I’m going to be a yogi. Oh, you don’t have to go hiding your
picnic basket. I’m not going to be THAT kind of yogi, you Boo Boo.
I’ve decided to attend intensive teacher’s training to be a
yoga teacher at a qualified yoga institute in Atlanta. The course takes about 6
months and is set over 9 long weekends (twelve hour days) with independent
study and daily practice in between seminars. I’m told it will be a life
altering experience. I don’t know about that, but I am looking forward to
expanding my awareness of movement from a new angle, one more centered on
interior awareness and spirituality than on the more surface, visual elements
To apply, I had to answer ten questions in essay form,
questions that asked who I am, why I am seeking Yoga training, what phase of
life I’m in and what new phase I may be entering. I thought, phase? Are the interests I’m pursuing at
this age phases? It doesn’t feel that
way. It feels as if all my interests are connected, like I’m collecting information
that links together in one long ongoing study of the world. I’m expanding my understanding of people and
life to gain self awareness while also building skills that provide opportunity
for work and pleasure. But perhaps
that is just a fancy sentence for describing me in a phase.
Tomorrow I’m driving to Atlanta for a personal interview
with the director of the program. I will have to do some basic yoga on a mat for
him to establish whether or not I’m physically capable of the challenge (no
worries), and he wants to explain more about the program to see if we are a
good “fit”. After a lifetime of
dance training, and lots of little side diversions that included things like
getting aerobics certified, creating and hosting a teacher’s training seminar in
our business, and/or studying eastern religions in college, I feel ready to embrace
this new form of movement/art/life philosophy (however you want to view it)
both academically and on a more intimate personal level.
So, I’m going to be turning 50 in a few weeks and I’m
celebrating by becoming a yogi. Perhaps the wisdom gained from living half a
century will come in handy here, at least enough to make up for my 50 year old ligaments
that I’m guessing will rebel when I’m asked to twist myself up into a pretzel
and balance on my head and say “ommmmmmmm”.
When I talked to Graham, the director of the training
program, he said, “I’ve enjoyed reading your application. You’ve led a fascinating
life. I think you are one of the more interesting applicants we’ve received.”
I said, “Well, my life is never boring, that is for
sure.” Made me laugh later,
because I don’t consider my life all that unique or “fascinating” but guess it
is fair to say it does always
evolve and change, and for that I’m grateful. I’ve gone from dance in the most
urban city in the world (New York) to raising llamas in a quiet corner of the Appalachia.
Never thought that would be where I’d end when I was a teenager dreaming of who
and what I’d grow up to be. But diverse experiences is a way of walking all the
way around the American elephant to discover life is more than a trunk or
floppy ears. (You have to know the blind guys meeting an elephant story to get
that metaphor, sorry.)
Anyway, you may wonder, why yoga? I could be a flippant brat
and say Why not?, but that would be annoying so I’ll answer.
I have a business plan, marketing plan and even
a location picked out for opening a dance studio here, but now the entire idea
is in a holding pattern. Lots of mixed feelings about following this path once
again, starting with not wanting to invite that madness into my world again,
and ending with concerns that once I engage in a new business, I’m planting
serious roots here that rob me of the freedom to leave, at least for a handful
of years. For all the glorious and enriching elements that come with living in
a slow paced town with nature all around me , there are equally strong
drawbacks because intellectual stimulus is severely limited here. Some days, I
feel like I’m going to go crazy, other days, I feel like I landed in the only
place a soul can feel whole. I guess I had similar mixed feelings in the
bustling world we left behind – fullfillment is a mater of where your focus is
in any given moment. Opening a studio may provide the challenge and the balance
of meaningful work along with meaningful lifestyle that I need to be content
here. But it may just as easily trap me. The question is, do I want to live
here and keep visiting Atlanta, or live in a place like Atlanta and visit
someplace like this. It’s a value system thing.
I am taking a weekly yoga class here in a town
30 minutes away from my house, and I’m enjoying it, but the truth is, it’s not
as satisfying a class as those I took at a yoga center in Florida. I find my
mind wandering in the lesson thinking, “If I was the teacher, I’d explain that
pose more thoroughly”, or “she should explain the interior thought process that
helps people meditate at this portion of the class,” and so on. Not that I’m
being critical, but more that I am a natural teacher and after 30 years of
leading classes, I can’t resist thrusting myself into the instructors role. A
few weeks ago, after trying to explain to Denver (new to yoga) how some Yoga
experiences are more involved, it occurred to me I should look into yoga training.
There is clearly a niche that needs to be filled in my area. That, of course,
lead to my finding some strong facilities in Atlanta with comprehensive
programs and one thing led to another….. and well, the spark of an idea is all
it takes for me.
I figure, once I am certified by the Yoga Alliance,
America’s leading yoga organization, I’ll have one more skill to enrich my life
and provide opportunity. I may teach for the new health club in town (which has
a small aerobics room, but no classes as yet because of a lack of teachers) or
I’ll open another dance school here with an adult health and fitness program,
and evolve my vision for a dance studio so it is not just a center for youth
entertainment but a place designed for the unique needs of the population here.
Or, maybe I’ll use the yoga experience to write some articles for fitness
magazines or for fodder for a story. Maybe (and this is my deepest, secret
dream … ha, not such a secret now) I will find a way to combine yoga with
memoir and journal writing to create a class where people can reflect deeper
upon their personal truths, sort of a writing class with physical exercises to
open the paths to creativity…. OK, don’t laugh at me. Honestly, I feel I can
combine my MFA training with the yoga thing, and along with my natural teaching
instincts , create an intimate learning experience that would impact others in
a great way. Don’t know where I’d host such a class, but ya never can tell . .
If nothing else, becoming yoga certified will help me be
more disciplined with my personal practice. That would be nice too.
Tomorrow, I’ll write about my first venture to the yoga
center and meeting the director. I’ll share the experience, and report all my
aches and pains along the way, and knowing me, it will not be with the non-judgmental,
loving, open mind of a seasoned yogi – unless it is truly a life altering (and
person altering) event. What can I say. I’m still me. Perhaps becoming a yogi will
help in that department.
Now, I have to go feed the animals. This is the day I drive
to Marietta to take my weekly horseback riding lesson. This is my third week.
I’m determined to become skilled enough to handle my highbred pinto saddle bred
myself, or I’m going to sell her. She is too expensive to keep as a yard ornament,
and this spring is the make it or break it time for me and horses. Love them to
pieces, but there is only so much time and energy in a person’s life, and
unless I know enough to enjoy these animals and ride safely, what is the point?
There is more to talk about – real estate talk. Mark won
rookie of the year as the strongest newcomer with the most sales in the tri-county
area, and he is the new superstar of real estate – not that that surprises
anyone. I am actually going to get my real estate license, not because I want
to be a realtor (I don’t) but because he needs help, and rather than hire
someone, I can be his assistant a couple days a week. I’m not much for sales
and don’t have an affinity for houses like he does, but I miss working with my
spouse – there was a great energy in that – and I rather we work together to
support the family so he can come home at a reasonable time than let him shoulder the entire burden
and come home too exhausted to enjoy time with the family. The imbalance doesn’t sit well with me.
Beside which, he has this entire second life away from the one we share
together, and I want a better understanding of what he does and the stresses
involved. So, I’m going to get a realtor’s license as a support vehicle for my
life partner. Who knows, I might actually like real estate when I get involved,
and it might sway me from opening a studio… or I will hate it and realize I’m
meant to open a studio. Or heck, it could lead to something else altogether.
Life is funny that way.
So, I proceed with an open mind. I’ll be a
dancing, writing, realtor yogi that rides a saddle bred well enough to
be in a rodeo, and ends every day with a glass of homemade wine and dinner made
from her farming experiments.
How’s that for a demonstration of what one gal can do in 50 years?
Must go. But I promise not to disappear for so long anymore.
I’ve gotten far behind – friends expect an undate on Kathy’s literacy adventure, the baby llama, writing pursuits, and more. Shame on me.