As a yoga teacher, who’s been teaching now for 4 years, and 7 years since I attended my first class, I think sometimes people can look at you and think you fell out of the womb with the life you have now, rolled out doing backbends and talking about energy shits. Thats not true though, there was a time I had no idea about yoga. I didn’t understand any of it. I also couldn’t understand Sanskrit and had no idea why my wrists ached so bad. To be honest, I forget a lot of it myself. Though I thought I would take a little time out to recall it.
I was living in Australia at the time, at the fine age of 20. Makes me feel a bit strange writing that. I can’t quite believe its been 7 years. So i’ll set the scene for you that led me to eventually entering that studio.
I had always been the child my parents were a little worried about. I’d been a slightly troublesome child in my teenage years and shall we say and my mother had been ever so concerned about me just upping and leaving my job, my university course and well my whole life, to hop on a plane to Australia, without any real reason. My reason? I just wanted a change, I wanted to get away. I was tired of education. I was tired of working. I was tired of my life. I had three jobs at the time, I was an assistant manager at a pub, a cocktail waitress at a bar and an admin girl in a solicitors, all while being (pretending to be) a student in University. When I say pretending to be I wasn’t really attending. Though I was technically a student. So I would work a couple of days a week in the solicitors, a couple of evenings / days a week at the pub and Friday and Saturday evenings in the bar. In between working, I was out: drinking. Thats just what I did. I worked, I went out, I drank, I stayed out longer, I drank some more, I slept (minimally) and I went back to work. Needless to say I must not have been a very good employee, but some how I was always a pretty hard worker (or so I thought), I’ve always liked being busy. Eventually the lifestyle had gotten the better of me, I was tired and I was unhappy. So I did what any 20 year old fed up girl would do, I used my student loan and I hopped on a plane to Australia. Impulse has always been my thing.
When I travelled there, somehow, I seemed to end up in a similar situation, partying too much, working too much but on top of that I was in a pretty unhealthy relationship. Being the strong independent woman that I am haha it might be hard to believe this but I was pretty shy at the time ( I still am actually), and I was put into a hostel room with 5 Irish boys, I didn’t speak to anybody for the first 5 days of my time there. (For anybody who knows me personally it was actually Emma and her partner at that time that recommended this hostel, funny how the world works). Anyway one day one guy did speak to me, to cut a long story short we ended up together, i’ll be brief on the details but I wasn’t happy in the relationship, it is true what they say about having to love yourself before you can love somebody else, my self esteem was very low and lets just say that was taken advantage of.
After about 6 months, I ended up landing an amazing job as an Au Pair with a beautiful family, I never appreciated it as much as I should have at the time but they changed my life, it was there that I started to eat vegetables (really I wouldn’t eat a vegetable prior to that and I was 20 years old). Not only that but the Mum of the family had advised me to go to Yoga, I tell a slight lie when saying this was my first yoga class, I had definitely done some sort of yoga before but I think it was just a gym class.
Anyway, I decided to give it a go. It was winter at the time while I was in Australia, raining a lot of the time and very cold. while I was working as an Au Pair for the family, I was also working in their cafe part time too. The cafe was really close to the families home, up a really steep hill, like really steep, so I would walk home often in the cold and rain up this hill and it always seemed like such a struggle. One day after my shift, I decided to take myself along to a class, before my ‘dreaded’ walk home. To begin with, I got lost (I always get lost) I couldn’t find the studio anywhere, when I eventually arrived I was in a very flustered state. I was a yoga studio virgin, I did my best to go unnoticed and popped myself onto a mat. looking around the room in awe of others, especially in awe of the teacher. She was glowing, radiant and smiling at everybody. The room was very cold I remember that but once we got moving, I was sweating so here’s my inner dialog:
‘oh my god this is so hard’
‘why are my wrist hurting so bad’
‘whats a sacrum’
‘is that another language’
‘am I supposed to be sweating this much’
‘am I standing out, I’m getting everything wrong’
‘what did she say, look at her and see’ *looks up* ‘eek she’s not doing anything’
‘oh my god she wants us to go in pairs i have to talk to somebody’
‘oh wow how did she do that’
‘that girl beside me is so good at this’
‘what is this aum’
The wrist pain is one of the biggest things I remember and my palms slipping, they just WOULD NOT stay in place. Then a student beside me asked why that happens, the teacher replied and said ‘the palms are connected to the heart meridian line and when the heart is heavy and needs to release this will come out through the palms’ now listen believe what ever you want of that, but at this time, my heart was broken, I had a boyfriend, but it was toxic, I was sad and heavy in my heart. When I heard her say that I was like ‘wow, that’s why that’s happening’. The funniest thing I can reflect on now is the *aum* chant at the beginning of the class. If you attend my class you will know I ALWAYS begin and end with an AUM, but then I thought it was hilarious, I had to hold my laughter in as the whole room hummed this sound that I had no interest in joining in, I thought ‘that was weird’. I got through the class, with some tumbles sore wrist and sweaty palms and a little bit of inner laugher at the end. I was all a bit of a whirl, to be honest my recollection of it isn’t that great, but I remember walking home at the end of class, up that dreaded hill, late at night in the dark and absolute awful rain, and I had this big smile on my face. It is difficult for me to explain the feeling I felt, only to say that I hadn’t experienced it before, or I hadn’t experienced it for a long time. something had shifted.
Needless to say I continued to attend the class as often as I could, one of the days at the end of the class there was an optional meditation class at the end from a ‘white witch’. Again I was like ‘this is a bit weird isn’t it’ : I stayed anyway, now I am the one meditating every morning and looking into witching practices.
I would love this to be a happily ever after story, its not some how partying won over yoga for a while again, but once the practice had entered my life all these small shifts and changes started to happen, from turning vegetarian then vegan, to aligning with people who taught me things, to then meeting a girl who was going to do her yoga teacher training in India (the same training I ended up doing). Life started to get weird in the most beautiful and interesting way, and it is been a bumpy and difficult road to get where I am today, this blog is already too long to start covering all that. I thought it important to share with you my first yoga class and let you know ‘every master was once a disaster’. I didn’t wake up one day, as a non drinking, non smoking, vegan, reasonably successful yoga teacher, with a daily practice and beautiful life. It all started there, in that cold room in Avalon Sydney, the class that first taught me how to do a downward dog properly, the class that taught me about how emotions can effect us physically, the class that first taught me the beauty and importance of the spine, the class that I had no idea what was going on but the class the ultimately changed my life.
Yoga is who you are, it is a deep connection to self, it is not important really what brings you to the practice, my only advice is just start, it doesn’t have to make sense, just go along, find that inner smile, you won’t regret it.
Keep on healing,