Growing up in Toledo, OH as a child of the 80's I'd never met a yoga instructor. It's the mid-west, and in the 80's we only liked casseroles, leg warmers in step classes and mass on Sunday's. Yoga instructors would have seemed like aliens. By some stroke of luck my mom had taken a yoga class in college and would talk about it on occasion. That's how I knew yoga and yoga teachers existed. As a child yoga seemed mystical, elusive,and exotic like a pink unicorn. I'd ask my mom if I could take a yoga class when she talked about how much she had liked it, she said if we could find one. I'd scour the YMCA class listings, nada. Don't forget this was before the days of google search. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I found a class being offered. This class was being offered in the carpeted loft of a new age book store (that no longer exists I might add). The class was what I had imagined, 10 or so of us in a dimly lit room practicing "Easy does it yoga" together for 6 classes over six weeks. Lovely class and great people even if I was the youngest by 35 years, but not necessarily something that would make a 12th grade girl change her "career path." Looking back now, I know that class was fate flirting with me.
After that first "official" class, I forgot about yoga in pursuit of my psychology major and dance minor. The dance minor was the part of me that knew movement was the key, the part of me that has always known there is wisdom in the body. I just didn't know how to make a living in artistic expression of the body and that's a problem when even as a young person you view financial stability as big fat hairy deal. Never one to follow my heart without a way to pay the bills I ignored the desire to double major in dance and art and decided that psychology was a "more practical major". Yeah, I wish I was making this up.
As a grade school or high school girl when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the standard reply was "actress, singer or dancer". ugh. It's hard for me to look back on that little version of myself and not be frustrated with her generic pursuits and dreams. To be fair to that little brown-haired girl had I realized yoga teacher was an option, I probably wouldn't have chosen it. I guess life had to teach me a lot of lessons before I could figure out what I wanted to become when I grew up. Life had to show me why I needed yoga before I could know that I wanted to teach yoga to others.
I'm grateful to know with 100% certainty that not only do I want to be a yoga teacher and teacher of yoga teachers when I grow up, but I know I actually get to do it.