A Summer of Liberation - Jackie's Yoga Journey, Part 4
Check out Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 of Jackie’s Yoga Journey, for the origins of this dramatic path to becoming a yogini, and how I'm in the best shape of my life at the age of 40.
Life changing event #5: deciding to become a yoga instructor.
Attending teacher training was one of the few independent activities I did in Los Angeles - I had very few friends because of the mess I got in with the relationship I maintained. Finances were very tight supporting two people, and I really couldn’t afford teacher training. But I thought of all of the frivolous things I had put on a credit card, and decided to max it out with teacher training. Like a kid going to school on their first day, I walked into Liberation Yoga in the summer of 2015 proud that I had chosen myself for the first time in a very long time.
Prior to teacher training, I took just one class with the owner of the studio, Christine, and absolutely fell in love with the outdoor practice space. Dark wooden plank floors became my home for the summer. I studied the intricately carved wooden columns as carefully as I did the pile of yoga books. Lush green plants in this sacred space were complemented with a gentle flow of water from fountains. What great, divine fortune that all 12 people in training were women.
As a teacher myself, I can be a less-than-receptive student, so Christine's patient and authentic spirit was the perfect balance to soften my hardened edges. With grace and strength, Christine introduced me to a path in yoga that would intertwine with my foundational spirituality and change the way I live.
I arrived at teacher training so very nervous, with a serious hand sprain from an argument that got physical with my ex, and sprained my foot while playing racquetball at the gym with him a week into training. This is where I learned that injuries are our best teachers. I was out of shape, downward dog made my arms burn after 10 seconds, and everyone else seemed a lot more advanced than me. But, I showed up every day.
…almost…I missed one day of an important anatomy class to go to an “important party” with my ex where we got into a huge fight after I met one of the many women he cheated on me with while waiting for a car at the end of the night…
Over time, I found my tribe in the yoga community, and found the strength to start to break free of the toxic relationship. Unsteady on my newly independent legs, I took small steps forward, forging friendships for the first time in Los Angeles with my fellow yoginis. I was blessed to have peace and calm for many hours at Liberation Yoga that summer.
I am forever grateful to my yoga mentor, Pagan, a wealth of knowledge and experience, who helped empower me. I started my apprenticeship with Pagan months after teacher training had ended - I was nervous to commit to his regiment: two classes/week at the "early" hour of 10am - one class to practice as a student, one class to practice as a teacher. This experience is invaluable. From Pagan I learned how to dive deep through pranayama (breath work) aBeing Pagan’s apprentice for years built such a solid foundation in anatomy that I was able to find relief from pain, even in my oldest injuries. The bottle line-up was replaced by a steady diet of cannabis and yoga.
I would like to say that I dove deep into yoga and lived happily ever after…but, that’s not how it went.
The rising political tensions of the 2016 election, along with #metoo and the exposure of male toxicity, brought even more turbulence to my already rocky relationship. The more I pulled away, the worse things got. I was often scared in my own home that I fully paid for, and was growing desperate to escape the situation. I began living a secret life in the shadows...