200 Hours: A Yoga Teacher Journey Just Beginning

The last post I put up on this blog was when I started a 6 week self-study, called Empowerment and Beyond.  The author and facilitator of this self-study is the owner of the yoga studio I began to call my second home after moving to Towson, MD in August, Sid McNairy of Sid Yoga.  One of the instructors who’s class I took regularly, Gabby, messaged me on Facebook and encouraged me to consider doing the self-study.  After some deep thought about the things I really needed in my life, I decided to go for it.  Those 6 weeks taught me about standing in my foundation, giving up control, awakening the person I truly am, going with the flow and so, so much more.  The shifts I made in my life over those 6 weeks were immense.  I truly believed that nothing would ever change my life the way that program did.  I was wrong.

About a month and a half after I last posted, I was told about an opportunity to submit a video at an event the studio was having called “Living the Dream”.  The video needed to be about my  11084295_10100721556352418_3181494906246554483_n  dream of becoming a yoga teacher & would be posted to social media and voted on, in order to win a scholarship for a 200 hour yoga teacher training at Sid Yoga, with Sid.  I had been talking about wanting to become certified for almost a year, but kept pushing it off due to expenses and “what-ifs”.  Thanks to the encouragement of some of the amazing teachers at the studio, as well as help & support from family and friends I decided to go for it.  The event was a full day yoga immersion with classes and goal setting workshops, surrounded by the amazing People of Sid Yoga.  My video was posted and within 24 hours I received notification that I had won the scholarship (by the way, this all still seems immensely surreal to me).

“Now is your time to step up to the next level and begin your teaching! Get ready to go, this will be an awesome beginning to a powerful life.  Congratulations on being accepted to the 200 hour Sid Yoga Teacher Training program for Spring 2015.  You have been accepted to a program that will allow you to unfold and develop your true authentic teaching. Know this is a forever growing process and you are going to be a huge part of the community so get ready to go beyond where you think you are. This is truly a great opportunity to be empowered and empower others to reach new heights in the world.  We look forward to helping each of you establish a strong power within. Get ready for an amazing ride!”

That was the beginning of the email that began a life changing process for me. Amazing ride was an understatement.  200 hours: 10 weeks total, 7 weekend intensives, a second 6 week self-study, many sweaty classes, amazing lessons from awesome Sid Yoga teachers on fact vs. story, assisting, the art of connection, intuition, yoga philosophy, anatomy, nutrition, breath work, meditation – and, of course, endless hours of learning to teach a class – and not just teach a class, but to touch the lives of the people on their mats while teaching.  Please note, while this paragraph touches on everything I’ve learned … it doesn’t come close to doing this program10405546_10100763447791638_5207231932126493956_n or these topics justice.  

To be honest, there were a few weekends I showed up, felt tired, felt a little lost and every now and again a little sad that there were things I was “missing out on”.  The amazing power of getting clear, and surrounding myself with people who truly cared and supported me, helped me snap out of those moments and continue in my growth of finding the “strong power within” promised in that email. Every weekend proved to be an amazing ride.  Every weekend raised me up to a new level of me.  I left, every weekend, thinking there was no way the next weekend could top the last, and every weekend I was wrong.  I learned a lot of really important things – most of which weren’t out of books, but instead from experience and questioning those experiences.

My second day of teacher training, a passage was read at the end of class.  The passage was all about resentments and how “when we allow resentments to brew and fester, we send negative, mean, hurtful, spiteful energy to others”.  It read, “Remember, when we harbor hate, jealousy, or rage, we connect to others in ways that hurt us all.  Let’s set others free.  Let’s release our resentments.  Along the way, we’ll set ourselves and our hearts free, too” (Melody Beattle- Journey to the Heart).  I remember thinking to myself, “This is it – this is my time to let go of everything holding me12915_642958742503920_2441097372742970637_n back.  This is my time to let go of resentments towards myself, of resentments towards others – and just start over.  THIS is my time”.   During my 200 hours, every weekend, I did everything I could to grow out of resentment.  When I felt it, I acknowledged it and spoke freely about it – then Sid would ask me questions and encourage me think about it from other perspectives until I was clear from it.  He encouraged me to release the feelings of “I’m wrong for thinking this way” or “Others are wrong for acting this way”, and just accept whatever it was and continue on from it.  As frustrating as it could get sometimes, it was the most freeing experience I had ever been through.  To be able to say, out loud, how I felt and not be judged for it – but, instead, encouraged to grow from it … THAT’S what this training was all about. 

I’ve fought an inner battle of “am I good enough” for a large portion of my life.  Instead of being satisfied with an accomplishment I’ve made, I’ve always questioned if they were good enough and if I could do anything to make it better.  This training brought me to a place that helped me realize that everything I have done was supposed to happen, however it happened – and that everything I want to do, I can will to happen.  It helped me realize that I AM GOOD ENOUGH for whatever it is I want to be good enough for.  If I sent my mind to making something happen, if I put something into the Universe, it will happen.  I am good enough.  This training taught me self-love.  It taught me the importance of loving who I am, and taking care of myself so that I can spread that same energy to everyone else around me.  If I believe I am good enough, I can help others see that THEY are good enough.  I can help change people’s lives by helping them see their true potential.  I can do all of that by getting them to their mat and relating their practice to their lives.  THAT is what this training was all about.

I could go on for days – weeks – months – probably years about this training, but I’ll spare anyone who’s made it this far.  This training has changed my life … and there’s only more to come.  Need your life changed?  Consider this.

I’d like to end this entry the way we ended each of our training sessions (and the way I end all of my days now)- with gratitude.   

  • Thank you so much to Sid for the amazing space you have given us to practice and learn in every day.  Thank you for taking time out to teach us all of the amazing lessons we have learned over the last 10 weeks.  Thank you for showing me how to open my mind and learn from my past, in order to grow for my present and future.  Thank you for believing in me and seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself.  Thank you for believing I was good enough, and teaching me to see it in myself.  Know that everything you have shared with me has landed and will come with me everywhere I go.  Your book, your classes, your lessons, your words and your energy have changed my life in a way I never thought possible.  Thank you for being you.
  • Thank you to Liz and Gabby who both encouraged me to go for things that I probably would never have done on my own, from Empowerment & Beyond to Teacher Training.  I have admired the both of you since I started coming to classes at the studio back in September, but I had no idea how you would both change my life.  I can’t thank you both enough for your motivating and inspiring classes, the words you have shared with me, and your endless encouragement. Gabby, Empowerment & Beyond wasn’t even a thought in my mind before you reached out to me on Facebook.  I didn’t think I was in a place in my life to do it, but you did.  That recommendation has taken me on a path that I didn’t even know could exist for me, and I feel so blessed to have met you.  Liz, to know that I now have the ability to learn more from you as a mentor is even more of a surreal feeling than I can describe.  You were the one who told me about the video entry for Living the Dream, and if it weren’t for that I probably never would have gone for it.  I am so glad that I get to learn more from you, and I can’t wait to see what is to come.
  • To all of the additional teachers who came in and hosted workshops and spent their weekends with our teacher training group, know that each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart.  Diana, your energy, smile and laugh are infectious – and I am so grateful we got to spend so much time with you over training.  I will never forget to “fully commit, or get out” because of you – and hopefully my assists are great because of it :).  Jackie, you are the queen of “tell it like it is” and being real.  I admire you, so much for that and I am so grateful for all of your advice throughout training (on life, and training).  David, my quest to end the banana back truly appreciates your anatomy weekend 🙂 – thank you so much for everything you brought to us!!  Crystal, I really appreciate the time you spent with us not only for philosophy weekend, but also in regards to nutrition.  I am so grateful for your words, your kindness and your understanding and your ability to help me grow in ways that I have been stuck for a long time.
  • I’m so grateful for all of the other teacher trainee programs we intersected with – Phase 2, and 300 hr.  Getting to know each of you was a blessing and I’m loving following all of your journeys!
  • To my fellow teacher trainees, Nate, Lisa, Basirah, Emily, Anna and Angela (we love you).  Each and every one of you brought something amazing to our group, and I have learned something from all of you throughout these last 10 weeks together.  I am a firm believer that we were all placed together for a reason, and I can’t wait to see where this takes all of you (I know for sure I’ll be visiting Kentucky and California sometime in the not so distant future).   The endless laughs from this group made it so easy to be around you every weekend – between awkward assist learning, crow-time go-time (Emily, you better copyright that haha), endless expressions of food cravings (Nate & Lisa),  Tinkerbell moments (Anna), and so many more moments – I am so grateful for all of you.  Thank you all for being you, and accepting me – this training wouldn’t have been the same without all of you.
  • To my amazing friends, (especially my beautiful big sister, Kate) thank you for understanding how important this was to me and accepting me missing out on some big things so I could complete this.  I’m so, amazingly lucky to have friends, who are more like family, like you in my life and please know I will make it up to you :).
  • To my family, immediate and extended, who were an endless support system throughout all of training – I’m not sure there are appropriate words I can use to express my gratitude for the actions and kind words you have shared with me during this training.  My love for my family grows more each and every day because of all of you ❤ .

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More to come as my journey continues…

This is my life… In progress.







Overcoming Life’s Brick Wall: Insecurity

“In order to go forward in life, your foundation must be built with balance and security.”

– Sid McNairy

“Empowerment & Beyond”

On a daily basis, the amount of people who make choices based off of what other people may think about those specific choices is remarkable.  Those choices can be about varied items; what to eat, how you dress, what your hair looks like, the type of music you listen to, or the way you respond to certain things.

This is more of a personal post, and I hope that what I share helps someone else see this in them, which in turn helps them grow from it.

screen-shot-2013-03-28-at-1-23-47-pmI’m currently embarking on this 6 week self- study journey, called Empowerment & Beyond, at the yoga studio I belong to (Sid Yoga)- and I’m coming to a close of my first week.  The chapter that I read this week has left me questioning a lot of things about how I see myself – which is what has led me to this post.

Where do insecurities come from?  Constantly, we blame other people for how we look at ourselves.  We say things like “the media designs societal expectations” and “people say things that hurt our feelings and make us feel badly about ourselves” – which, is all true.  The thing that we don’t often think about is how we can overcome all of that – how we can bypass all of the negative words and messages and just be happy with who we are.  It IS possible.  It’s terrifying, but it’s possible.

I have LOTS of insecurities.  I continuously worry about what my hair looks like (..it’s REALLY thin on the sides – like, REALLY thin, and I’ve always tried to hide that), I worry about my body type (..the way I look has never been good enough- ever), I worry about saying things that are going to sounds stupid in a room full of people (..what if it’s just not good enough?).  That’s just a few to name – I could go on for days.

During the last week I’ve made a pact with myself to fight the fear of what other people will think, and just allow myself to be comfortable in my own skin.  For the first time in almost 5 years (if not more), I allowed myself to go workout AND go to work with my hair pulled up, with no headband on – hiding the fact that my hair is the way it is.  I’m sure some of you have no idea how terrifying that is for me – especially because it adds to my fear of my body image … but, it has been TERRIFYING.  The fight that goes on in my head about what people are saying ab1493out it is a rough one (Will people think less of me? … If they thought I was pretty, do they still, etc.) … BUT the point is, that I’m doing it.  As human beings, we’re creatures of habit – and once you make something a habit, you adjust and it becomes the new normel.  So, while this is uncomfortable and nerve-wracking now, maybe one day I will adjust – but, I’ve got to start somewhere, right?  I’m hoping that this little (kind of big) step for me will lead me to being brave about other things.

My point in sharing this goes back to the quote that I typed out at the top of this entry, “In order to go forward in life, your foundation must be built with balance and security”.  I started thinking about the fact that if I’m going to let little insecurities hinder me, like what my hair looks like, how am I going to make the bigger decisions in life?  How is that forming a good foundation … for myself, or for my future?

When we’re younger, we have the mindset that we can overcome anything – that we’re invincible – and, as we grow we allow things to poison our mind.  Last night, in a class, my yoga instructor said that as females we must work on lifting ourselves up and making ourselves stronger – which reminded me of this video #LikeAGirl by Always (if you haven’t watched it, you MUST – I hyperlinked it, which makes it SUPER easy for you). Taking in the empowerment statements made at the end of class last night, plus watching this video, and participating in the self-study just goes to show that there are so many things we can be doing for ourselves to ring out the negativity and help us let go of the insecurity.  The word used constantly at the studio for a life change is “shift” – and I’ve decided that I’m ready for a shift in life.  I’m ready to stop being so concerned with the noise and start being content with who I am – all of me – and where I am, at any given point.

It may not happen in a day, but I’m beyond ready to knock down my own brick wall of insecurity – and I challenge everyone else to do the same.  It’s up to you – and only you.

This is my life… In Progress,