My Yoga Journey
…Its quite a cool story actually, it all started back when my best friend Rosi had asked me and some other friends to join her for a yoga class at the local YMCA. I had been exposed to Yoga when I was younger but had only dabbled a bit, mostly with meditation and breath work, so I was certainly interested in trying out the Physical practice.
So off we all go to take this Yoga Class. I stretched, I did some strength stuff and I lay on my back and did absolutely nothing! It was awesome! I couldn’t even begin to put into words how I felt after that first class, but I can say that I knew without doubt that I wanted to experience it again!
And, sure enough, I did…
Then one day, another girlfriend of mine, Luisela, asked me if i would join her for a Yoga Teacher training in Miami in the style of BKS Iyengar. I had absolutely no intention of becoming a Yoga teacher or had any clue who BKS Iyengar was at this point, but I decided that it could be a great way to deepen my personal practice, and it would be fun to go with Luisela because she had become my yoga buddy!
Little did i know, this was the introduction of a new life long passion!
The teacher training was incredible, from the minute I got there, I felt like a giant sponge…Bobbi Goldin who is a senior Iyengar teacher, was my very first exposure to the Iyengar method. She was amazing… the whole experience from the postures she taught, to how she taught them…fabulously direct and to the point, clear and concise with all of her instructions…it all seemed to make perfect sense to me!… from then on, I was in love with Iyengar Yoga.
Here’s where the story starts to get interesting…
So, I am at this training in Miami, Loving it! Slowly, excitement at the idea of possibly teaching yoga starts to creep in…its the last day of the training and i get a phone call from a friend at home, telling me about this new yoga studio opening in Deland that is looking for teachers and i should call the owner when i get back home!
Feeling nervous but excited, I called, we met, I got the job!
(ok, I know thats cool, but wait there is more!!!)
So I am about to teach my very first Alignment class at a brand new studio…i’m starting to get a little nervous!
Well, in walks this very lovely lady in her 50’s, asking me if she could join tonight’s yoga class. “Of course” i said, in fact it may just be you and me (new studio) , sure enough it was just the two of us. I was quite nervous in the beginning but as i started to teach i noticed that everything i asked her to do she did, and that she had obviously practiced yoga before because she had excellent form in the postures and actually she was making me feel quite relaxed!! The class came to an end she left and i was happy and feeling pretty good about my first class.
i get a phone call from Buffy the studio owner “Emma!” she said all excited “you had Betty Larsen in your class?!” I said “yes she was a super nice lady why?”
Buffy said “you don’t know who she is do you! When you get to the studio later look in the Yoga Journal”
Later that day, i went to the studio and of course i picked up the yoga journal and flicked through it wondering what all the fuss was about….then suddenly, as i turned the page, and the big shiny picture of Betty Larsen, Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher since 1988, advertising her 1000 hour teacher training school, in Precision Alignment Yoga, LEPT out and hit me in the face!!!
Oh no!!! just as i started to freak out, i managed to mentally calm myself down by convincing myself that there was no way i could have known who she was or that she has a major teacher training school, and, i had done the best i could with the knowledge that i have and that i shouldn’t freak out coz i have to start somewhere and i must have done an Ok job because when Betty left the class she seemed to be in a good mood…i hope???????????!!!!! arrrrhhhh!
Finally, my Ego got over it in a couple of days and i took it as a huge learning experience….
The next week rolls around and its time for my Alignment class….guess who walks in!!!!
“I can’t teach you! i know who you are!!! Your Betty Larsen’!! Betty smiled, and with a very kind voice told me that if she didn’t enjoy my class then she wouldn’t have come back, and that she would be grateful if she could take class again this week, I was silenced. I took a deep breath (and mentally reminded myself that every experience can be an opportunity if you choose to take it as one) smiled and slightly timidly accepted the opportunity.
This is where it really gets cool for me…
So Im teaching Betty Larsen …me! HA! (again Betty was the only person in class). … Its about 3/4 of the way through class, I had Betty in Tadasana (The Mountain Pose), as i was teaching, a question about what i was teaching, sprang to mind, it occurred to me that I happen to have a highly experienced yoga teacher right in front of me and even though it is quite cheeky , i could probably get the answer to my question right now!
So I asked…
From that moment on, the rest of the class Betty gave me her undivided attention and taught me so much, it was magical.
After class Betty told me more about her teacher training certification and said she thought i would be a good candidate for the course, and if i chose to apply then she would happily be one of the three required recommendations for application. WOW!
After alot of research and alot of meditating on wether i was ready to commit to a 2 year 1000 hour Intensive Yoga teacher training i decided to apply for SIYI The Southern Institute for Yoga Instructors.
The next couple of years attending SIYI is a whole other story in itself, my good friend Mylinda Morales also attended SIYI, which was a wonderful experience for both of us, together and as individuals, it was an incredible journey!
I have had the honor of experiencing many wonderful teachers and continue to find new learning experiences around every corner, but i feel i must acknowledge my deep loving gratitude for my Primary Teachers, Betty Larsen and John Charping from the Southern Institute for Yoga Instructors for their teachings and for the personal impact they have left with me, that i can honestly say, has shaped who i am as a yoga teacher and student.
wait wait I’m not done yet….
Now, many incredible years of teaching have passed and the more yoga becomes part of me on a cellular level the more i love it and the more i love to share it.
In honor of ALL of my teachers and ALL of the teachers that came before us…