The Truth About Life (and Yoga Teacher Training)

A lot of you know my story, but in case you don't, it's relevant for this blog post so here's the Cliff's Notes version:

- I graduated with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2009. Upon graduation I immediately told my mom that I thought I'd be bored of this career in 5-10 years. I'm sure she loved hearing that after spending far too much on that fancy degree.

- I moved to San Diego with an outpatient, orthopedic physical therapy job. Cue hating it and quitting within 9 months. Next came working for a hospital, starting a cash only private practice and personal training business, going back to outpatient, and finally switching to a "career" in home health. 6 jobs. 6 years. Here we are in 2015. 

- I cut to part time at my home health job and starting coaching runners, thinking that was the next job transition. In that time I was offered a space in Buddhi Yoga's 200 hour intensive yoga teacher training, which I took. Honestly, I thought I'd deepen my own practice and then maybe teach some yoga for runners in conjunction with run coaching.

- Fast forward a year and a half and now I find myself teaching 7-12 studio yoga classes per week, one yoga for runners class, coaching a few run clients, and teaching anatomy for yoga teachers at upwards of twelve yoga teacher trainings in and around San Diego. I'm currently prepping for two retreats next year, more anatomy sessions, co-facilitating a 200 hour teacher training, and developing an anatomy certification - all set to happen in 2017.

Looks fairly straightforward (ha). A few career changes but all in all, a success. Right? But something is missing from the above: the challenges.

In the past almost eight years I've struggled with both successes and failures. It felt successful to graduate with a job, but then quickly like a failure when I realized I didn't actually love that thing I spent years studying to become. It felt successful when I had a six figure salary and bought a house before the age of thirty, but like an epic failure knowing that I wasn't happy, I wasn't as fit as I wanted to be, I was in a relationship I greatly disliked, and I dreaded going to work most mornings. It felt successful to be so incredibly inspired in yoga teacher training, to begin to teach and to find my voice and confidence, but I felt like a failure when comparing my income, my financial abilities, and my uncertain future to my peers and friends going down different paths.

There have been moments of flow, of ease, in the past eight years, but none of it has been easy. And I still (by no means) have it figured out, but I've learned a few things along the way. 

1. This is life. Life is FULL of ups, downs, and sideways. Moments of moving forward, moments of feeling stuck, and moments of wondering where the fuck you're going.

2. We only get one life. To me that has meant quit the job, dump the toxic relationship, change the diet, take running seriously, leave behind friends that don't work for you. It also has meant seek out those who inspire you, do what makes you happy, find how you can be of service to others and offer yourself.

3. There will be a handful of moments in your life where what you decide to do will change your future. This is where yoga teacher training comes into play. Some of those moments, for me, include:

- 16 year old Lauren deciding to go to school 3000 miles away, in Boston, for physical therapy.

- Graduating and deciding to move 3000 more miles away to San Diego.

- Starting November Project (ahhhh how BIG this ended up being, a blog post of it's own). 

- Quitting my corporate job, and in the same breath...

- Saying YES to yoga teacher training, when there were so many reasons I could have said no.

It would be easy to say that yoga teacher training spawned my new career path and that's why it has been such an influential turning point in my life. But that's not at all it. I've always felt that I will be successful in whatever I choose to do, so if it wasn't yoga it would be something else (I wouldn't be nearly as happy, but that's beside the point). But the reality is that I didn't have the framework to view life through anything remotely close to a calm, centered lens before yoga teacher training (even though I had been practicing yoga for over a decade). I was reactive. I got caught up in believing that having money/looks/status/belongings equaled happiness. That if I or it wasn't perfect, than it (or I) wasn't good enough. That life was about the destination, not the journey.

Going through a teacher training taught me more about myself than it did about yoga. It allowed me to soften by inner critic, to step outside of my head and observe the madness instead of being the madness. It gave me tools to cultivate love (of myself and others) and to find joy in the scary, the uncertain, and the different. It awakened a sense of confidence in myself that I hadn't felt in a long time. And most importantly, it reminded me that all of that takes practice and IS a practice. 

So if a yoga teacher training has been on your radar, your 5 year plan, your bucket list, or in your day dreams - as a career goal, a personal goal, or just as something fun to do - I encourage it. Not because you'll make money as a yoga teacher (you can, it's not easy to do), or you'll change lives if you teach yoga (you will, most importantly your own), or your life will transform into the glamorous world traveler type (it might, but only if you want it to), but because you'll discover something so deep about yourself that your future path will be forever altered. 

I'm looking forward to being a part of your transformation, as you become part of mine.

- Co- facilitating with Jon Old-Rowe, Nazli Takesh, and Kelly Collins at Spirit Yoga Studios: January 18 - April 15, 2017.

Please reach out to me with questions about teacher training, how to choose, which to choose, and how to know if it is time for you.