When I was a little girl, my sister and I would scour my grandmother’s parsley patch searching for swallowtail caterpillars. Their vibrant yellows and greens stood out against their black stripes, making them easy to find to a child’s trained eye. Sometimes we would find them just as they were preparing to undergo metamorphosis. Their bodies would be arched in a specific way, like a solid crescent moon. On occasion, we would wait a few days before carefully breaking the plant at the bottom of the stem and transferring the cocoon to a jar. We would watch it everyday as it transformed before our curious eyes. After a few weeks, the chrysalis would begin to wiggle and a beautiful yellow swallowtail butterfly would emerge. We would watch her until she was strong enough to fly away.
I kind of feel like that butterfly right now. I’m not quite ready to emerge from my cocoon, but my wings are definitely forming.
I just submitted my availability for teaching community yoga classes this fall. Can you believe this is actually happening?! I am so proud I took this leap and made the decision to pursue my yoga teacher training. It was risky to try to put my life on hold in order to attend school full-time for an entire month, but I was committed to my Dharma, as we say. Things didn’t exactly go as planned leading up to the training, but there was no way I was going to let anything get in the way of this. I felt compelled to do this now and I am so grateful I listened to my ~ing and rolled with whatever came my way. The experience has been greater than I ever could have imagined.
I only have three days of in-class training left. This past month has been beautiful, frustrating, challenging, transformative, hard as fuck, exhausting and inspiring. I have pushed my body and my mind to and beyond limits I didn’t even know I had. I have laughed and cried and experienced the surfacing of emotions I wasn’t prepared for. I have met some incredibly beautiful souls and I have realized some things about yoga and yogis that I wasn’t conscious of before. I hope to write about some of these things in the months to come.
Tomorrow I’ll be teaching a short sequence to my class and I’m scared and nervous, but mostly excited. Yoga has always pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It made me challenge the beliefs I held about myself and my body, forced me to confront the things that plagued me, and dared me to see what would happen if I let these things go. Yoga told me to close my eyes and take a deep inhale and exhale and when I finally truly opened them I saw the world differently. I saw myself differently. I saw my place in the world differently.
Yoga has led me to this point in my life where I will stand at the front of the room and put everything I’ve been practicing to the test. I will have to listen to my heart and shut off the lies my mind tells me about what I am and am not capable of. I will allow myself to be vulnerable and strong because I know, like the butterfly, I can be both at the same time. I will continue to be a student while also serving as a teacher and a leader, a far cry from the nervous wreck who used to park her mat in the back corner of the room in hopes that no one would see her. I will remind myself that I have earned this and that I deserve to be at the front of the room. I will own the space I take up with pride and authenticity. I will remember to breathe.
My yoga teacher Kathryn Beet said to us yesterday, “Congratulations! On Friday your journey doesn’t come to an end; it begins.”
And isn’t that so true? I really do feel like things are just beginning for me. It is only now, at 29, that I am beginning to understand myself and to find my voice. My wings. While I am sad that my first yoga teacher training is winding down, I am excited to see where it takes me. Yoga told me to trust it and I’m so glad I listened. It has yet to lead me astray.
I have so much more to say about this, but alas I must prepare for my teaching tomorrow. If you have any tips for someone who is about to emerge from her yoga teacher training cocoon, please comment below. How beautiful is it that we can be caterpillars and butterflies at the same time?
Thank you and Namaste.