DANCE WAS MY FIRST LOVE, YOGA IS MY SOULMATE
In college, I had a passion for dance. I loved it so much, I decided to declare a minor in it. Somatically expressing emotion, moving my body in creative, artistic, athletic ways to beautiful music felt like the next best thing to heaven. I loved to write creatively, but I saw dance as poetry without the need for words. And I was good at it--it was one thing I felt masterful at.
My quest to perfect my talent lead me to yoga classes, where I found myself growing just as fond of for similar reasons--but with a twist. I had moments where I felt in touch with the divine while dancing, but when I got those sun salutations down, I felt much closer to the divine, in such a peaceful, loving, authentic way. Building up my strength, balance, flexibility, and stamina, while moving my body in creative, poetic fashion, was just such an exercise in self-love, self-respect. I saw how dance tore up my body and yoga put it back together again. I felt healing happening on multi-levels--mind, body, and spirit. To practice--a lot-- made perfect sense!
I would continue to practice for over 20 years after this discovery. Along the way, deciding that I loved it so much, I wanted to pursue a teaching certification. My intention was not necessarily to teach, but to learn all I could about this amazing art and science. But I realized while studying, teaching would eventually inevitably become a very important component to my life-long education in yoga.
I was so fortunate to have the privilege of studying with two incredibly knowledgeable, skillful, talented, compassionate, spiritual, and articulate gurus--Bob Smith and Ki McGraw (very yogic names--i know lol) of Hatha Yoga Center of Seattle. When I found them, they were running 1.5-year-long teacher trainings in a little old stained-glass church from the 1800s, which was like a colorful little spot of magic in the middle of the University District.
We talked about everything from mantras to yantras, to asana to Jnana, to the Uponishads, to everything yoga! It was heavenly to immerse myself in this vast ocean of knowledge that is yoga--having its magic brought to light with such love. I had been inspired to hone myself into the greatest version of a yoga "ambassador" I can be, just as they have.
I didn't think I would be at the time, but I am very thankful for their knowledge and direction in proper alignment. They were such sticklers for it, and I would feel annoyed at the fact they were correcting mine even after I had been practicing for 10 years prior! But now I am so grateful that I am empowered to pass this very important knowledge on to my own students. This skill alone helps me tremendously to impart wisdom and loving-kindness to others while doing the one thing that brings me great joy in this world.