Taking a yoga teacher training is a big deal. HUGE, in my opinion. It takes so much commitment to do it. I don’t think I really understood that before I went through the process myself. Seven years ago, I had only been practicing yoga for six months, and I heard about an upcoming teacher training. There was something about that timeframe and that specific round of training that I couldn’t let go of. I didn’t have the money to pay for it in full. I barely had enough for the first payment, but I had my trusty credit card with just enough room to take the hit. So I took the plunge. That first training took place over a three month period on mostly weekends. I was still working full-time and my daughter was young. It was a lot to ask of my life at that time, but there was something deep in my belly that told me I HAD TO DO THIS. That yes moment is something I look back on fondly. God, how my life is so different now. If I hadn’t taken that risk I wouldn’t be teaching yoga, I wouldn’t have the courage to have my life as it is now, and I wonder if I would have paved the road to my own happiness without it. Brave moments matter, even if it did max out my credit card.
I have been a participant, assistant and co-lead in other 200 hour teacher trainings since then. All of these trainings fit into my regularly scheduled life to be honest. They were all local, which was awesome. We truly have a wealth of incredible teachers in the Sacramento area. I’ve been so lucky to train close to home and teach in trainings as well. But, something started to stir in me this year. More and more I have been feeling like I need to step outside my comfort zone again. I need the experience to feel like a challenge, a risk and BIG TIME ask for growth. So I started to look for an advanced teacher training for me to be a student again. I looked almost daily. I researched all the big trainings some of my friends had taken. I sent emails to many of these programs and asked when their next one was starting. Of all those emails, I never heard back from one person. Then I found a teacher on Instagram that I had been following who was starting to promote her 300 hour in Australia. Whoa! That feels like a big adventure. I read over the program for a week, price checked flights, hotels and the whole bit. I even sat my husband down to talk about what that would mean for the family. He said he was on board with it if I felt like it was right. Something kept me from being a yes. I couldn’t tell you even what it was. There was just a small voice that kept saying “Wait Natalie, just wait.” So I did. I waited.
I was frustrated and annoyed even. I felt like I had gotten this push to grow and yet there wasn’t a place for me to land. And then in the simplest of ways the place appeared. A couple years ago, I had been telling my husband I wanted to be able to do a handstand. I want to cross it off my list. I want to train, get lifted, nail it and then move on. In all of his sweetness, he purchased a membership for me online, and found a video he wanted me to watch so I could train. The teacher on the video was AMAZING. I loved how calm, humble and gentle he was even though he was guiding you into how to prepare to something that requires strength and a heavy amount of faith. After that video, I remember feeling like I could actually do it. Handstand was in my future. I found the teacher on Instagram and followed along. So then here I was, on a random morning drinking my coffee years later, and the handstand teacher pops up in my feed. It was a simple. I saw the photo of him and his incredible girlfriend, also a teacher, and read the caption that said “Big announcement! Registration for our 300 hour advanced yoga teacher training is now open.” YES. I’m in. Simple as that. Knowing works in that way. I said yes before I knew the schedule, the commitment, the details and all. Here’s where shit gets real.
I ran into my husbands office (at home. yup, he works from home in his boxers. oops secret is out) and tried to not yell my news at him. I told him I had to do this training, I just knew it. He said ok, but started to ask questions about the dates. I scrolled through the information online and panicked when I found the details. The first part of the training overlaps my first wedding anniversary and the second part of the training starts on my daughters 10th birthday. I said that information out loud to him as my heart sank. “I can’t do it.” I said. “It’s ok babe, you can do it. Let’s talk about it.” he answered.
We talked for two days off and on. This decision weighed on me so much. My yes didn’t waiver. I KNEW I was supposed to go, but the sacrifice was big. In addition to missing those two important dates, the training is 18 days long each time, which means I will be away from home for 20 days each time. As a mom, that is a long time. As a wife, that is a long time. But one of the things that stuck with me through our talks, is how my husband and I both have had to shift in our views on celebrating dates. We both share 50/50 custody of our kids. This means that every other year Christmas isn’t ours, so we celebrate it more towards New Years. Every other year, we don’t have our kids on their actual birthday, so we celebrate the week before. We have been forced to make life special in other ways, to make that very moment when we CAN celebrate the biggest memory we can manage. Out of this, we know celebrations and love isn’t confined to one date. This is no different. He said, “Submit your application and let’s get on with it.” I did. And I got in.
Since then it has been non-stop plans for how this whole adventure for me works for us and our family. We have made plans for my husband to bring the kiddos on a road trip to LA for my ONE day off midway through the training. ONE day folks! Holy moly! That weekend, they will have some fun of their own during the day and I will get to snuggle them at night. We have also already booked our wedding anniversary trip for November to return back to where we got married. And since we have to celebrate late, we are staying an extra night to make it even more special. I’m not mad at that.
The hardest conversation was with my daughter about her birthday. That news hit her, but she seemed to move through it better than I did. We promised her and even bigger celebration the week before or maybe even another trip to LA. Now, her wheels are turning for what birthday extravaganza she can take advantage of. But, her real feelings came up one night when I was putting her to bed. She started to cry and asked me to not go. Then she asked me why I had to go. Oy. I told her every bit of what will always be true.
I said, “Love, the biggest thing that I ever want to show you is that you have to live your life in all the ways that you are passionate about. All the ways. This may mean at times that you have to travel and go keep learning. How am I supposed to tell you to go do that, if I don’t do it for myself? Someday you will need to follow your dreams honey, and if those dreams are not in Folsom or Sacramento, I want you to know that is ok.”
She then wanted to talk about her going to Paris. My goodness that made me chuckle a bit. She understood. In her own 9- year-old wisdom way, she understood.
It has been years since I have followed some of my guidance that pushes me to teach her things like this. Truly, these are the lessons I have wanted her to know, but they are not easy. Thankfully, I have the memory of following my gut that reminds me to stay the course, and I have a husband who cheers me on along the way.
When I was leaving my daughters room that night I reminded her the way love works. I told her that every time she is thinking of me and missing me, I am thinking of her and missing her. That is how it works. You send it and I feel it. I send it and you feel it. She exhaled and seemed to relax even more. It was a moment where I gave myself a gold momma star, like yeah you nailed this one! Then, her eyes started to perk up and she said “MOMMA! I am going to write down EVERY time I think of you and what time of day it is. Then you do the same and when you get back we will see if they are the same time!” Shit, shit, shit shit shit! Um, I did not see that one coming. Not sure how I am going to use my magic with that one, but I will let you know when I figure it out!
In the meantime, keep chasing down your dreams and working up and over the obstacles that seem to plant themselves on the path. The things we are meant to do will never be smooth sailing.There will be a risk with it, a challenge woven in and an ASK so big of your life that it MUST CHANGE your life. That’s how you know you are growing. When you feel a yes, scream it, declare it and figure the rest out later. Your growth depends on your willingness to be ALL IN.
Let’s do this!