When I was a teenager, I went to my first yoga class. I already had back issues due to scoliosis and my mum thought it would be a great idea to give it a try. I hated it.
I was used to doing movements that my physiotherapist had taught me, so I carried on with that form of fitness therapy. Let me tell you now that I have never been great at sports. I have a long thin body and my clumsiness couldn’t have helped less (especially at games involving a ball!). My back was causing me a lot of pain each time I was skipping my physio exercises but I found them boring. I was looking for new entertaining ways to get stronger. This is when I discovered Pilates. Pilates seemed to be a great way to strengthen my back and have fun. I was watching videos online and going to a few classes here and there.
At 27, I quit my job in Paris and went backpacking solo through South-East Asia. I was going through a lot emotionally and I was ready to try new things. In the middle of the exploring and partying, I found Yoga again. During my 4 months of travels I went to as many classes that were on my road as I could. I tried different styles with very different teachers coming from diverse countries and cultures. Most of the time, I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I was having a lot of fun but also felt a sort of embarrassment. I found myself to be quite clumsy and most of all my flexibility was close to zero. I couldn’t touch my ankles bending forward while most other yogis were folding into two or at least touching their feet. I also had in my head memories of all the names I used to be called when I was younger (stick, giraffe etc) . I didn’t care much, after all I was far away, and didn’t take yoga very seriously, but, I kinda felt like it would never really be for me.
After traveling through Asia, I decided to try settle in Australia. I didn’t have many friends at first so going to Yoga seemed like a good activity for me. I found a lot of comfort in Yoga then. I felt very lonely and I was struggling with my visa situation. Yoga brought me positive energy and my body was starting to move with more ease. I was finally enjoying a good stretch and seeing some progress. I was getting more and more into it, but always without taking it very seriously (not that it should).
One day, while washing my hair, I collapsed in the shower. My back was completely seized. I couldn’t breath without pain. I struggled to get out of the bathroom and crawled to my bed. I was crying with pain, completely panicked with what was happening. I had never experienced that kind of pain and immobility. A friend came to help, I took painkillers and the next day went to the closest physiotherapist. I was reassured that nothing was serious at all. Just my old scoliosis reminding me that I am not Wonder Woman. At the time, I was juggling two, sometimes three jobs. A few weeks of skipping my back exercises and here I was, feeling a hundred years old… That’s when I decided to take better care of myself.
When I left Australia (my work Visa not leading anywhere) and started a career in yachting, I went on doing my own Yoga-Pilates practice by myself. Being on the water I had very few opportunities of joining classes. It was good enough to maintain a healthy back and became the best way for me to find some peace.
Three years ago, I went to Nicaragua, again by myself. The little hotel where I chose to stay by Playa Maderas, offered Yoga classes in the morning. There, by the ocean, I needed to recharge my batteries and find balance. I guess that’s why I enjoyed the Yoga so much! I looked up at the teacher. She was about my age and was on a solo-journey. I felt some kind of a revelation. I wanted to feel as free and happy as all those yoga teachers I met on my travels. I wanted to feel as happy on holidays as in everyday life.
Going back to work, I decided to make Yoga part of my life for good. I started feeling pride and respect for a practice often perceived as an activity for hippies. Some of my colleagues started to be interested in what I was doing on the deck of the boat. They all had tense bodies and were suffering from stress (yachting is not a walk in the park as you may imagine). I had no idea how to explain Yoga to others but I enjoyed sharing my practice.
Three months ago, I made the decision to go on a Yoga Teacher Training course. I was terrified. I really wanted to understand Yoga better, practice correct sequences and learn the poses right. But I didn’t feel legitimate being called a Yoga Teacher yet. Reality was that I was already being asked by friends and family members to do Yoga with them. So in a way I was already teaching, and I was very scared of harming anyone with an incorrect move. I owed it to others as much as to myself to practice Yoga correctly. So it was with a lot of doubts and fear (will I be able to, will I look stupid, will others be way better and so on) that I signed for the retreat. I have learnt so much more than I thought I would. The fear transformed into fire, that I used to overcome the boundaries I had set for myself.
It’s been one month since I received my certification. Filled with motivation and fresh knowledge I am ready to share my practice with more confidence. I know that through teaching I will learn a lot more.