As a curious teen, I was very much interested in the biggest mysteries of life….why am I here? What is my purpose? Who am I? These questions led to reading all the books I could get my hands on that had anything to do with ‘knowing oneself’ like eastern philosophies, metaphysics and even psychology. At times life seemed meaningless, nothing really seemed to matter, and I would tailspin into a depression. However, during that time I began a quest to distinguish what was real from what was unreal, and my values began to surface. 
Fast forward about 10 years, a year after my first child was born… Again these questions resurfaced as I faced an identity shift. Up until that point I had learned to be ‘me’, and now I was faced with the fact that I could no longer just look out for #1. I was a mother with a responsibility to this child and I needed to be a better role model. Still, I kind of struggled with my own existence…is this why am I here? Just to be a parent now? I knew I needed to up my game, to move beyond my self-centeredness.
As these considerations were present for me, I started to hear this word ‘yoga’ being tossed around. Oh, yes, YOGA…I knew this word from all of those eastern philosophy books of my teens. I recalled that the yoga written about in those books was not the ‘postural yoga’ we often associate with the word ‘yoga’ today, and yet I was still intrigued. I think I need to try this thing called yoga, I thought to myself. I really did not know anything about it at the time, I knew it had to do with exercise, there was a physicality to it. 
And then came the invite…my friend asked me if I would like to come to class with her at this ‘interesting’ woman’s home studio. Margaret Lunam was a very unconventional woman—an activist, an environmentalist, a principled woman, with great generosity and great ferocity! So bold and inquiring— I admit she was a little intimidating. But I made my way into my first class with Barbara Young, who taught a beginner class from Margaret’s place. Leaving my daughter and husband at home, I took that one class per week and it soon became the highlight of my week.
Something mysterious was happening to me. I had some peace, the external noise was eliminated, and I was able to really look inside myself. I was attentive and focussed, and the time went by quickly as I was able to just be present. This weekly class changed the course of my life, though I did not know it when I started. I was amazed by the physical practice, how it seemed to get into every nook and cranny of my body—I did not know I had a muscle there, could ache there! I thought all those years of long-distance running had made me strong…but I learned I was very weak and my mind was scattered.
Each class showed me that I could dive deeply into my own world. I could discover my own motivations, the ego asserting itself, and also my compassionate heart revealed itself. It has been a great voyage of discovery on many levels: physical, mental, emotional and subtle. Out of necessity I began to practice at home. I could not afford more than one class a week, and in fact, was even sponsored by Margaret for workshops and classes at times, as she never allowed financial restraints to get in the way of a student’s passion for yoga.
One day my teacher said to me, “Have you ever thought of teaching yoga?”
Really? Did she really think this was something I could do? I had so much to learn, and yoga seemed endless.
It never occurred to me to become a teacher! Back in those days, teaching yoga was definitely NOT a career move. There were no big teacher training programs where I came from. In fact, in those days, even my own teacher was not able to fully train me to be an Iyengar Yoga teacher, because she did not have the level of certification to do so. This led me to travel to Victoria several times a year for several years for training. I also assisted in classes with local teachers, raised my daughter, and then had my second child…all the while holding down a day job at a café. 
There were times when I really felt like I was crazy to pursue something that required so much time and money while not promising a career wage like a ‘normal job’. I felt alone at times when my friends and family did not understand why I would put so much energy into this pursuit. However, because I was not in a training cohort per se, I had to heavily rely on my own inner drive and passion for the subject. I had to learn how to constantly motivate myself to practice. It was non-negotiable. I could not rely on my teachers always giving me the answer and it was really a blessing to make so many of these discoveries on my own.
I had faith in yoga as a practice and as a way of life. The philosophy of yoga started to unfold and embrace every aspect of my life so that it was no longer compartmentalized. My life became integrated in yoga—raising my children became my yoga and they got used to spiritual practice being an everyday affair. I started to see the spark of divinity within others (and in myself) which allowed me to radically shift my view of life. And I felt better and better about how I was showing up in the world while my purpose started to reveal itself. 
As my teaching role continued, and the focus shifted towards helping other people, my own negativity and suffering lessened. Doesn’t mean the challenges did not come…they did. My husband and I split up and that was a devastating time of heartbreak and pain. And yoga was with me through that rough time and many others. Yoga was with me through sickness and health. Yoga was with me through fatigue and loneliness and financial strain. Yoga has been my best friend, my constant companion. Yoga never judged, always listened, was patient and quiet and served me endlessly
What drives me to teach yoga, particularly Iyengar Yoga is that I have seen the results first hand. This practice has helped me to feel at home in my own body. This culture generally has not valued short and stocky female bodies, and yet I have discovered the beauty and function of this machine! Yoga has helped me to accept and honour myself, making time for practice. I have been able to maintain some sense of inner stability and resilience when life has thrown its punches. And what a JOY to witness the self-discovery of students in class and out. I want YOU to experience that joy, that equanimity, that inner resilience…

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