My Path Om

om yogaI have always been a people pleaser. I have always done what people have asked of me and what I think they expected – so much so I began sacrificing my own well-being, my own earned thoughts, standards and opinions to meet the demands of others. At times, it was almost an out of body experience in which I – alarmingly self-aware – would watch myself in frustration – as if from a corner of a room – fall repeatedly into these traps, these self-deprecating, apologetic routines after which only a shell of myself remained. Yes, there is a certain degree of selflessness one must possess but there is also an indisputable need for self-love and awareness. At age twenty-six, after countless, unfulfilling jobs, toxic relationships and compromises, I am beginning to understand what self-love is and the importance of honoring my passions, honoring my goals and, above all, honoring myself.

I have studied and practiced yoga for nearly ten years. I first rolled out a mat junior year of high school after my mom made an impulsive purchase having seen Rodney Yee on Oprah. Thrice weekly, I would flow through two of Rodney’s twenty-minute sessions before settling in for a night of Dawson’s Creek or Gilmore Girls. Nobody I knew did yoga. Most of my friends were involved in cross-country or team sports at school. For the time being, the only guide I had was a DVD of a blissful man in hot pants on the cliff of a mountain – a mental and physical paradise I know I would never see. Needless to say, I look back at my high-school years as some of the best of my life. When I think of where I am now and how happy and confident I feel, I realize that yoga has been at the core of each of these distinct periods in my life. Sure, I may have allowed my practice to wax and wane like the tides but I could always come back to it. It didn’t matter if I was alone in my college dorm room or taking a class at a local studio, I could practice yoga anywhere. There were no conditions to the practice just as there are no conditions to the affection and attention I now bestow upon myself.

Having practiced consistently for nearly a decade now, I have oftentimes considered a yoga instructor training, however, it never felt right. Something wasn’t pushing me to follow through and truly research and invest in such a commitment. Only now do I understand that I wasn’t ready and willing to make such a commitment to myself without feeling sorry or selfish. The last year has been one of extreme personal growth. I left a job that, while high paying, left me empty, sad and stressed. I was told I was stupid; that I needed to keep my mouth shut and suck it up. For the first time, I didn’t care. I knew this wasn’t for me. I knew I worked hard and deserved better. I owed it to myself to find something that excited me. This is when I really, actually physically felt the first, big shift in taking ownership of my life. It sounds silly – typing it out – but (apart from the panic over impending household bill payments and the like) there was comfort in the unknown, the Rachel in the corner had come out of hiding and given hollow Rachel a shove in the right direction, filled the empty spaces with drive and determination. I want to teach yoga because I want to continue to challenge and better myself as a person, to awaken these parts of my self that have laid dormant for so long and to help others to do the same. I am leery of the word ‘teacher’ – even as someone who has earned their high school English teaching certification– because I think we all have such a great amount and capacity to learn from one another. Yes, I hope to guide others in their yoga practice but I am more excited at the thought of the education I will gain from others in the room and the exchange that will take place as we come together to share in our yoga practice.

Liza B. helped me to discover this about myself. She has guided me in both practice and life to do that which makes me most comfortable and happy. I have worked with her for the past year and her (com)passion is nothing short of contagious. She offered me a part-time job at her studio when I was making small steps to better myself and fill my schedule with things I cared about. It was there that I was welcomed into a new community of people who shared, embraced and cared for one another. For the first time in the two years I had lived in Hoboken did I finally feel like I belonged. Liza is not only a yogi and a businesswoman, but a role model who I see pursuing the unconventional in both her personal and professional life because she wants it, desires it and because she knows it will make her happy.

I also found this mindset and passion at FlorYoga. From the moment I reached out to Sarah with question after question after question (you get the idea – I had a lot!) I knew that my experience would be a positive one. She immediately offered to speak with me on the phone and extended an invitation to practice with those already in enrolled in the Fall teacher training. Before practicing, she met with me at a café to go over the training –what it entails, its intention and course of study – and to find out more about where I am coming from and what I hoped to get out of the training. There was such a sense of having already known her, as if we were friends reuniting. I knew – quite soon – that I wouldn’t need much more to convince myself that FlorYoga would be where I completed my teacher training. The practice that followed our meeting took place in a room in an old mansion in Jersey City. It was not the traditional studio space to which I had grown accustomed. It didn’t have candles or an altar to Ganesh – it was simple. Although I like the more ‘traditional’ studios in which I have practiced over the years, I was drawn to this space because of its simplicity. It served as a lovely invitation, a reminder that yoga is, again, unconditional and that it can take place anytime, anywhere as long as you come to your mat. I was taking a journey to deepen and know the barebones version of myself and I wanted to do it in a place that was just as stripped down.

This isn’t an easy task to undertake – to look inward and give yourself over, well, to yourself and honor and let go of who you are, where you are and where you are – or think you should be – going. I am inspired by those who have guided me throughout my ten years of practice but, for the first time, I am inspired by me – by the energy, drive, love and happiness that burns so passionately inside. I have never felt more confident, more self-assured and more ready to let go and let my heart guide me. I am finally ready to accept and live the life and joys I am always wishing for others to experience. My yoga practice has taught me that each day will be different; each will have its strengths and weaknesses, its trials and tribulations but you never have nowhere to go for you always have yourself to come home to.  It is with this truth that I hope and strive to fill my days. It is with this truth that I hope to inspire and learn from students of yoga, such privileged students and citizens of the world for when we first learn to take care of ourselves can we truly give and take care of one another.

2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay

By: Rachel Chibnik

If you liked this article and want them to win a free yoga teacher training, then make sure to vote for her by leaving a comment (scroll all the way to the bottom), and sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter. Each comment, Facebook, and Twitter share counts as one vote and you can do all three!

Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher? Then visit our Yoga School Directory to find the right teacher training. Or, visit our Yoga Retreats page to explore beautiful yoga vacations from around the world.

Join the Conversation

  1. Annie says:

    Rachel once showed me a few things in yoga, and I knew immediately that she should absolutely be a yoga instructor, and share her joy and knowledge of yoga with the world. Go Rachel!

  2. Andrew Conlon says:

    Very much deserved!!!! I know Rachel will make an amazing yoga instructor!

  3. S.T. says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I believe that you, with a background in educational theatre, are one of the best teachers to share this graceful bodily wisodm.

    Peace, abundance, and love

  4. Kelly says:

    hope you get the scholarship!

  5. Max Berry says:

    Good luck, Rachel!

  6. Guinevere says:

    Rachel, I really enjoyed reading your essay because it was honest and inspiring. I am excited for you to take this new journey in life and I know the experience will result in a ripple effect of positive energy. Peace, Love and Many Blessings to you. -G-

  7. Michael J Hughes says:

    Rachel Chibnik rules and absolutely deserves to win this scholarship. She’s so friendly, outgoing, and well minded for the program. She’d make a fantastic teacher and anyone would benefit by learning from her.

  8. Sarah says:

    Great essay, Rachel. Best of luck. Really hope you get it.

  9. Kiki says:

    You have a way with words, Rach. I’d be honored to take a class of yours!

  10. Rosalie says:

    I loved your essay Rachel!! Hope to see you soon!

  11. Sabrina says:

    Best of luck, Rachel! Follow your dream! If you have any classes in our area, I would love to take it!

  12. Jenn says:

    Rachel- Never sell yourself short and always go for what you want and feel is right for you. I’m glad you’re learning that! Also “a blissful man in hot pants on the cliff of a mountain” hahaha :)

    The best of luck to you!

  13. Alicia says:

    Well written and truly heart felt!

  14. Colleen says:

    I could not think of a more deserving person to give this scholarship to. Rachel is an amazing person with a huge heart and I know that she would be nothing short of a fantastic yoga teacher. I would be honored to take one of her classes!

  15. Maureen Zusi says:

    Rachel, you will make an excellent instructor. Keep the faith!

  16. KBoe says:

    Beautiful essay! I have my fingers crossed for you! I hope to take a class with you – as the teacher – soon!

  17. KMConlon says:

    Rachel is the essence of yoga. She is serence, balenced and poised in her self, her relatinships and her whole approach to life. For her to become an instructor is quite simply the next logical step along her pathway in life.

  18. Anthony Thornton says:

    Awesome.

  19. Colleen says:

    I could not think of a person who deserves this scholarship more than Rachel. She is one of the most genuine, kindhearted people I have ever met and would make an amazing yoga instructor!

  20. Erin Daly says:

    Rachel is amazing! She deserves this scholarship!

  21. Bernadette says:

    Best of luck!

  22. Brian Lawlor says:

    Good luck, Rae Ray!

  23. John wilczynski says:

    Rachel, if you become a yoga instructor, I all become a yoga student. See ya in gavigan.

  24. Brittany says:

    Loved the essay! Good luck, Rachel!

  25. Kathleen says:

    Wow. Your essay is wonderful – it makes me want to give myself a kick and pursue my dreams, too. I really hope you win!

  26. jphil says:

    Yeah RAE RAE! Good luck, I know you’ll be a stellar teach.

  27. Colin says:

    Great Essay! Good Luck!

  28. Carolyn T says:

    Rachel you are my inspiration every day and you make me want to roll out my mat right now! I look forward to having you as a teacher.

  29. Ken says:

    Got my vote! Good luck!

  30. Lindsey Lo says:

    FABULOUS! Im excited to take class with you!

  31. Jimmy T says:

    You Rock. That is all 😀

  32. mike chibnik says:

    BEAUTIFUL ESSAY RAE.I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.

    MAY YOU STAY FOREVER YOUNG.

  33. Patrick says:

    Go Rachel!

  34. Guru Nich says:

    rachel. you have been my star pupil. I have instilled in you all my knowledge, and I know it is time for you to spread your wings, and pay it forward.

    Namaste,
    Guru Nich

  35. Ian says:

    Rachel took me to my very first yoga class many years ago. I was sweating and out of shape. She could have laughed at me and berated me for not even getting child’s pose right, but instead she was very loving and kind and encouraged me to come back and try it again. Rachel embodies the spiritual aspects of the yogi like no one I’ve seen before and it would be an absolute crime to give this scholarship to anyone but her.

  36. Kevin says:

    RE:KMConlon
    “Rachel is the essence of yoga. She is serence, balenced and poised in her self, her relationships and her whole approach to life. For her to become an instructor is quite simply the next logical step along her pathway in life.”
    I could not have said it better. Rachel is an incredibly talented and humble individual well deserving of this tremendous opportunity.

  37. maryann rampello says:

    best of luck…..you got my vote…..

  38. maryann rampello says:

    best of luck…you got my vote…..

  39. Kristen M. says:

    Beautifully written essay Rae! You deserve this and I know you can do it :) I would love to take a yoga class with you as my guide. Best of luck always! <3

  40. Gail Job says:

    Rachel is a good person and definitely deserves this opportunity! Good luck Rachel!

  41. Amy Orrell-Branco says:

    Rachel is an amazing woman with so much strength and beauty. She has such a compassionate heart that she will be an amazing yogi. Knowing Rachel personally, I could not agree more that she deserves this scholarship.

    Good luck Rachel and much love to you! Hari Om~Amy

  42. Kevin Smith says:

    Go Rachel!

  43. Bobby says:

    Rachel is the best!

  44. Jennifer says:

    Good luck Chibs! You got this!

  45. Lois says:

    beautiful essay from the heart – so many words rang true –

  46. Sarah Anfora says:

    Rachel is such a wonderful person. It is a pleasure to work with her at Devotion Yoga.

  47. Alejandro M says:

    Such a well written and thought out essay. Seriously, this essay demonstrates that your feelings are extremely genuine. Hope you get the scholarship!

  48. Giancarlo says:

    Gail convinced me. Good luck!

  49. Tara G. says:

    Beautiful essay!!! Good luck!

  50. Erin says:

    Such a spirit! Your love is infectious!

  51. Paul says:

    You’ve absolutely got my vote. Good luck!

  52. peter says:

    Good luck, Rachel! You’re inspiring me to start doing yoga myself!

  53. Rachel says:

    Rach, your essay is honest, passionate and beautifully written! You are more than deserving of this scholarship! I KNOW you will be an amazing yoga teacher:)

  54. Walsh says:

    good luck, gurl!

  55. Andrew c says:

    Go Rachel!

  56. Stephen says:

    Good Luck, Rachel!!

  57. Lindsey says:

    You deserve it! Best of luck!

  58. Michelle says:

    I have always found you to be so in tune with yourself-I would have never guessed your journey to this point. I know that you will be an amazing teacher and many will benefit from your body and soul wisdom.

  59. joann thornton matos says:

    Best of luck!!

  60. Allie says:

    So proud to see you have become one with yourself and like who you are for who you are.

  61. Elizabeth Shackel says:

    Rachel .. Amazing! I love it. You deserve this. The passion and motivation you have to strive towards something that you love and makes you happy is an inpiration. xo

  62. Kat says:

    Wonderful essay… Sounds like you really enjoy this yoga stuff?? haha.. I don’t think there is a more deserving person for this scholarship. good luck bff :)

  63. Ryan Dejak says:

    Rachel is a beautiful person – inside and out! This scholarship would help her share her love, talents, and positive energy with the masses!

  64. Jenn Herriger says:

    Rachel, your words are inspiring! Good luck to you!

  65. Kate Eberline says:

    Your essay is so well written, Rachel! You are so deserving of this opportunity, and I wish you the best of luck! xo.

  66. Tom Moynahan says:

    A terrific young lady and most deserving!

  67. Mark says:

    Good luck !!

  68. debbie obrien says:

    what a wise woman you have become! and in only 26 years. it took me 51…and I’m still not there…maybe I should try yoga. God bless….you so deserve this!

  69. Ashley says:

    Love this, good luck Rachel, much love and elefantes

  70. sarah says:

    Good luck!

  71. Paula Gonzalez says:

    awesome

  72. Kevin says:

    A+ essay! Good luck – you deserve the scholarship!

  73. YaLing says:

    May you bring yoga to more people, inspire them enjoying themselve in yoga as we were!

    Best Wishes and Love from Taiwan island,
    YaLing:D

  74. Bob E G says:

    Best of luck!

  75. jodi says:

    good luck–namaste.

  76. Erica says:

    Everyone at Devotion is here to support you through this process ( and trust me YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT!)

    Good luck with everything!

    -Erica

  77. Sara Grimsgaard says:

    This is so neat Rachel… Best of luck!!!

  78. Greg says:

    Thanks for making my first yoga class so enjoyable!

  79. Beth says:

    This is awesome, Rachel!! Good luck!! :o)

  80. Britt says:

    Great essay!! I wish you the best of luck :)

  81. Chris says:

    Nicely done, friend! Can’t think of a more deserving candidate

  82. Karl says:

    Cause baby you’re a firework
    Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
    Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
    As you shoot across the sky-y-y

  83. KP says:

    Rachel, this essay is fabulous. And so are you! XOXO

  84. Elise says:

    Good luck, Rachel!

  85. Andi says:

    Best of luck, Rachel!!

  86. Chris says:

    Really Great essay Rachel…you get it in the bag! They would be foolish not to choose you…

  87. Brian says:

    Awesome essay – good luck to you, Rachel

  88. Christina Devlin says:

    Great essay! I hope they pick you!

  89. Lauren says:

    Rachel brings calm to any room.

  90. Megan Kiefer says:

    Nicely written rach! You’ll make a great yogi bear

  91. Steve C. says:

    Rach, awesome essay! No one deserves this more than you. Good luck!

  92. Karen Lee says:

    Rae!
    wow! I am soooo proud that you have decided to follow your heart.
    Your essay is beautiful, your insight, mature. Go for it. You will be a wonderful yogi.
    I look forward to being a student in one of your classes very soon.
    I love you. Namaste.

  93. Deborah Jacoby says:

    Beautifully written essay and person! lots of love! GOOD LUCK!

  94. James says:

    Rach is the best! She deserves this!

  95. Michele DeVine says:

    Good Luck!

  96. Sharon says:

    Best of luck Rachel, hope you get it 😉

  97. Eileen Patterson says:

    Hi Rachel! Good luck on your teacher training, I know you will get it! Your energy is perfect for guiding yoga practice. Glad to hear you are doing so well!

  98. meghan says:

    Go Rachel!

  99. meghan says:

    Good Luck Rachel!

  100. Rebecca K says:

    “My yoga practice has taught me that each day will be different; each will have its strengths and weaknesses, its trials and tribulations but you never have nowhere to go for you always have yourself to come home to.” Way to go, Rachel. Awesome essay. Good luck!

  101. Roberta D says:

    WOW! Very moving and powerful. You are a wonderfully strong woman and am personally very proud of you :-)
    Rae Rae rocks!

  102. Tom Botwin says:

    Good luck Rachel!

  103. Molly O’Brien says:

    I love you!!

  104. Marc Sink says:

    Good luck!

  105. Ed DelSole says:

    Your written words are moving as usual. Hope you are doing well :-)

  106. Shan says:

    Chibs this essay is amazing! Very well written- I am very impressed! Good luck, and I am praying they pick the right person.. YOU! xoxo

  107. Dan Neenan says:

    good luck Rachael Chibs

  108. roza says:

    So proud of you Rae :) That’s a huge lesson to realize takes a lot of introspection, self-awareness, and yes-self love. You’d be perfect! Good luck… I miss you!!

  109. Melissa Shannon says:

    You’re amazing Rachel. Best of luck to you on your journey. I hope to take a class of yours someday :)

  110. anthony younes says:

    This is great… rachel is great… just give it to her… she will be a fantastic instructor

  111. Teddi b says:

    Way to go Rachel! Beautiful essay! Xo

  112. Daniel says:

    I enjoyed your self reflection and believe that you have a lot to give to others. You will make a great yoga teacher. Good luck!!

  113. Cheryl McKereghan says:

    best of luck Rachel

  114. kaitlin says:

    so proud of you, rachel! you are an inspiration. i’m going to go do some yoga right now. someday soon, i hope to take a class led by you!

  115. daniel says:

    thanks for teaching me sun salutations way back when. because of you, i now do the five tibetan stretches every morning. really hope you get this!

  116. Al says:

    Lovely essay. Best of luck!

  117. K says:

    Sending positive vibes your way! Namaste.

  118. Mark G says:

    Go Rae. I know you’ll be a great yoga instructor.

  119. Fred Yarmolowicz says:

    Your heart felt essay shows your maturity and your ability to do what you feel is right and not what others feel is right. It is difficult to help others when your heart is not in what you do. You are a perfect fit for this journey .

  120. Karen says:

    Excellent essay Rae. Good luck!

  121. Nancy says:

    Such an inspiration. I support you

  122. Casey says:

    I love you Rachel. You are one of the most beautiful, self-reflective, and generous spirits I have ever met.

  123. andria says:

    One of the cutest free spirits I know, Good Luck Rach! Sending those + vibes your way!

  124. Laura Adriana says:

    Good luck :)

  125. Carly says:

    Good luck Rachel! You absolutely deserve this!

  126. Jamie says:

    Beautifully written! Good luck!

  127. al diamond says:

    wonderful essay, it takes a lot of courage to leave the comfort and security of a sure thing to embark on a new journey. But I am sure you will do fine. Best of luck, I am happy for you.

  128. Regina says:

    Good luck!! :)

  129. Alexis C says:

    Amazing essay Rachel! You deserve this :)

  130. cousin seymour says:

    boy does time fly by, good luck Rae cousin seymour

  131. Donald Vitelli says:

    From what I have read I strongly believe you will make a great Yoga instructor not only helping yourself but also others. Rachell, you also have a way with words and inbetween being a Yoga instructor perhaps you could find time to write a colume, weekly in your local newspaper…on whats going on in the Yoga world….Best of everything for you….donald

  132. Natalie says:

    Your words in your essay ring so true! I was most moved by the statement: “my yoga practice has taught me that each day will be different; each will have its strengths and weaknesses, its trials and tribulations but you never have nowhere to go for you always have yourself to come home to.” This is so incredible true and a lesson I feel as though I have to learn over and over…! Having gotten to know you in Scranton and remembering your interactions with the other freshmen at the time, this role of instructor fits you well! Best of luck with the Yoga Scholarship! -Natalie

  133. bruce wallen says:

    Good luck Rachel,you deserve it,you’d make a great instructor
    Bruce

  134. ronni says:

    You are so talented. Everything you do, you do so well.

  135. Patrick says:

    Good luck!

  136. Joe says:

    You can do it! Good luck Rachel

  137. Erin says:

    I loved your essay! Good luck, Rachel!

  138. Dawn says:

    i felt compelled to vote for you, may your journey on yoga matt and off bring you much joy

  139. Kimmie says:

    What a great essay. I enjoyed reading about your journey to date. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your journey.

  140. Sally says:

    What a beautiful essay, Rachel! I really hope that you win the scholarship. I think it would be incredibly well-deserved. I’d also love for you to write more (if you’re not already). This is so beautifully written. My experiences with yoga have not been very positive and reading your essay makes me want to come to my mat. Well, buy a mat at least! Fingers crossed for you!

  141. Jess says:

    Fantastic essay and from a fantastic woman. Well deserved.

  142. Brad Russell says:

    Fantastic essay, Rachel. I hope you get the scholarship and I hope to come to one of your classes in the future.

  143. Michael O'Steen says:

    Love you and your essay!

  144. Hany Abdallah says:

    Yep, it’s all true. Yeahhh Rache!

  145. alli says:

    all the best to you, Rachel :)

  146. Sarah says:

    Rachel, you are a beautiful writer and yogini. I am so honored that you want to do our training. I felt an immediate connection to you too when we met! Good luck with this scholarship:) Sarah, Director, FlorYoga

  147. Amanda Lusk says:

    I don’t think I could ever know anyone who deserves this honor more than Rachel. Your essay was amazing and just confirms what those who meet you already know. You are a smart, classy and beautiful woman. Best of luck to you!!

  148. Jeanne Mauermeyer says:

    wonderful essay ~ and from all comments made you are most deserving of the honor ..BEST OF LUCK !

  149. LeAnna Fisher says:

    Beautiful!

  150. Stephenie says:

    By reading Rachel’s essay, it is clear that she was able to dig deep within herself and find her motivation and true calling. As such, Rachel is now in the position of bringing the benefits of yoga to others: strength and peace. She is deserving of this honor and the public would benefit greatly. Namaste.

  151. sandi says:

    Loved the essay. Best of luck to a beautiful young woman.

  152. edvige says:

    great essay… and very inspiring! whether you win the contest or not, know that you have already won in so many ways… congrats nonetheless!
    EG

  153. edvige says:

    I meant to say – GOOD LUCK, nonetheless! So here’s another comment :-)

  154. Patrice Boyle says:

    Best of Luck!

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