Within the first couple of weeks of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training every single trainee must stand in front of Bikram, the staff, and all of the other trainees and deliver the dialogue for Half Moon Pose. It’s completely nerve racking, even for someone that at that time spent most of their days on the stage or in audition halls singing their lungs out or delivering monologues until they have become somewhat numb to being a spectacle for others. As I stood up there saying the words I had studied months before arriving I could feel my heart start to race as my voice echoed throughout the room seeming to come from some distant place outside of myself. Thankfully, Bikram stopped me half way through, waving his arm in the air. He jokingly asked if I would like to teach class that night and I laughed, relieved that it went well.
“How long have you been practicing,” he inquired.
“Six years.” I replied.
“What took you so long?” he fired back.
And to that I had no reply at the time. I simply stood there, shook my head, and smiled. Did I waste my time? Should I have come to training sooner? These thoughts rattle around my head from time to time when I think of this moment
But now, 3 years later I think I have the answer. It took me 6 years to just kind of get my head on straight. It took me 11 years as an actress to go from sane and structured, to crazy and scattered, and find my way home to somewhat sane again. It took years of doubting myself and tearing myself apart to finally find the pieces to put everything back together. I spent a lifetime wanting what others had to realize that maybe it wasn’t what I really wanted at all. It took years of looking to others for the answers to only find that the answers always lied within myself. It took years examining the darkness to finally look towards the light and reach for it. It took 4 years in the hot room day after day, 90 minutes after 90 minutes to finally look in that damn mirror and smile at what I saw instead of thinking, “Too fat, too weak, too talentless, too big, too tall, not enough, not enough, not enough.”
Because if it had happened at any other time, if I was standing at Teacher Training reciting Half Moon Pose before or after Fall 2011 I don’t think I would have been in the right place. Looking back I was exactly where and when I was supposed to be. If I had gone earlier I would have been a mess of a teacher. I had so little figured out for myself, how could I figure it out for others? If I had gone after that time the studio I had considered my home studio not 2 months after graduation, had opted to teach other types of yoga, becoming just a regular hot yoga studio, and I have no idea what my choices would have been and what I would do, as Bikram Yoga is the yoga I feel passionate about and want to share with others.
So, I guess the answer is I took that long to live my life and make a decision not based on dreams from my childhood, but based on the dreams of my adulthood and who I wanted to be as I continue to grow up…because I’m not finished yet and hopefully never will be.
Tomorrow I celebrate my 38th birthday. It’s the first time where I actually feel my age. Every other year, as my birthday would pass by, I would declare that I still felt like I was 27, so it didn’t matter. This year I feel 38, not in the way that I’m shocked at my reflection in the mirror, or regretful that time is marching on, but in the way that I am owning my age, stepping into it without regret, but with pride and gratitude for where I am now. I can look back at everything I’ve experienced so far and see the good in even the most painful times, knowing how much I learned when I was in that place. I understand the girl that I was, but am no longer interested in the trappings of staying a child. I am where I am supposed to be. We all are.
You are exactly where you need to be today to learn who you are. If you don’t like where you are today start thinking about how you can change it. If you do like where you are, shower gratitude and thanks into every breath. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to be where and who you want to be, what matters is if you try.
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