How I Became a Yoga Teacher

by jenna on July 26, 2012

I had been waiting to write this post for awhile after the dust settled a bit, so to speak. I think I just needed a little time to let my mind wrap around everything that has happened over the past six months! It’s been totally crazy, exhausting and amazing all at the same time.

To start though, I’d like to say I didn’t go through yoga teacher training to have some major career change. Actually, when I started the program back in January, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to DO with it…but I felt like it was something I just needed to do for myself. I’ve practiced yoga for about eight years now and going through teacher training seemed almost like the next step to deepen my own personal practice. I also went through the program as a way for me to jump way out of my comfort zone! Folks, I am NOT an extrovert and I get sick to my stomach at the thought of talking in front of a group of people. However, I know that my career is taking me in a new direction where I will need to be comfortable standing up and talking to groups (i.e. my book tour!). I recognize public speaking is a weakness of mine and I really wanted to work on that before I meet some of you this Fall. Basically, so I don’t sound like a complete fool and sweat inappropriately.

However! As the weeks of training rolled on by, I discovered something new about myself. I discovered that I actually LOVED teaching yoga! Shocker, I know. What’s not to love? At first it was really uncomfortable and awkward to stand up at the front of the class and speak authentically to others, but slowly it became more and more comfortable. In my program, we were required to go out into the community and teach free classes for ten weeks. I have to say, I was dreading that part. Me? Go out and actually teach a real live yoga class to perfect strangers? The first five one was a little scary but it got easier and soon became the highlight of my week. I taught a group of teachers at a local school and it was amazing.

My teacher training program was a huge commitment. For six months, we met just about every other weekend. And when I say “weekend”, I mean ALL weekend. I was in that studio from 1pm Saturday to 7pm Sunday night, non-stop. Talk about sore! I still don’t get people who don’t think yoga is a workout. After those long training weekends, I would literally just sit in the bathtub and not be able to move. On top of training weekends, we were expected to be at the studio practicing 6x a week and meeting with our assigned small group weekly for practice teaching. We also had books to read, papers to write and exams to do. When I wasn’t cooking, I was yoga-ing. All.the.time. The work (physical + mental) was hard, but it was a good hard. A really good hard.

Over the six months of training, I found out a lot about myself that I didn’t know.

I learned to be more open with people and let them in, rather than keeping to myself.

I learned to stand in my feet and speak authentically to a crowd of people without sweating profusely.

I learned that I am not, and never will be, perfect…and that is totally okay.

I learned that chaturangas are just as good, if not better, than push-ups.

So, am I currently teaching now that I’m finished? I am! Sorta. I’m teaching community classes to a special group of ladies and love it. Like, really love it. I feel so called to be doing exactly what I’m doing right now that it’s silly. Every time I teach, I almost start to tear up because I feel so blessed and lucky in my life to be able to do this. And the women I have been teaching are just so fantastic. They really are. In the future, I’ll probably start teaching regular studio classes, but right now I know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

**credit for the photo above goes to the fabulous Rocky Slaughter. He should come back and take my class soon so I can kick his ass-ana.

**my program was with California Power Yoga and is not affiliated with Baptiste Power Yoga…only inspired by.

**it’s time to go eat a cookie.

 

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 26, 2012 at 3:47 am

Thanks for sharing, Jenna. I think it’s amazing that you’ve found something you truly love to do. That is a gift! :)

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance July 26, 2012 at 3:56 am

That’s awesome, Jenna! You’ve come so far (I’ve been reading your blog for years!). Congratulations–glad you found something that you’re passionate about! :)

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Laura July 26, 2012 at 3:59 am

I’m really happy to hear you are enjoying the teaching you are doing and a huge congrats on completing your course.

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Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance July 26, 2012 at 4:16 am

So happy for you, Jenna! It’s so rare to find your perfect happy place nowadays, and you sound absolutely blessed & aware of it!

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Molly @ RDexposed July 26, 2012 at 4:45 am

I admire all the things that you go for.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat July 26, 2012 at 4:46 am

Wow, Jenna, what an experience and thanks for sharing! I love the line “I learned that I am not, and never will be, perfect…and that is totally okay.” I don’t currently practice yoga nearly as much as I’d like to, but whenever I go back to the studio I love so much, I never feel unwelcome. I think that’s one of the great things about yoga – initially I thought I might feel judged but yoga (in my experience anyway) has been a totally judge-free zone, and it’s super comforting (yet muscularly challenging at the same time!) It’s funny that you mentioned being scared to teach in front of complete strangers, because I thought I’d be worried about that at first too. I’m not a yoga teacher but I do teach spin classes, and I actually found it more challenging to teach people I already know (friends and family) than complete strangers. I’ve been doing it for almost 4 years now so that fear is gone, and I think teaching in general has made me a better public speaker too. Good luck with your community classes. If I lived in California I’d totally come to one!

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Ashley July 26, 2012 at 5:10 am

So awesome, I’m so happy for you, Jenna. I’m not sure you know just how much you inspire your blog readers!

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Sarah July 26, 2012 at 5:11 am

I love this! Teaching yoga is something I think I’d like to do in the future when I can afford the training ;) I can tell by that picture above that you really do love it, you are glowing!

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Barbara The Healthy Nut July 26, 2012 at 5:33 am

How wonderful for you AND for the students who will take your classes! Your enthusiasm and love of yoga and all its benefits shines through! Good luck and thanks for sharing. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

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Julie July 26, 2012 at 5:39 am

Congrats!

I agree, anyone who doesn’t think yoga is a workout is crazy. As someone who does triathlons on the regular, and has become somewhat less frequent with my yoga practice – YOGA IS DEFINITELY A WORKOUT. Sometimes I take a class after racing, sometimes I don’t. But when I do, I am SO. SORE. And it’s not from the swim/bike/run.

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Gabby (Quest for Delicious) July 26, 2012 at 5:44 am

Huge congrats to you! Your accomplishments are wonderful!

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Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots July 26, 2012 at 5:47 am

thanks for sharing! I am sure you are an amazing yoga instructor! At some point I want to get certified to teach fitness classes but like you it makes me nervous to stand up in front of strangers! One day i will get over my fear!

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Nicole July 26, 2012 at 6:06 am

Thanks for sharing, Jenna! Love hearing how people challenge and stretch themselves and come out learning so much. It’s a good reminder that I need to seek out opportunities that stretch me out of my comfort zone as well.

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katie @KatieDid July 26, 2012 at 6:12 am

Just awesome! So happy for you, that you committed to something so challenging and difficult.

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Felicia July 26, 2012 at 6:18 am

Congrats! It can be so hard sometimes to stick to such a demanding program, but kudos to you and I’m so happy it worked out and you are loving it!!

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luv what you do July 26, 2012 at 6:26 am

Congrats on completing training and have the confidence to share your journey. I have thrown around the idea (in my head) of doing a yoga treacher certification. I am not exactly sure what I would DO with it, so it is nice to hear that your class took you further along your personal journey than you expected! Continue to Love What You Do…that is so important!

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Sarah July 26, 2012 at 6:28 am

I just finished up my yoga teacher training a few weeks ago and can totally relate to how you learned so much about yourself! I’m the same way with public speaking and teacher training has helped me work on that fear and also excepting my imperfections and being grateful for where I am in my life, in my body right now! Good luck with your future classes I’m sure you are such an amazing teacher!

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amy walters, aDESIGNdock July 26, 2012 at 6:28 am

Thank you so much for sharing Jenna. It’s wonderful being a place where you feel like you’re exactly where you need to be at that moment….soak this up ad enjoy it to the fullest. You’ve earned it!

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Denise @ Creative Kitchen July 26, 2012 at 6:31 am

Wow…..the training sounds intensive and very time consuming! Congratulations!! You’ve accomplished so much these past few years. Just amazing!!!

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Elisabeth July 26, 2012 at 6:34 am

Congratulations! I’m also totally not a public speaker, so I’m really happy that the yoga teacher training helped you. :)

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Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe July 26, 2012 at 6:35 am

I went to a yogathon a couple of weeks ago where we did 6 straight hours of yoga, and I was the sorest I’ve ever been over the following couple of days. Yoga is most definitely a workout, and an awesome one at that! Congrats on all of your accomplishments! And thank you for your comment about chaturangas – that one made my day!

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Danielle July 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

Congratulations, Jenna! A yoga teacher I’m close with once told me I should get certified, if nothing else, to deepen my practice. It was tempting but not a financially-sound option at the moment; though, to be honest, it’s more that I was afraid about the teaching part of it. I’m glad you’ve had such a positive and gratifying experience! Hope to make one of your classes some day :)

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Mel July 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

Very cool! Too often I think we find ourselves saying, ‘I wish I could do that…’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to….’- without ever actually doing it. All talk, no action. I admire that you recognized a desire in yourself to become a yoga teacher, and set out to make it happen. Thanks for sharing, and as always providing a little inspiration!

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Erica July 26, 2012 at 6:42 am

I am so happy for you, and BEYOND PROUD of you, my friend. Love you!!

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Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution July 26, 2012 at 6:51 am

My friend Ashley is about to go to Costa Rica for a month to do Yoga Teacher Training. I’m going to share this post with her!

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Alison (Fueling for Fitness) July 26, 2012 at 6:52 am

Did you ever discuss the potential differences between doing an “intensive” one-month teacher training abroad, like at Radiantly Alive in Bali vs. completing it over several months? Obviously finances are a factor, and not everyone can take a month off train somewhere exotic..but I wonder if there are any actual benefits / trade offs and would love to hear your opinion. :)

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Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy July 26, 2012 at 6:53 am

I love how honest you are about being introvert! As an introvert myself, I also find it hard to sometimes push outside of my comfort zone. I’ve thought for a while about pursuing yoga teacher training, and reading your story makes me feel like it could be an awesome experience! Best of luck to you in your yoga teaching! :)

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Faith @ For the Health of It July 26, 2012 at 6:56 am

That sounds like quite a blissful journey. I’ve been entertaining the idea of YTT myself – as soon as the time commitment works out, I think I’m going to take the plunge. It really is my preferred form of strength training/relaxation/meditation/therapy/personal reflection time all rolled into one – I’d LOVE to deepen my practice through training, then share the blessings of yoga with others!

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Jonathan Dueck July 26, 2012 at 6:57 am

As a fellow new yoga instructor, reading your post was a lot like reliving my experiences in teacher training during early 2012. The public speaking part would have been rough for me too, had I not had 2 previous years of Toastmasters under my belt. Public speaking training and yoga have that in common — the lesson that we’re not perfect and that’s perfectly okay.

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Lily O' Dare @ Candied-Life July 26, 2012 at 6:58 am

always time for a cookie!

congratulations! what an accomplishment, especially since it’ something you’ve been practicing for so long. aren’t those happy tear moments the best?

i hope to start taking classes at the yoga studio at school this fall, for whatever reason i still haven’t taken a class yet and i feel like i would really enjoy it! your blog has inspired my yearning for it!
i did some Pilates with a friend’s mom at a little studio in vermont, but i really wasn’t into that contraption. i feel like yoga will be much more relaxing, and would help my ridiculously bad posture.

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Joelle (on a pink typewriter) July 26, 2012 at 6:58 am

I love this! Thank you for sharing your experience.. I’ve been thinking of doing a Baptiste inspired program at my yoga studio too starting in fall, and for the same reasons as you (minus the public speaking part). I think it’s something I need right now, after going through a lot of changes the last few months.

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Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) July 26, 2012 at 7:09 am

I’m glad you shared this, because it’s really interesting!

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KasSy July 26, 2012 at 7:12 am

Congratulations!!

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Kerry July 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

This is so great! I’ve always wondered what goes in to becoming a yoga teacher, as has a friend of mine, so this is wonderful information to have! Congratulations – I hope we all can find our calling! :)

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Karen July 26, 2012 at 7:17 am

I’ve signed up for a yoga teacher training program starting in the fall! I’m a little nervous about juggling work/blogging/boyfriend/other fitness pursuits/yoga/life in general, but we’ll see how it goes! I don’t know if I’ll end up teaching, but I know I want to deepen my yoga practice and I’m looking for a change to my routine. I’m really looking forward to it.

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Lindsay Simone July 26, 2012 at 7:20 am

I’ve always wanted to teach yoga. Awesome that you actually went through the training. Even more awesome that you love it.

Fantastical.

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Sharon July 26, 2012 at 7:32 am

I’d love to try your class…where are you teaching?

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jenna July 26, 2012 at 7:54 am

Unfortunately I’m not teaching regular classes to the public yet..when that happens, I will let you know! Thanks :)

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Ashley L July 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

You look great Jenna! Congrats on finding something that really makes you happy. I can tell you’re in a good place. You seem the most content as you ever have (well since the blog began). ;)

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Laura @ She Eats Well July 26, 2012 at 8:01 am

Thanks for sharing your yoga teacher journey. I was very curious about this. I think it is great that you did this for yourself and to deepen your practice, I admire you for it.

And also, I am heading to Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival in Squaw Valley tomorrow through Sunday. You should check it out and consider going next year. Sounds right up your sleeve!!!

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Caitlin July 26, 2012 at 8:02 am

CONGRATS Jenna!!!

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Katya July 26, 2012 at 8:05 am

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone like that is such a scary thing to do, especially not knowing what may come of it. It’s great that you have been able to learn things about yourself and find a new appreciation for yoga. I have been going to yoga on and off for about 2 years and recently made a commitment to myself to fully immerse in it and give it my all. It is quite a workout, indeed! The ones who say it’s not have never done it properly.

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Julia H. @ Going Gulia July 26, 2012 at 8:06 am

So great! I love that you admit to public speaking being a weakness–it’s the same with me! I actually took a public speaking course at my university, which definitely helped, but I’m still naturally a little nervous about public speaking. Interestingly, though, I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d actually be pretty good at being some kind of fitness instructor–even a yoga instructor! Happy to see that it’s turning out well for you :)

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JMK1961 July 26, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve been a lifelong on-and-off yoga practitioner, and I’m so proud of you for taking your practice to the level you felt it should be at. I have similar problems opening up and letting people in (classic middle child), and I hope to figure out a way to overcome that.

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Lauren @ LaDolcePita July 26, 2012 at 8:21 am

Congratulations! Sounds like you are listening to your heart and following your calling(s). I’m sure you will continue to inspire and be inspired on this new path.

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Lauren@littleyellowkitchen July 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

I’ve been doing yoga for a few months now and have sooo much respect for the teachers. They are so encouraging and inspire me to want do to more each time. What an amazing thing for you to master!

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 26, 2012 at 8:49 am

Happy that you’re enjoying it so much! It bugs me when people think that yoga isn’t a hard workout – I can wake up the day after a hard yoga session in as much pain as I would after a heavy lifting session at the gym!

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Emily July 26, 2012 at 8:52 am

I love it, congrats Jenna! I’ve been contemplating this for awhile myself and my studio just developed a more affordable teacher training for this fall. Sounds like a great experience.

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Caroline L. July 26, 2012 at 8:54 am

It sounds like a very wonderful and personally victorious journey for you! I am very happy for you in that you were able to find something you truly love so much!

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Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife July 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

Great! You seem perfect for yoga :)

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Lindsay B July 26, 2012 at 8:58 am

That’s so exciting Jenna! I would love to one day do the same, you are an inspiration!

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Heather {ModernMealsforTwo} July 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

YAY! Congratulations! It’s very inspiring to hear about what you learned outside of yoga. :)

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brandee July 26, 2012 at 9:44 am

Congrats! I finished my teacher training about a year ago…what an experience! I’m sure you are an amazing teacher.

Can you pass along some of the interesting books you had to read? I’m always looking for a new yoga book to read! Thanks!

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Vicki July 26, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hi!
I’m a new reader from a rural town of Quebec, Canada. I can totally relate to today’s post. I registered to a yoga TTC in Montreal a while back not to eventually teach but just to deepen my own personal practice. The whole training was over 1.5 years, one full weekend a month, friday night, saturday all day, sunday morning, plus one full-time week in July. I graduated in May and found myself LOVING to teach yoga, and overcoming my fear of speaking in public.

Conclusion: yoga is awesome :)

Namasté!

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Kate July 26, 2012 at 9:54 am

As a confirmed introvert myself, it’s so inspiring to hear how you pushed outside your comfort zone and found something so joyful! I love Baron’s practices: Unlocking Athletic Power is probably my favorite on the day after a run with all the hip work :) Did you know Baron’s sister Sherri teaches over in Marin? I met her a few years ago at a conference and she could not have been nicer.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks July 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thanks for sharing your perspective and your journey! I got my certification for similar reasons – didn’t know what I was going to do with it, exactly, but it was calling to me. This was 11+ years ago and my life was extremely! different – barely married and no child and was footloose and fancy free and immersing myself in yoga was the best.thing I ever did and has been a lifelong gift that keeps giving. I am so happy for you that you have yoga in your life, too, Jenna!

And yes, the “not a real workout” thing – still don’t get that either!

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Lydia @ 2BlueEggs July 26, 2012 at 10:09 am

I think it is great you did this for yourself. It is something I know I will do too in the future. although I cannot imagine practicing so much because I would want to eat everything in sight! Anytime you are in Savannah visiting family and going to go to the Savannah Yoga Center, let me know!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama July 26, 2012 at 10:16 am

What a great post! I’ve always had a thought of maybe becoming a yoga teacher someday. But like you I am not an extrovert. I am in the health and fitness industry but I do not like to be up on “stage.”

I love that yoga opened your heart and eyes to so many wonderful things. It sounds like you found another passion!

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Cait's Plate July 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

So glad you’re so happy and fulfilled – thanks for sharing your journey!

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Kim July 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

I so appreciate you sharing this! As a fellow introvert I’m inspired by your leap of faith into the unknown world of being noticed by other people. Really though, I’m so happy you have found something so fulfilling!

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Rachel @ My Happily Ever After July 26, 2012 at 10:54 am

congratulations that is so cool!! i’ve only been practicing for a few years but i’ve always thought it would be an amazing thing to learn more and teach…i didn’t realize that it was so intense, but that makes it even more exciting!

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jenna k July 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

that last paragraph. is. my. favorite.
<3

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Jennifer July 26, 2012 at 11:38 am

Congratulations. That is so wonderful. Yoga has really changed my life and every time I practice I learn something new about myself. How exciting that you get to be a part of that for other people.

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Gillian G. July 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

Somewhere in the back of my head I plan on doing teacher training for the same reason you did – because I don’t really know why but I think I just need to do it! It’s so beyond awesome that you discovered you love teaching. Rock on.

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Becky July 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Congrats on finding this passion. I totally agree that yoga is awesome! I did yoga for several years in my 20s and I miss it daily. I hope to be involved again soon. I also feel that even though I have not been through the training you have had, that yoga can truly teach you all the things that you listed. I bet you are a wonderful teacher!

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Julia {the roasted root} July 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I used to do Vinyasa regularly but then I moved and I don’t have great yoga options where I live now, unfortunately :( Your class looks so peaceful! Would totally do yoga with you!

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Jen July 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Great post. I did it 3 years ago more as something to try and see if I would like it. Basically, I was (still am!) floundering in life and wondering what to do. I did teach for a little while and it definitely increased my confidence. But I haven’t taught now in a couple of years – I would be terrified to try now! So my piece of advice is to keep on teaching at least once a week or two as you are doing as it can be tough to get the confidence (and memory!) back.

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Joy July 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

You make me Want to teach yoga even more than I already do! I want to teach at the senior center… Little old people freeing themselves sounds so… Right to me

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Mary July 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Congrats on challenging yourself and opening new doors. I have a question and was wondering about the “run” part of eat-live-run. I may have missed some of your posts though I try to read each one, but I have not heard much on the running part. Are you still running? As a runner I’m always wondering about adding yoga to my fitness routine. I love that your personal growth encourages us your readers to grow in new ways too…maybe I need to sign up for that yoga class!

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Kara July 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Jenna,
As a teacher at a school in the Bronx, NY, I know I am speaking for many teachers who would find such a needed release if someone like you were to come teach us yoga after school. I hope that training programs like yours spread throughout the country to provide a similar community service and bring yoga to everyone. Good luck with your next steps!

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Anna Jaye July 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Way to go!!

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Anne July 27, 2012 at 6:06 am

Funny, on the picture you chose, your arms are wrongly placed. Maybe you were devolved by the camera !

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Alexandra July 27, 2012 at 6:31 am

Hi Jenna,
I found your blog about a year ago and have enjoyed reading all your recipes and musings – so much so that I was inspired to start my own blog this summer.
Thank you so much for sharing your yoga story! Though I’ve been practicing yoga for a little while now, I’ve only recently begun to appreciate the true union between body and mind during my yoga practice. I actually wrote a post about it yesterday.

Good luck with your teaching! You should come teach a class in the Bay Area sometime!

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laura k July 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Yoga teacher training is one of those things that’s always been in the back of my mind, like, maybe someday. You’ve added fuel to the fire.

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Brindi July 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Thanks for sharing, Jenna! I’m a children’s librarian and have been doing yoga for about 8 years now as well. Right now I incorporate yoga into my preschool and toddler story times, and I also travel from branch to branch doing bits of yoga that coincide with a picture book. My next step is to eventually become certified to teach it, but I can’t find the time to do so!!!

Good luck! Yay :)

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Moni Meals July 28, 2012 at 11:36 am

Really great! Good for you. I feel the same way and reward with working with all my clients as a trainer. :)

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Sloane July 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Jenna,
I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and love it! This post in particular though moved me to tears. Its amazing to see how yoga can really change a life. I know it saved mine, and I would love to go through teacher training one day so I can spread the love! Thank you for your honesty, and congratulations on finding something you absolutely love!

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Liz (formerly VeggieGirl) July 29, 2012 at 3:04 am

Congratulations, dear Jenna! You and I are a lot a like with being introverted – this journey of yours is inspiring! I hope to take a yoga class from you one day in the future :)

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Rachel August 9, 2012 at 8:07 am

I’m going through the process of getting my certification as a Personal Trainer and the entire process has been grueling! Its nice to know that all of your hard work paid off– somewhat a light at the end of the tunnel for me! Congrats!

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Marian Schembari August 12, 2012 at 1:49 am

Wahooo!!! I’m 3 weeks away from graduating from teacher training and your post is like you went straight into my brain and said what I’ve been feeling. I can’t WAIT to be teaching regularly, even though it’s totally not what I expected to do when I started my course in April. Like you, I was looking for a career change, but now I couldn’t be happier and more ‘called’ to yoga.

Go girl! Virtual fist bump to you :)

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Pam September 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Good for you Jenna!! I totally see you as a yoga teacher and glad you completed the course, sounds absolutely amazing and glad it also helps you become more extroverted because your blog and cooking career are going to take you to places you have never imagined!
Spread your wings, it’s time to soar!!

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Amy @upearlywithamy.com May 4, 2013 at 4:19 am

This post is so inspiring!! I can relate…thanks for being so honest :)

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Ivette August 27, 2013 at 11:38 am

Wow!! Thank you so much. Is like I am reading about myself….one of my biggest fears, public speaking!! I so needed to READ this!! I teach my first real SUB class this thursday night and lets just say I AM TERRIFIED!! Not only to finally get a chance to teach at my teacher’s studio and where I did my TT, and that I have to impress them or else I will not get another shot in a while, but I am subbing for a master teacher who’s been teaching for over 20 yrs! AHHH!!

LOL, I think I should survive.

Thank you!

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Rachel (Alive in the Fire) October 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I love this photo of you! Shining bright :)

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kliknij tutaj December 18, 2013 at 12:45 am

biedronka pleszew wojska polskiego

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