I took my first yoga class in the mid-1990s. It was an Iyengar class. I had heard of yoga but knew little about it and certainly never practised it before. I was wowed. What is this practice, I thought? All the stretching, bending, holding and breathing left me wiped out but also invigorated, and settled my mind. I was very attracted to the practice but at the time lacked the discipline and understanding to stick with it. I attended class for a while, then stopped, then started again, then stopped—and continued in this off-and-on fashion for many years. More off than on. But I never left it completely, and deep down in my heart kept going back to it, searching for more.
Then about five years ago I discovered hot yoga. Twenty-six postures and two breathing exercises done in a room heated to 40 degrees, over 90 minutes. My first hot yoga class was gruelling, a killer. This is not yoga, this is torture, I remember thinking! But I also slept the best sleep that I had slept in years after that class. So I went back for a second class, and a third, and a fourth … and before I knew it I was hooked, practising five times a week, busting a gut to make it to class while juggling work, a growing family and the million demands those things make on one.
The benefits were tangible. Much more energy, a stronger immune system, more strength, flexibility, stamina, mental clarity—and most importantly, the courage and desire to go beyond my comfort zone so I could go further with my body, my character, my mind and my spirit. The studio I practiced at was no nonsense; it emphasised discipline, integrity, rigour and a solid, solid practice. This made a real difference.
That was when I really fell in love with yoga and made it a part of my life. From very early on in my serious practice I knew I wanted to become a yoga teacher. But to do that I had to enroll in teacher training, for which I had neither the time nor the money to spare. I told myself I would try to realise that goal in a few years, though to be honest it felt more like a pipe dream than something I could really achieve.
Last year I actually managed to do a teacher training course. It was not a hot yoga course. I was trained in ashtanga and certified to teach hatha yoga. It was a great course and I got a lot out of it. My asana practice improved in leaps and bounds and I gained a huge amount of yoga knowledge, but I got no teaching experience. So at the end of the course, I was left twiddling my thumbs and wondering what to do next.
Now I am in a second teacher training course. It is a hot yoga course, the style of yoga that started my serious yoga practice. It is back at the studio where it really began for me and that gave me my yoga foundation. At the end of the course, I will start teaching yoga.
It is all becoming a reality now. But if you had asked me then, back then in the 1990s, when I did my first yoga class, or even five years ago, if I had thought it possible that I would become a yoga teacher, I would have said ‘I don’t I will be able to do it.’
If You Had
Asked Me Then