I cannot recall a time where I have ever felt more accepted and encouraged to be my true self than the year I spent as an instructor at CorePower Yoga. I had a hunch that learning to teach and actually doing so would change the current direction of my life’s path but I wildly underestimated to what degree. Of the unexpected occurrences that naturally took place, the most significant is the quality of friendships that I made. Teachers and students alike have set the standard for what I will qualify as a friendship forever moving forward.
I admittedly entered the space with misconceptions about the level of competition I might be greeted with, us being “fitness professionals” and all. My brain seemed to enjoy torturing me with scenarios as silly as who can hold handstand the longest or contort themselves into the most complicated human version of a pretzel. To my relief there were no inversion contests and the ladder structure of asana abilities only existed as a figment of my internal battle with unworthiness (hold and breathe here for more to come on this). Much to my delight I came to find out that yoga teachers are just regular humans with the same emotions and internal experiences as anyone else- the difference being they not only acknowledge that fact but they accept it. This internal awareness created an environment that was a breeding ground for compassion and a safe space to be myself as I am on my good days and on my “just ignore me crying in savasana it’s fine” days. I, for genuinely the first time in my life, focused less on fulfilling what I thought was expected of me and felt empowered to act as I honestly felt inclined to. In one of the earliest moments of feeling the joy of being who I am bubble up within my heart (described as such not just for an aesthetic visual but because it is quite literally the feeling that my body registers when I have these moments of pure liberation) I was first filled with happiness then almost as quickly with sadness. I realized what percentage of my time was bring spent without that joy.
So why then? Why after a year of finding my foundation of soul sisters, likeminded humans, and community did I feel the need to uproot it all and move to a new city? Because it was comfortable.
I made the decision, with a lot of encouragement from friends and generosity from family, to step forward into growth, not backwards into safety. What was I going to do? Pretend I didn’t see (feel) the signs and stay in my lane because that’s what I knew and where it was safe, so far? Or was I going to tighten my laces and get my shoes a little dirty off the road? It is often true what “they” say and the case of the first step being the hardest was no exception. I took a few months moderating the battle between my gut who was gently telling me it was time to move on and my mind who was constantly composing a list of reasons that I had to stay- the yoga community I was apart of holding space as number one. After many hours of asana practice, mediation, and even a few deprivation tank floats I was ready to set aside my ego and the fear that came along with its efforts to protect me from the unknown and let go.
It’s actually a lot harder to give yourself permission to be yourself than you would think it would be. Maybe that’s just me.
I am forever grateful for all of those wonderful souls I had the pleasure of meeting during my time in Atlanta, many of whom I know will continue to be a part of my journey despite the distance. Whether you know it or not, it is because of you that I have found the courage from within to be me.