A Yoga Teacher Is Born!
For reasons unknown to me I hadn’t shared quite so publicly that I was becoming a yoga instructor, or that over the last 7 months I have dedicated many long weekends to this endeavour. Between the actual in-class training, regular practice, and reading books and articles on the topic, I have been pretty immersed in everything yoga. Most of my close family and friends are aware, as they have so kindly worked events and get-togethers around my schedule, but for whatever reason I wasn’t ready to share this story with the world at large.
I hadn’t put too much thought into it until recently as I approach the final weeks of the training course, wondering ‘what am I going to do with all of this knowledge?’ Obviously, if I planned to teach or be involved in the yoga world, at some point I would have to formally introduce myself to it. So here I am world, Kelly Spanik, yoga teacher at large!
To put it simply, it has been quite the journey, of the mind, the body, the spirit. There were times I was so elated, my eager mind open and absorbing the details and intricacies of the vastness of yoga. Other times I was completely overwhelmed feeling like I was collecting puzzle pieces, but couldn’t figure out how to put it all together. There were moments I was peddle to the metal going full force plunging into everything with such open certainty, and just as quickly as I hit the gas there were times I came screeching to a halt resistant to coming out of my comfort zone. And there were some intense moments of soul searching in ways that I hadn’t quite expected.
Many times, both before and during the course, I asked myself, ‘am I really ready for this?’.
I had the urge and the desire, so what was holding me back from thinking I was ‘ready’? Pondering this answered not only the question as to why I thought I wasn’t ready but also why I hadn’t shared this amazing venture with the world. Despite my love of yoga and the hard work I had put in, I was still so worried about what people thought of me. Before all of this, I had an idea of what I THOUGHT a yogi would be and/or look like, and I didn’t fit the bill. I couldn’t handstand or put my legs behind my head like a human pretzel, on a flexible day I was lucky to touch my toes and I love steak. ‘Who would ever take me seriously as a yoga teacher?’ I had thought to myself.
What I quickly learned is you can take that picture of what you think a yogi is, perhaps that super thin, super flexi vegan yogi, and you can rip it up and throw it out the window. This image is a huge misconception about yoga, and is perhaps one of the things that deter people from yoga and think it ‘isn’t for them’. Yoga is for everyone. Everybody is different and every body is different. It is great to aspire to those intricate and advanced poses that defy gravity, but they aren’t the end game. Yoga is about feeling good. The strength, flexibility, self-awareness and even enlightenment often just become an amazing part of the journey.
For me, yoga became an integral part of my life as a way to ease anxiety, de-stress and let go of life’s worries. The more I did yoga, the more I realized that there was a practice for every mood and every physical, mental and emotional need that I had. There is so much variety in the practice. There was yoga that would physically kick my ass leaving me a literal hot dripping mess, yoga that was complete relaxation with no more than 4 movements over an hour, yoga that felt like a cardio workout, yoga that was purely stretching, yoga that felt a lot like sleeping – and I loved them all! There really is so much to offer that there is a yoga practice for everyone, all you need to begin is a sense of curiosity, and the will to come out of that comfort zone just a little bit.
One of the greatest lessons I learned in my yoga training was to get over what I thought I should be, and just be who I am. Embrace my body with all its strengths and limitations. Look to find what feels good and the rest will fall in line with time. Advanced poses don’t just happen, they take time and practice. If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat (Eat Pray Love reference, man I love that movie). Some days you may get there, others you may not. Some poses may not be in the realm of possibility, and that is okay. It is okay!
So, after seven months I still can’t put my foot behind my head (do I even want to do this?) and I can’t do a headstand (I’m getting there!), but I know what good movement is and I know how to make yoga accessible, safe and most of all, feel amazing!
As I emerge into the yoga teaching world I want to share yoga in a way that is curious, light-hearted and fun. I don’t take myself so seriously and neither should you. Let’s just focus on feeling reallllly good.
As of the end of October I became an official graduate of the 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training – wahoo! Alas, jumping into the world of teaching will have to wait as I travel for the next four months in New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia. Over these next months I will continue to self-develop and work on my craft, but when I return in March 2018 I will be accepting clients for private, semi-private and small group offerings in the Halton/Hamilton region.
If you or someone you know is interested in exploring the world of yoga, send me a line – we can chat and see if we’re a nice fit!