When I first started out on this journey I didn’t really know what to expect. Although I had a lingering thought in the back of my mind that teaching yoga was something I wanted to explore, it really came down to a ‘fuck it’ moment on my 30th birthday.
After quitting my job I had a month to prepare for teacher training. I’ll admit I had a few wobbly moments during that time – after all, my life changed dramatically overnight. No longer was I planning events, pitching stories and, let’s face it, schmoozing journalists in an abundance of stylish hotels. Now I was spending all my time at home, without an income, on my own with nothing to do and no one to see.
I’d spent years dreaming of having free time but once I’d quit my job I soon discovered that free time was scary. On a particularly cold January night, as I scrubbed sweat off the yoga mats at my local yoga studio where I worked, I suddenly felt very overwhelmed at the gravitas of what I had done. I’d said goodbye to a successful career and was starting out all over again. Luckily those feelings quickly passed and before I knew it I was on the plane to Thailand.
The idea of going to Thailand was far scarier than the reality. I’m someone who has always envisioned myself travelling the world with just a backpack and my dreams to carry me along, but somehow it never happened. So heading out to Thailand to train to become a yoga teacher was both petrifying and exhilarating.
Something that stood out to me immediately was just how many like-minded people were on the course. You see, I’m not your typical yogi – I like high heels, makeup, reality TV and an abundance of carbs. I’m not particularly philosophical in my approach to life and the more spiritual side of yoga can sometimes intimidate me (there, I said it). But my fellow trainees on the course were friendly, non-judgmental and supportive. In fact, most of them were just like me.
We couldn’t have come from more different walks of life – from all over the world, of different ages, shapes, sizes and all with very different reasons for coming on teacher training. But from the moment we met we bonded and, even now, six weeks after the course has finished, I still feel incredibly close to my fellow trainees. I’ve met people I never would have got to know in any other circumstance and it’s special.
The course itself was hard. Contrary to the image portrayed on my Instagram feed, it wasn’t a month spent lounging around on the beach. In fact I’ve never worked so hard at something in my adult life. If you want to graduate you have to be prepared to listen, to throw yourself in and to study. And then study some more. Many teacher training courses teach you how to be good at yoga, but this course has a key difference…it teaches you how to teach. By the time you graduate you understand how to command a class, making sure every single person in the room feels safe and has your attention. If you want spiritual enlightenment then this isn’t the course for you – although you spend time studying different school’s of thought and philosophies, Absolute’s approach is practical and comes from a health and fitness standpoint.
Something else which surprised me about the course was myself. I can often be a closed book, very smily and warm on the outside, but not one to open up about my feelings easily. However in Thailand I had no control over my emotions. I cried…a lot. I let my fellow trainees see a vulnerable side to my personality that only my family see. At times I felt very emotionally exposed but there was a feeling of freedom in opening up this way.
At the beginning of the course, during a session where we all got to know each other, I said that I was hoping to find my voice during my time in Thailand. At the time of finishing the course I wasn’t sure if I had, but six weeks later and two weeks in to my teaching career I am definitely finding it. I now teach hot yoga five times a week and when I’m in the room I feel in control and confident. It’s a confidence I’ve never had before, I love it!
That’s not to say everything is perfect. I’ve only just begun my journey in yoga, it will take me years of dedication to be the teacher I want to be, and I still have to work out how on earth to spend my time outside of the studio. But when I think about the past six months I have no regrets. I’m excited about the future and am looking forward to achieving more balance in my life. Sometimes we have to take a giant leap of faith to find happiness, and I’m pleased to say this is one leap which is truly paying off…and then some.