Flexible? No. Spiritual? Not really. Physically fit? Definitely not!
It all started with a Christmas photo. This photo showed every angle and shadow of my 252-lb body.
At the time I was nearing 23 years old with no job, no care for my health and certainly not for special hobbies. I just considered myself a small blip in this massive universe, running through the daily motions of life. Which in my case consisted of chips and T.V.
This photo changed my view of myself. It’s not like I did not see myself in the mirror everyday. I knew I was unhealthy, that was no secret! But nonetheless, a light bulb went off. Did I really want to live this way for the rest of my life?
So it began! I started walking, watched my portions and joined the gym. The first few steps to a new me! Things were going smoothly, and after successfully losing 30 lbs. in my first 3 months, I was starting to feel better about myself. Even though my passion was still lagging behind.
How I Stumbled Upon Yoga
During a search on Youtube for some at-home workouts I came across a Tara Stiles video. I thought “Ok, a little stretching will do me some good!” A little stretch was the understatement of the year! After stumbling through the 10 minute “gentle” video, I was huffing and puffing and legs shaking. I discovered muscles being worked that I did not know existed (despite months at the gym)!
I was eager to try more, so everyday I practiced online for 10 minutes, and after a week or so, I noticed my strength progressing. I increased to 30 minutes and started practicing with Sadie Nardini online.
After a month, I felt stronger, and my head felt clearer. I was beginning to see why everyone was talking about this Yoga thing. Yoga was providing me with tools and guidance that I did not even know I needed until they came.
The gym helped me transform my body, but Yoga changed my life.
I developed a daily practice and attended classes once a week. I was a Yogi! I was developing a zest for life and a passion to do something with it.
Fast forward 2 years later…another turning point. Another light bulb, but instead of a photo, it was my sweaty yoga mat after a delicious Vinyasa Class. I want to do this. I want others to feel what Yoga can do. I wanted to pay it forward, so I did something both terrifying and exhilarating...I joined Yoga Teacher Training.
Could I afford it at the time? Not really. Was I scared? Hell yes! Was I going to let anything stop me? Hell no! The old me would have ran and hid under the covers by now.
Yoga Teacher Training
When fellow YTT graduates and yoga teachers told me that Teacher Training would be life-changing, I was a tad skeptical. Would we not be studying anatomy and proper alignment all day? Wrong! In training, you are an onion. Slowly you begin to peel, layer by layer, and learn things about yourself that you did not even know were inside of you. There were momentous breakthroughs, ‘Aha!’ moments and probably a tear or two. It is life-changing in the most beautiful way!
Yoga Teacher Training not only changed my life and my personal practice, but it validated even more how passionate I am about this. How eager I am to help guide others into and through their yoga journey. Anatomy and proper alignment was only one of the many layers of teacher training.
As I am nearing graduation, I continue to be surprised. I never would have imagined myself here 5 years ago. Yoga did not save my life, it gave me a new one!
by Cathy Benjamin - Cathy is a soon to be YTT graduate, a lover of animals, a green tea-drinking bookworm, an auntie, a Canadian, a music lover, a singer (only in the shower), a board game player, and a movie connoisseur. Connect with Cathy on Twitter and follow her on Instagram.
Want to contribute as a member of the DoYouYoga community too? Submit your article right here!