Bit of blogkeeping: On Monday I joined the big leagues and purchased a custom domain! So if you would all be so kind as to update your links/bookmarks to http://www.theyearofthephoenix.com. Merci!
Before I begin, let me stress that I love being a librarian. I’ve been working in libraries since I was seventeen years old, when I started as a page at the Stars Hollow Public Library. I love research and the challenge of finding information. I love assisting the students at my college. I love my college. I love being able to say I used to be a prison librarian; makes me quite popular at parties, let me tell ya. Oh, and did I mention that I have been working in libraries since I was seventeen? It’s a bit of a calling, you see.
And, yet, I often wonder if a person can have two callings. Because lately I have flirted with the idea of running away and becoming a yoga instructor.
|Wheel or Upward Bow|
This was not always the case. About a year ago I visited my first studio and the experience left me feeling disheartened and disappointed. It was nothing overt, but the entire time I got this very, very subtle vibe from the instructor like she was less than thrilled at having a fat girl in her class. As though she didn’t know what to do with me. Some of my inherent flexibility seemed to surprise her, even going so far as to say “Wow, you really are flexible!” like she thought I had been lying before when I first mentioned it.
It turned me off from yoga for a few months, until last November when my family was in Las Vegas for my birthday. I started my 30th year at a yoga class at Caesar’s Palace that I had dragged Sissy to. I’m so glad I did, though, because it left me feeling energized and elated. The instructor, Swami Ramananda, was welcoming and accepting, which probably comes with the territory in a city like Vegas. I knew that was what yoga was supposed to feel like and I was determined to recapture it, even if it meant visiting every single studio in all the Land of Cleves. Luckily, I only had to visit one.
|Wide-Legged Forward Bend|
Discovering yoga has helped me rediscover myself. I really don’t know how else to put it. Through yoga I have reconnected with my body, hearing it and listening to what it tells me. I have found self-acceptance and self-confidence and have learned that magic can happen on the mat. I love watching and experiencing the positive changes my body produces and proving that you don’t have to be thin to be a yogi. I want to take my own personal experiences off the mat and share it with others. If anyone knows what it’s like to walk into a yoga studio as a self-conscious fat person, it’s me. If anyone knows how necessary it is to have a safe space, it’s me. And if anyone knows the transformative power of the poses, it’s also me.
I want to be able to share my story and say I know where you are, I know where you’ve been. I want to let them know that yoga isn’t just about exercise or fitness or losing weight. It’s about the meeting of mind and body. It’s about honoring the body. It’s about setting intentions and finding peace. It’s about challenging yourself and knowing that having limitations is okay. If nothing else, it’s always about at least trying. Who the hell cares if you fall on your ass? Because, seriously, we’ve all been there. Happened to me this past Saturday, in fact. And you know what I did? I laughed. As my dear friend and fellow practioner John said, “Come, let us not be pretty at it together.”
What yoga is not, and has never been, about is the number on the scale. Truthfully I often feel like a curvy yoga ambassador — proving that size doesn’t have to be a barrier to a successful practice. I am fully aware that I don’t look like your “typical” yoga follower, yet any ol’ time I want to lean over and put my head on the floor I can. So, to get all librarian cliched on you, don’t judge a book by its cover. And if there is one sure way to get that message out, it would be by becoming a teacher.
|Butterfly or Bound Angle Pose|
All of that being said, as much as I really want to embark on this adventure, right now it’s not exactly financially feasible. Teacher training costs money, yo. And, as I mentioned in the beginning, I really do love my job and being a librarian (or, as a friend put on Twitter the other day, a “library scientist”). I don’t know if doing both would be feasible and I’m not willing to give up my current career just yet.
If nothing else, the fact that I can’t currently afford it might be a good thing. Gives me time to figure out a plan and weigh my options. Back in December when I walked into my first Ashtanga class I never would have guessed it would have such a powerful hold on me, enough that I’m considering yoga teacher certification. But now that I have the idea in my head, I just can’t let it go.
Plus, the idea of being required to wear yoga pants to work is rather appealing.
Any yoga instructors (or future instructors) out there have any advice? Am I crazy for considering giving up a profession I love for something completely different?
Love from the ashes,