It doesn’t seem so long ago, when we first pulled into the driveway of our new home in small Manitoba town. I was seven months pregnant and so excited about getting back to my homeland. I was born in small town Manitoba and after a twenty year hiatus, I was ready to come home again.
When we moved I’d been practicing yoga on my own on and off for a decade already found it a very helpful way to work through some of the more uncomfortable parts of pregnancy. Amidst boxes and piles of stuff to unpack I would often surrender to a restorative seated forward bend or a gentle dynamic standing twist. When Calixa was born I came to rely more heavily on the breathing portion of my practice. Those first few months of long nights and colicky days meant calming breath work became my staple- my means of survival (that, and ear plugs).
It was when Calixa was three months old that I noticed the sign. The sign posted by the small town recreation department that read ‘Yoga classes’. Hungrily, desperately, I clawed at the phone and immediately registered for the class. I thought, “What a delicious break an hour away from life would be.” I was gonna love taking small town yoga.
But before the first class began there was terrible news. A death in the family sent my would-be teacher across the Atlantic ocean and just like that, small town yoga dissolved faster than a teaspoon of powdered stevia in hot tea.
It happened all of a sudden, inspiration gripped me like an exacerbated parent disciplining an unruly child. “You could teach that class,” a voice somewhere deep inside spoke out. Could I? I wondered. Well… maybe I could, I mean, just until the teacher came back. I could just fill in for a week or two…
With shaking fingers I once again dialed the number to the recreation manager’s office. “I am not a yoga teacher,” I began with baited breath, “but I do know about yoga and have done some fitness training…I could…well, I mean if it’s ok…maybe I could just fill in until the other teacher comes back. I really need to get out of the house!” The words toppled from my lips before I could catch them.
Carole laughed, “Of course you could. We would be happy to have you.”
Uh oh. What had I done. I was in way over my head. How could I lead a class of people in something as vast as yoga? I panicked, the taste of bile in the back of throat brought the situation into horrifying focus. I was terrified. …and a week later, still feeling as though I might vomit at any moment I went to teach my first class.
Five years have elapsed since that first scary class and I’ve been teaching ever since. I love it so much I hope I can do this until my body gives up the ghost. After all, yoga is a lifelong journey. What began as a small temporary group of two or three has evolved into a large class of 18, plus three other smaller classes throughout the week. Since that fateful day five years ago, I’ve spent many many happy hours studying yoga, meditating, practicing and visiting other teachers when I can, in an effort to become a better teacher.
A strong and happy yoga community has grown out of my practice and it makes my heart swell to see so many people enjoying yoga for yoga’s sake. Like attracts like as they say and students often come and go but every now and then someone comes into a yoga class, works through the poses, tries the meditation and walks away saying, “I think I’m gonna do that again.” After five years, there are now quite a few of those returning students and the classroom has grown into a beautiful community of loving friends.
This summer I will finally have the freedom to get away for a two week intensive yoga teacher training. I see this as the next step in my journey and it wouldn’t have been possible without that community of love and support that began on that first scary day, five years ago. Here’s to a future that is bendy, stretchy, strong and peaceful!
The ladies from Thursday’s Core class smile for the camera as they enjoy herbal tea at class’s end.