Once we were settled in Tucson I looked for someplace to teach yoga. I joined a local tennis club and they allowed me to start a class in their common room. There were just a couple of ladies interested, but I didn’t care. I wanted so badly to teach seniors and they were giving me the opportunity. This class didn’t grow, but I was happy that somebody would sit in front of me and let me share what I knew. I went to health clubs and asked if they needed a yoga/stretch teacher and eventually worked in several different places. I was told at one club that they didn’t need a yoga teacher, but would I be interested in teaching water aerobics? I wanted to work so badly that I said yes even though I’d never done one water aerobics class myself and taught 6 classes a week for the next 3 years. I cannot tell you what fun it was to teach 30 seniors. They were a hoot! I wanted to have my own yoga classes and found a martial arts studio where I could teach in the mornings. Many of my students from classes at the local Parks and Recreations center followed me there and I had a lovely class for the next 3 years. I let it be known that I was willing to substitute and ended up working all over town in many different settings. It took almost 9 months but I managed to build up a solid yoga business.
I had always said that I wanted to return to university when I got back into the US. I started the application process and tried to find a degree that would support teaching yoga. There just wasn’t anything that appealed and as time went on I realized that every time I looked at those application papers, I got sick to my stomach. But every time I saw the ad for Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training I got so excited. After several months of soul searching I finally made the decision to follow my gut instinct and go for the PRYT training. This was a very difficult choice for Russell to accept and life was not pleasant for a while, but I just couldn’t NOT follow what I knew to be right. And I give Russell so much credit and appreciation for not trying to stop me. He controlled the finances and could have said he wouldn’t pay for it, but he didn’t.
The PRYT training was a five day course in San Francisco and then home study for a year with a midterm session of five days again in SF. The first training session was so intense for me. I had so much of my own “stuff” to work through and I spent almost every practice session crying. Let’s face it—I did a lot of crying through the whole training. I would sit in front of the computer and wail as I confronted my “stuff”. It was the hardest best thing I ever did. Once I was certified, I tried to build a practice but just couldn’t get it going. The only real practice I got was trading with other body workers, which was wonderful but not very lucrative. I didn’t realize at the time, but I wanted so badly to make an income and prove to Russell that my decision was the right one that I kept myself from being successful. I made some really bad mistakes by letting greed overcome me in the name of success. I owe a few people profound apologies for some of my actions. I did not know the concept of giving to receive. I also realized that I probably will never be a very good business person until I work through some of my “stuff” around money. (It is still a difficult area for me.)
Over the next couple of years I read tons of books on yoga and all things metaphysical. I also started using hypnotherapy tapes from Richard Sutphen. I attended workshops whenever I could and gradually built a good reputation as a yoga teacher and was asked to substitute quite often. I made many wonderful friends and was very happy with what I was learning. Russell did not understand any of this and never wanted to hear about anything I was doing. He just acted like it didn’t exist in his life. After a couple of years it finally came to a head and nearly caused a breakup, but calmer heads prevailed and we worked through it. As much as he was in denial that yoga was changing my life and becoming a huge part of it, I was becoming “super yogi bitch”. (Pretty much the same thing I went through when I became vegetarian.) There’s a point when you have to realize that these decisions don’t make you better or more spiritual than anyone else. Nobody thinks you’re special because you don’t eat meat—most think you’re an idiot. Teaching yoga doesn’t give you any special insight into life or human behavior. In short I had to climb down off my pedestal and figure out how to do all this and make it fit into the real world of everyday life and stop being “in your face” with my decisions.
I had come a long way, but had a really long way to go. It’s a good thing I didn’t know this or I’d have been so intimidated that I might have curled into a fetal position and stayed there.
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