“It is very demanding and intense. My classmate, who is a ballerina dancer, has failed her final exam,” said a friend of mine who was doing her yoga teacher training at Shades of Yoga in Ubud, Bali in the spring of 2015.
Let’s call her Felicia.
We were sitting in trendy vegetarian cafe in Ubud, Bali on fancy spiritual mats, sipping our green healthy juices waiting for our veggies to arrive.
I was looking at Felicia like she was some sort of a goddess. A future yoga teacher goddess. What excited me even more is that she was a badass business lady talking conversion rates and funnels like a pro while being all zen.
That’s who I wanted to be. A zen business lady. (Those were the days I wanted to be everyone else but not myself.)
Felicia told me that the training is quite challenging and that it takes a lot of time and energy. She took off a whole month to come to Bali and study yoga.
She also told me the cost of the training. And that factor has convinced me even further that this will never be me. The path to being a zen business lady was not mine. I could be a business lady for sure. Just not a super zen one.
Yeah, right. I barely lived from paycheck to paycheck. I hadn’t gotten thousands of dollars to spend on something so silly as a yoga training when I had bills to pay and buy food for my cat. (I was living in Malaysia renting an apartment with my cat.)
Yet there I was two years later with a month of my life dedicated to yoga and $3,000 out of my bank account (saved up during my last year’s full-time remote work and traveling around the world.)
We are where we’re at.
Life is funny that way. It throws something at you that is even remotely interesting…
You disregard it as a ridiculous idea. You don’t pay attention to it. You hide it somewhere deep and dark. Preferably in some dark corner of your “dreams” or “bucket list” closet and you try to forget. You keep it down. You keep it low key.
That will never be me.
But your hidden passion is still there. It is sitting there and waiting for the right moment to come out. Your dreams are sitting there and waiting for the moment when you will decide to choose you. When you’ll decide to be you and not goddess Felicia.
That moment came for me gradually and it took two years.
I was always fascinated by yoga.
Where I come from (Moldova) — yoga is an expensive, less common practice. When I was in high-school, one of my more financially well-off girlfriends mentioned that she was doing yoga and I remember thinking to myself what a posh life she has.
Where I come from, going to the gym is an expensive and not so common adventure. Our people are not really into healthy living, healthy exercising and healthy eating. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I don’t blame them. With an average income of $400 a month, gym membership and chia puddings are kind of out of question.
One summer day in 2012 in Malaysia I saw an announcement for a yoga class. I was curious. I went. I liked it. I remember feeling relaxed and energized after the class.
I started going to yoga classes sporadically for the next three years. (During those years I had that dinner with Felicia.)
Addicted to “here and now.”
I have never taken it seriously until one day when something inside of me clicked. I don’t really know how to explain it but when you feel it, you know. I believe it was during some of the most stressful times of my life at work. I got addicted to having that “me time” for 60 minute where it was only me and my mat. No one else. No meetings and bosses, no deadlines and project milestones, no launches and webinars.
“There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. You are here and now.”
That’s what I got addicted to. And so my classes increased in frequency to two-three classes a week. Religiously.
Addicted to progress.
Then I became addicted to progress. I think that’s what keeps all the sports junkies going to the gym regularly. They see and feel their muscles toning, their butt looking better and better and the mirror smiling at them wider and wider every day.
I have never understood this obsession with the gym and with the body. Perhaps because I’ve been blessed with a good body. Perhaps I didn’t need more testosterone. What I really needed is more presence and peace in my life. But I didn’t know it back then.
I started feeling the progress and it has become an obsession. Suddenly, I can jump into a crow pose with ease, hold the poses for longer and breathe more steady. Unexpectedly, I can lift myself into a tripod stand. I started to see and feel how my body got more toned, fitter and I started looking better.
Mind you, I still can’t do a proper head or handstand. I’m not there yet. And that’s okay.
We are where we’re at.
Getting serious about yoga.
After every yoga class I felt energized, relaxed and at peace. After every yoga class I felt stronger. There was something to it that I needed to explore more.
Combined with my personal growth journey, yoga had become an excellent tool to my inner discovery and development.
My true dedication to yoga came around May 2015 when I started traveling full-time and working remotely. This time it was not about helping me deal with the stress at an office job but about keeping me sane on the road and dealing with full-time travel.
That’s when I bought my own Manduka travel mat and a yoga towel. What a glorious moment that was.
First thing I did when I landed in a new country was find a yoga studio. Only then I knew I would be okay. Yoga has become part of my daily practice whether it was for only 20 minutes a day or a full on 90 minutes in a class.
I started going to yoga festivals and workshops and various extra classes. I was really into it.
Yoga workshop in Malaysia with Tara Styles, yo!
I’ve gone to yoga classes all over the world: Malaysia, Thailand, Bali, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, USA, Spain, Colombia, Mexico & Brazil. I got a taste of various teachers and styles of yoga, I flew high during an aerial yoga class and I was thrown up in the air during an acro class. I tried Bikram, Ashtanga, Yin & Restorative, Vinyasa and Hatha, Power and Core, Sun, Fire and Moon yoga. The only thing I haven’t tried is like Beer Yoga… (WTF is that, anyway?)
In 2016 the idea of doing a yoga teacher training has crossed my mind for the first time. I was serious about yoga and I had savings. I was also serious about traveling and teaching. I love being on stage, inspiring and guiding people through their life journey.
And so in January 2017 I decided to do it. I knew it was time. I had also quit my full-time remote job. That was the perfect time to do it. Perfect as in “Eat.Pray.Love” perfect. I mean seriously, quit your job and go to Bali to do a yoga training? Fuck yeah!
I knew two of my girlfriends (including Felicia) who have done their training in Ubud at Shades of Yoga. I asked if they would recommend it, they said “yes, absolutely.”
May sounded like a good month to do it. I had filled in the application and transferred my deposit.
Later on I realized that the girls who chose this school have done plenty of research and it appears that this particular school was indeed one of the best in Bali.
And so that was it. I found myself buying the flight tickets to Bali.
On May 1st I woke up early, put on my fancy yoga pants and sports bra and headed to Taksu, where my yoga teacher training was held. I walk in, see Unieng (my teacher) she point me to the yoga shala that is going to be my home for the next 24 days. I walk through the garden, take off my flip flops and enter.
My story of transformation during the 200/hour yoga teacher training happens next. Will tell you all about the course, how it has transformed my yoga practice, what I’ve learned and what you should consider before doing an official yoga training in my next post.
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