Lately I’ve been smiling a lot. I’m smiling because life has been good to me lately and I have a lot to be thankful for. It’s no secret that yoga teacher training is a transformational process. It forces you to notice and think about your habits and patterns and with all that you learn it’s hard not to transform. Recently, others around me have noticed the change. If you ask me, this is when you know it’s really taking hold.
Let me describe old Whitney. Type A. I lived by lists and wouldn’t rest until I felt everything was done. Our house was always immaculate, everything had its place and was always in it….one could say it border lined on OCD. I’d always follow my workout plan for the week whether I mentally or physically felt up to. I’d freak out in traffic because it was a waste of time and I could be doing something else to be productive. Did I leave dishes in the sink? Never. Did I make the bed every day? Always. Respond to emails within hours? Definitely. I’d do things because I felt they needed to be done not because I wanted to do them. It was exhausting.
During the 9 day intensive in yoga teacher training David asked us what we wanted to change, what did we want to let go of and free ourselves from. I knew exactly what I wanted to let go of….that person I described above. Admitting that to David was a huge step for me. For months I’d thought about how I didn’t want to be that person anymore but I couldn’t get out of my own way. So he challenged me, to leave a laundry basket with clothes in the living room. They didn’t need to be put away, they were fine in the laundry basket. I left it there for days and by the 3rd day it didn’t bother me one bit. So I ran with this…
I like to think of myself as recovery Type A now. I feel so at peace and free now. The laundry basket…sometimes the laundry sits unfolded in the basket for a day or two in the living room. I leave dishes in the sink, dirty and unwashed until I’m ready to clean them. I find myself leaving things out rather than putting them away immediately. More importantly these things don’t bother me and irritate me. Sure, I still struggle. The bed being made everyday is my biggest downfall but I’m slowly getting over it. Slowly.
My workouts have been more enjoyable too. I do them because I want to not because I feel like I have to. Somedays I do yoga, other days I run. Sometimes, I skip them all together and sleep in. I listen to my body and give it what it needs. Surprisingly my pace has been quick and my practice strong. My alarm goes off and I’m no longer hitting snooze and dragging myself out of bed. I’m up and out and ready for my run because I want to or sleeping in because I need it. I feel great and feel so motivated to workout!
The everyday stresses that used to trigger tears and meltdowns seem so much more manageable lately. Traffic was a huge stressor for me; I used to freak out, complain and let it ruin my day. Now, it is what it is. I leave earlier for work so I have plenty of time. I use the time in the car to talk to my mom or I just put on my music and channel my inner Beyonce and dance it out. I just feel so much better prepared to let things roll off my back.
The most significant thing to me has been the clarity I’m living with. I feel so much more present in my life and relationships. Old me was always so caught up in my own thoughts, and to do lists. It was hard to tune them out and listen to those around me. Now, I feel engaged and present and my relationships are thriving. I feel much closer to those around me and I’m loving it.
It would be hard to write all this and not acknowledge that my new job definitely has played a large part in this. I love what I do; talking to runners and helping to support a great cause. My boss is awesome and I work with a great team. Work is no longer something I dread or feel stressed about and eliminating 40+ hours of negativity from my life can make a huge difference in my happiness. I love the balance I have between work and life and feel like my personal and professional life are meshing in a positive, manageable way.
This transformation has helped me to feel more like my authentic self. You know, that person deep inside myself that I love. Or as it is described in this month’s Yoga Journal,
Enjoying the transitory aspects of our bodies is part of the beauty and richness of being alive. These aspects of your Self are an important part of who you are. They’re just not all that you are. If you can recognize that there is something deeper within you that is unchanging-your true, authentic Self- and if you can connect and identify with that part of yourself, which is so much more than your appearance and achievements in the world, says Patanjali, you are likely to be less bothered by the physical changes (or any other changes) that are beyond your control.
There are 5 more weekends left and 2 and half months until the end of teacher training. This journey has been incredible already and I can’t wait to see who I become at the end and what other challenges, habits and patterns I can break for the better.