Live passionately: hold nothing back
And when the moment is over
And our work is done,
We step back, and let go.”
~ Rolf Gates
My yoga journey began in 1998, in my late twenties. Wow! What a different person I was then. Yoga has given me a richness in life I never could’ve imagined. In my growth and maturation, I see that yoga is not a means to an end but a path of deeper understanding. Because of yoga I have a unique understanding of my mind, spirit, body and breath – and the connection among them. I KNOW I would not be the person I am today without my yogic journey.
For years I primarily studied with one teacher until I embarked upon teacher training in 2006. Living in a small town, in a primarily rural region in Ohio, yoga classes are S – P – A – R – S – E. These days I drive 40 minutes to an hour to attend class weekly which allows me to connect with other yogis. My kula or “community of heart” is there, at church, and in connection with other yoga teachers and practitioners I’ve met through my website. It saddens me that I don’t have a local yoga community. It’s occurred to me that its up to me to MAKE one! Want to know how I plan to do that? I’m about to tell you . . .
While I am eternally grateful for my initial yoga teacher training, my focus and the style of yoga I enjoy most has changed dramatically. I’ve fallen in love with movement and flow. It mirrors life. LIFE IS FLOW and I’m riding the wave of transformation.
Vinyasa speaks to my heart and soul. Our minds regularly get the best of us and unless we can somehow take our attention into other areas, into the body, into flow; we are slaves to it. Vinyasa, like no other yoga practice, provides this for me. I find joy, freedom, and the experience of something greater each time I attend a well-sequenced vinyasa class. My breath is exhilarating. My mind is more clear. I am more in tune with my purpose and path. Literally I feel more tuned in to God after clearing the pathways in my brain the way a good vinyasa sequence does.
On top of flow, in my opinion it’s important to impart in class the other aspects of yoga besides asana that are healing. Meditations from the Mat, by Rolf Gates has been a regular companion in both my own practice as well as a wonderful teaching resource to help students gain this valuable perspective in a powerful way. The teachings are accessible to all living in the human form.
Three years ago, I left regular full-time employment to pursue a “career” in yoga. I did well developing classes and gathering a small following. I taught in homes, small organizations, churches and hospitals; but the places I enjoyed most were those places that needed it most. I found purpose teaching to populations that were searching for hope and had difficulty finding it in their lives. Some of the people I taught had a hard time looking at themselves, though this examination was exactly what was necessary to grow. I taught at a local drug and alcohol recovery center and found myself wanting more, as well as envisioning working with other populations that could benefit.
These days I work full-time for a technology company. My main focus and love is writing and I’m fortunate enough to work primarily from home. For this reason I have more time to focus on the things that are important to me. As I grow older, I see that time is getting shorter and that the time to GIVE is now.
As my intro probably eluded, I’ve chosen a training with Rolf Gates. He is amazing and inspiring. His purpose and work aligns with my own values and I believe I can learn and grow from his mentoring and personal experience. I’m currently experiencing extreme growth in life and I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by like-minded people who understand that there shouldn’t be divides in secular and spiritual life. All is one and to live this way makes sense – at home, during work and in all other places in the world and in life.
Rolf Gates’ own bio says this: “As the descendant of six generations of ministers, he gained an understanding of service and dedication at a very early age.” I did not grow up in the church or with giving as the focus, but have found this to be extremely important and the overwhelming message of my purpose in adult life. Over the last six months, this message has been as clear as an FM station speaking clearly to me. The message appears daily with the people I meet, the things I read, the situations I find myself in.
I plan to use this yoga instructor certification to help me hone my practical teaching skills as well as focus my efforts on that which is called of me – SERVICE.
I will use the training to grow as a person, as a yogi, and as a spiritual being. I will focus on service and giving by developing yoga outreach programs targeting all populations that can benefit from the healing I know yoga provides. I’d like to work more (and regularly) with addiction and recovery individuals, cancer patients, the elderly, domestic violence victims and more. I’m thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow, which will give me the push to give even more than I thought possible. I see infinite possibilities. I’m ever grateful. I promise to use this gift for the greater good of all. I’ll do it regardless. It’s that important.
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Heather Church
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