one. I was 24 years old and had just started working for a big corporation. I was trying to figure out who I was and yoga was a really great way for me to experience a better mind, body, spirit connection. I was dealing with a lot of struggles and I felt lost inside. Yoga became something that I relied on to help me deal with those struggles and gave me a lot of mental strength and clarity. I was learning to quiet my mind and I fell in love with how it made me feel physically, mentally and emotionally.

Fast forward to 2012 when I met a girl named Betina Wills who, little did I know, would change my life forever. My husband, Brandon, owns a bicycle shop and at the time Betina was teaching free yoga classes on Thursday evenings. I was super excited because I was cycling and practicing yoga pretty consistently and it was great to have those two joys of mine brought together. I got to know Betina more and more and she encouraged me to start taking classes at the studio that she was teaching at, Cadence Yoga. I took my first class there and instantly fell in love. Little by little I was making friendships with the other students and all of a sudden Cadence felt like home. I found myself arriving early just so I could chat with people and see how their days had gone. I would count down the hours, minutes, and seconds until it was time to head to the studio because I couldn’t wait to see everyone. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was beginning to shed layers of myself every single day. I was coming out of my shell and making friendships with people who in the past I would have been way to scared to even say hello to. The community at Cadence was like nothing I had ever experienced. Everyone truly cared about each other and every day there were hugs, smiles and occasionally tears shed together.

With the encouragement of Betina and other dear friends, I attended teacher training. I had told myself I was doing it to deepen my personal practice and to someday teach. However, in the back of my head I knew that I would always be too scared to ever teach a class. Public speaking always gave me such anxiety. So much so, that I would start to sweat, my face would turn bright red and I would feel the onset stages of passing out before I was even in front of anyone. There was no way that I was going to be able to lead a class for 60-75 minutes through a yoga practice and be able to bear my soul enough to share intentions with the class. My training lasted nine months and throughout that time we would “practice teach” and that seemed to be okay since it was just a small group of people. I was noticing that as time went on, I was starting to feel more and more comfortable. My friends would constantly ask me when I was going to start teaching and I would always answer the question with “Oh, you know, maybe one day.” Knowing full and well that I would always be way too scared to ever teach.

Then one day I got a message from a friend who owned a yoga studio in OKC. She asked me if I would be interested in teaching a couple of times of week. She was very encouraging and it really meant a lot to me that she truly believed in me and trusted me to represent her studio. I committed to teaching twice a week and instantly when I accepted her offer I wasn’t sure if I was going to vomit or pass out. I was scared shitless. I couldn’t believe that I had actually agreed to start teaching. It was the thing that I wanted most in the world but was so unbelievably scared to do it.

The day came for the my class. It was a Thursday 6am class. I had 12 students, including my super supportive husband. I didn’t sleep at all the night before and I was a hot mess. I was sweating, my stomach was in knots, and I was shaking. I was a nervous wreck. Right before I started class I went into the closet where we kept the stereo. I told myself “This is your dream. Do not let this slip away. Pull yourself together and go out there and do what your heart is calling you to do.” I took and deep breath, walked out of the closet, took one look at my husband and right then and there I knew everything was going to be okay. I couldn’t tell you anything about that class because it’s all a blur to me. I completely went into this other world where nothing else mattered for the next sixty minutes. I had taught my first class and afterwards I was riding high all day long. It was the most incredible feeling that I had ever experienced in my entire life. I had shed the layers from the scared, extremely shy girl that I was once was and I knew in that moment that she no longer existed. I was confident. I was happy. I was vulnerable. My goodness was I vulnerable. Never in my life had I allowed myself to know what being vulnerable was really like. To open myself up to something way bigger than I could ever imagine and to be comfortable in who I am and to not worry so much about what people were going to think of me.

That is the beautiful thing about this practice. We are constantly shedding layers of ourselves and getting to the roots of we truly are. This practice is a steady evolution of removing and adding layers as continue to grow and evolve. In order to do so, we must allow ourselves to open up and be vulnerable. Because it is such a beautiful thing when we do.
Teaching yoga brings me a tremendous amount of happiness and joy and I am so grateful for all the encouragement I received to get me where I am today. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without being able to share my love and passion for yoga with others. I love watching my students grow in their own practices and seeing the smiles on their faces as they show up to practice. It really doesn’t get much better.

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.”~ Brene Brown