12 Years of Yoga: That Time Before I Became a Yoga Teacher

After leaving Texas and moving to Colorado in 2006 I found myself again without a job. I applied many places and got shot down for not having a graduate degree. Who knew that the world of fitness had become so competitive?! So, I first started thinking about going back to school and had my then MIL help me apply to a program at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. While I waited to hear back I was hired on at a local swim club, CMA as an assistant coach for the Junior and Senior teams and also as a dryland training coach.

Yay! My world had purpose again! I took my job, as I do all of my jobs, very seriously. This has been a hard part of being me for most of my life. I take things too seriously at times and have found myself to be very rigid in the structure of life, work, etc. I am more type A than most who associate as type A….I probably should be labeled type A+++.

Here I was in Colorado Springs, the place I’d dreamed about living since I had visited there on a high school youth group mission trip in the mid90’s. But, I wasn’t really living the experience there I had hoped for. I muddled through life trying to grasp it all and failing miserably. My husband and I had bought a house, but I couldn’t keep up with what that meant. He had a great job, but I was unhappy for him because my career was going nowhere. We had a beautiful dog, but I wanted another because we didn’t have a baby. I was headed back to school, but I still wanted to work. I couldn’t figure it out, but what I really needed more than anything was yoga and a friend.

The yoga came first in a sense. As part of the dryland training I was doing with the kids, I started teaching them some yoga. I was using my knowledge about biomechanics etc to help them come up with new exercises to strengthen their specific strokes and then the yoga to improve their flexibility. One of the swim team parents was a regular yoga practitioner (and in my competitive mind I had to be better), so I figured I would incorporate the practice so that the kids could reap the benefits she always spoke of. I felt a real connection to those kids for the first year I was with them, but also secretly hated working with them because they didn’t always follow the rules nor do what I asked of them.

That fall I started back to grad school and things went okay. I had never really learned how to study in high school or college, but got through both easily enough. Grad school was a different story. Somehow, I’d never learned how to write a scholarly paper either. Things were spiraling downward slowly until I contacted the “Recreation Department” and looked for a job as a trainer. I wanted something more to do (although I was characteristically already overloaded). This was a blessing in disguise.

I started on with the department as their ONLY personal trainer and then worked my way in a little deeper. They were getting ready to boom! UCCS was building a new Recreation Center to open in Fall 2007 and they were going to go from 1 professional staff member and 1 graduate assistant to 4 professional staff members and 3 graduate assistants. The staff would go from 7 students to over 70 students in just over a year from when I joined on. There would even be a real group fitness room and a need for personal trainers. I saw an opening and I took it!

I made myself the unofficial second GA for the department and got permission to run a training program for future PT’s in spring semester. My work at the swim team stayed steady and I continued taking classes and trying to keep up with grad school. I made a friend in Chelsey, the real GA, and we started to grow closer with our similar ambitious nature and desire to take 2 of the coveted professional staff positions at the new rec. We took on even more between the two of us, outlining the requirements and responsibilities of each job and program area, coming up with hiring procedures, planning staff training, listing equipment needs, doing budgets. You name it; we were on it!

The 4 pro staffers and 3 GA's 2007-2008
The 4 pro staffers and 3 GA’s 2007-2008

I didn’t get the job as a pro staffer, but settled into my role as GA in the new facility. Due to poor grades and work at the rec, I left the swim team in Fall 2007 to focus on other things. It’s one of my greatest regrets. I haven’t coached swimming since and I miss it constantly. But now I was “in charge” of a group fitness program that had one yoga teacher: ME.

I offered a yoga class that fall and I can’t remember if it was only one per day or more. I don’t know if it even ran every day or not. I feel like there was an early morning class and a noon time one and maybe even an evening one…..doesn’t really matter. All I know was that I was only teaching (over and over again) what I had learned in that one workshop two years earlier. That, and whatever I could find in Fitness Magazine. I wasn’t a yogi and didn’t have a regular practice myself. But teaching yoga gave me a little more sense of zen….sense of release….and was bringing me closer to my toes.

I had a friend by now, a few actually, and yoga was becoming more a part of my life. I again needed continuing education credits to re-certify my PT, so this time I went the yoga route and enrolled in a YogaFit Teacher Training Level 1 course in Denver.

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