Thanks to a wonderful person named Kate, I was introduced to yoga in Bali, and to the Yoga Barn, in Ubud in early 2010, at the end of the M.P. Before that, though, I had started to absorb all things Asian, from collecting buddhas, to wanting to move there. Yoga seemed like a natural progression, as I continued to embrace Asian culture.
When we returned to the US in 2010, I joined the Washington Sports Club. I attempted to do cardio a few times a week, while tricking myself into staying on the machine longer by watching Keeping up the Kardashians and other trash television. I think this was how I was introduced to the show Hoarders as well. In the end, though, I absolutely hated doing cardio, no matter which machine I used, and no matter how I tried to entertain myself while trying to get through a full thirty minutes.
I tested out different classes at WSC, including classes called Body Pump and Total Body Conditioning, and I must have done about a thousand lunges. I knew I needed to lose weight, and get healthier, but I really despised every option WSC offered. I dabbled in the yoga offerings and although there were some good teachers there, it remained a very Western view of yoga. That was okay because I had a Western view as well. Things like Om and Namaste, and the Sanskrit names made me feel uncomfortable and out of place. After all, how could I get into a healthy yogic mindset when I was doing yoga in the kids club on a carpet littered with cookie crumbs while staring into the eyes of a Mr. Potato Head, or in a large gym room with the pounding music of a Spin class next door?
As I continued to get more comfortable with the Oms and such, I realized I needed some place that offered “real” yoga, not WSC-style yoga. I should have realized this from the start, with my love of all things “Eastern.” I started to search for local yoga studios. I found Tranquil Space, which changed everything.
Tranquil Space offered more Western style yoga classes while making the Eastern philosophies more accessible. The teachers were trained to run classes with some common themes, including adding readings to the class, leading the class in the Tranquil Space dedication, and suggesting students dedicate their practice. I started to feel more comfortable with the Oms and the Namastes. I started to learn the difference between Parsvakonasana and Trikonasana. I tried to schedule work around attending classes with Mary Catherine, Katie, Jen, Todd, and Lisa.
This sort of made sense. I was in the process of dispelling the notion of me as a tax attorney, and rejecting most things American. I was soaking up anything and everything Asian – spending most meals eating Thai, Indian, and Vietnamese. I dreamed of, and planned, a move to Vietnam. I was listening to the Zen station on the cable TV radio. I got a buddha tattoo. We carried three large buddha statues back from a Christmas trip to Hong Kong, even as we tried to become more minimalist in our lifestyle. The inclusion of yoga into my lifestyle was just part of this journey.
As I further developed my practice at Tranquil Space, learning more advanced asanas, including inversions and arm balances, and understanding more of the sanskrit names, I found myself getting hooked. I started sneaking out of work to make it to class. Just before leaving the US, I participated in a 35 hour teacher training with Tranquil Space. It was meant to help me in my practice, and to introduce the concept of teaching yoga – was it something that I want to explore more?
After traveling through Eastern Europe and Central America, we found ourselves in Dominical, Costa Rica. The thought of teaching yoga was always in the back in my mind, and doing my yoga teacher training in Bali was becoming a real possibility. We booked our flight to Asia and the training became almost inevitable.
But, as much as I was hooked on yoga, what was I getting hooked into? Could I really see myself as a yoga teacher? Or, was the concept of being a yoga instructor merely an attempt to find one of the professions farthest away from being a tax attorney? Would I be a good yoga teacher? Was I ready to make the leap, to be transformed? In Bali, I hoped to find out.
I signed up for the High Vibes Teacher Training. My journey into yoga in Bali was only just beginning.