As a child I would listen to audio books. It would come with a picture book and a 45 record that you would play and the bell would ding and it would be time to turn the page. I grew up in a very religious family and there was a lot of training that went into making sure that I would become a spiritual leader in my home one day. I find myself at times singing to myself:
Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry, when you get impatient you only start to worry. Remember, remember that God is patient too so think of all the times when others have to wait for you…
– The Music Machine
Somewhere in outer space, God has prepared a place for those that trust him and obey, Jesus will come again and though we don’t know when, the countdowns getting lower everyday…
– The Countdown Song
I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise with a capitol P. I am a great big bundle of potentiality. I am learning to hear Gods voice and I am trying to make the right choices. I am a promise to be, anything God wants me to be…
– I am a Promise
These principles have been reinforced inside my psyche. They are a part of who I am. I have been trained to not let my soul be forgotten from young. When I left the church in 2003 and ventured off to find my own path I was pretty angry. It took getting mad to fuel me standing up for myself and to say, “This doesn’t represent what I believe in.” Even though I was angry I quietly bowed out of going and left in silence. I had seen over my lifetime all the people that had left in anger and caused a commotion on their way out of the door. I went on a journey to figure out what it was that I believe in. My mother wanted me to go to the pastor and talk it out. I knew he would try to convince me to stay and to rededicate my life to Christ. I said, “No.”
I was 30. It took me 30 years to open my mind and heart to the idea that I could find the thing that accepted me for who I was and provided me a moral compass to guide my path. I began to study other religions and to be open to other ideas that had not been a part of my conservative Christian background. Along the path I discovered yoga and meditation and my mind was blown. The body high, the calm, the strength of the practice. It was everything that I had been looking for. When I went to my family to share with them what I had found they told me that Yoga was rooted in Hinduism and left you open to demonic possession. I was devastated in the moment because I knew that I needed to tell them that I was gay and how could I tell them that when I couldn’t even share with them about how the practice had shifted me and moved in a way that meant so much to me.
I was gearing up to get angry and tell my parents out of anger that I was gay and I didn’t care what they thought until I received a phone call from my father at 5 in the morning on a Monday morning that my sister had died unexpectedly. I immediately went to their side to conduct the business of death and probably three or four days later we finally sat down and talked about how we don’t agree on everything in life. Let’s try to love each other as best we can in spite of those differences.
Part of me looks back on that moment and wishes that I had just said my truth to them but I made the decision to put coming out on hold while my parents were suffering a tragic loss and just be there for them. The first year after such a close relative dies there are a lot of firsts that just pretty much suck and you do your best to just get through them. It took me three years to get up the nerve to come out. I over-compensated by lavishing them with gifts and trying to create magical moments that would circumvent the fact that I had kept secrets from them by choice. At the end of the day, the day I told them was the last day that we spoke. I’ve seen them twice at two funerals. Other than that, our relationship has migrated to a casual acquaintance.
I was 36. At 36 years old I finally decided to live my life for me. I put down what others wanted for me and began to construct a life that was grounded in what I believed in. Out of tragedy, hard work and a decision to do the right thing came one of the loves of my life, Yoga Belly. Light on tradition, heavy on workout. William and I wanted to have a space in the world that wouldn’t “should” on you. Tell you what to believe in. Seek to control people with principles that may or may not apply to your everyday life. Creating a safe space for people to explore their boundaries and find their truth, what you believe in. Where you do “the work.” Where you enjoy the process because it isn’t always easy. We physically express and practice the skill sets that we apply to other areas of our life in order to promote success: socially, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Where all ideals are respected and belief systems are recognized as valid if they provide you growth and opportunity to live your best life.
At 37 I decided to go to my first Teacher Training and get my 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification. Teacher Training is really about the journey of self-exploration. Understanding yourself at a deeper level. Understanding what motivates and guides you. Coming to a higher level of understanding of the physical practice and how the intention of the pose / practice relates to you. I didn’t go to teacher training because I was the most flexible, the strongest, and the most badass yogi, in fact, when I got there, nobody looked like me. It took me a minute to realize that I was unique and that there are a whole sub-section of humanity that relate to my body and the way it moves and as I come to an understanding of my practice I can share my specific needs with others and they will relate and want to practice with me. That level of awareness is what teacher training is about and now a gift that I share with others on a regular basis.
Yoga Belly is now entering our fifth round of teacher training and our alumni have gone on to be some of our most beloved teachers at Yoga Belly and in the surrounding area. With this round of teacher training we have decided to expand our offering to three offerings that meet the needs of our students. There are three ways to join the upcoming training:
If you are on the fence and don’t know if Teacher Training is the right next step in your yogic journey I would highly recommend trying module 1. Surprise yourself by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and make a commitment to living your best life today. If you have any questions about next steps please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or talk with myself, Courtney or William before or after one of our classes. The journey of 1000 steps begins with the first.
Now is the time.
All my love,