Margaret's Yoga Journey

Title Text: Shelter in the Greatest Place laid over a photo of Margaret laughing in a yoga pose.

I hated yoga the first time I tried it. I was coming back from an ACL surgery my sophomore year in college and thought yoga could be helpful until I was able to play basketball again. I found a Groupon for a hot yoga studio and convinced my friend to join me. Yoga was so different from all the other exercises that I’ve done, which consisted of mostly HIIT workouts. Yoga was hot (well this one was obviously) and slow moving, everyone in there seemed so serious, my knee was still recovering, and I hated all of it. I went maybe four times that month and never enjoyed it. I stopped going after the Groupon deal ended and never thought about yoga again. 

A couple years later, I had gotten into climbing and the gym I was climbing at offered yoga classes. It was more of a “why not, I’m already paying for this” moment than a “I want to rediscover yoga” epiphany. But this time it was completely different and I got hooked. I remember going to The Studio climbing gym every Tuesday and Wednesday for Jules’ class. This time, yoga didn’t seem as serious. Jules’ class made yoga seem fun, playful, and challenging. I was allowed to fall out of a pose and laugh about it. I loved attempting inversions and hand balances because you have to find a whole new sense of balance. Whenever she taught a new inversion/hand balance, I couldn’t wait to go home and practice it!

Margaret standing on her left leg holding her right pinky toe with her right hand.

A couple months later, I moved to Berkeley to be with my partner and discovered Yoga to the People. Yoga to the People really emphasizes moving with each breath and that opened up a new side of yoga for me. The audible exhales allowed me to let go of tension that I didn’t even know I had in my body. It wasn’t about trying new poses or getting a perfect pose. It was about noticing and understanding my body.

At this point, I was practicing consistently for about a year. I knew that in a couple of years I wanted to do yoga teacher training so that I could deepen my own practice and learn more about yoga. As fate would have it, Yoga to the People announced they had teacher training coming up in a few months. I mentioned it to my partner and he asked me, “Why not sign up now?”

A million reasons came to mind: I didn’t have 15 years of yoga experience, I still didn't nail down that pose where your legs go behind your head while you balance on one arm, I never had that moment in class where my emotions came flooding out in the form of tears..I was just a person that loved yoga and found it to be beneficial to my physical and mental health and wanted to learn more. With all the doubts in my head, he still convinced me to sign up for teacher training. And I’m so happy I did. I still don’t have 15 years of experience. I still can’t do a lot of “advanced” poses. I still haven’t cried during a yoga practice. But based on those preconceived measurement of when I would be "ready" for teacher training, I would’ve never been ready. Sometimes you just have to go for it. You really are ready to face that challenge, whether you believe it or not. 

Margaret in a bridge pose with one leg up and a sunset behind her.

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