yoga teacher

The truth about a home yoga practice

Pose 1.3 Downward facing dog
Pose 1.3 Downward facing dog

If you are waiting for things to be perfect to have a home yoga practice you will never have a home yoga practice.  If you are waiting for a room devoted to yoga, or a full hour to be able to practice every day you will never have a home practice.  The best advice I ever received was practice every day even if you only have 10 minutes.  10 minutes every day is better than an hour once a week.  This serves me well even today.

Before I became a yoga teacher I thought yoga teachers had these perfect home yoga practices.  They must have whole rooms in their house devoted to nothing but their mat, a mediation cushion possibly a Buddha, and a stereo.  They must have these perfect hour-long daily practices at 4am where cares just fall away and they lose track of time they are so in the moment.

Yeah, not true.  Well, I sorta have a yoga room, but it's also sorta filled with boxes and other things too and there are many dust bunnies full of dog hair floating around.  There is a dog that I know I should put in another room, but he sits in the same room watching me.  I normally have time to practice right when I get home from work not early in the morning and I rarely get more than 30 minutes let alone an hour.  The house is normally a disaster zone because even though I'm great at many things, I am not great at keeping a clean house.  There are oodles of distractions around me.  It's just like normal life.  A normal life and a home yoga practice go hand in hand.

Tonight when I got on my mat, I found myself distracted because I was using my least favorite mat (yes, yoga teachers or at least this yoga teachers acquire multiple mats) and I kept slipping. Then I noticed the floor needed cleaning, and the dog being curious about what I was doing. Then I remembered it was about the breath not those other things.  For a few minutes I was able to stay with my breath and then I quickly got distracted again.  I noticed and then I tried to take it inward once again.  I wasn't very grounded tonight.  Getting on my mat and trying in the first place was the reason I noticed.

My message is don't wait for the situation to be perfect, Don't wait until you have enough time.  Just go get on your mat for 10 minutes even if you lay in savasana breathing for all 10 minutes.

When I grow up I want to be a yoga teacher

little alisha
little alisha

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.

child of the 80's aspiring actress
child of the 80's aspiring actress

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.

aspiring actresss
aspiring actresss

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.