A career in teaching yoga is something I very much want to manifest in my life. However, it is more than a mere desire; teaching yoga is my calling, if you will. Along the journey of self-discovery, there exist the kind of paths that wind their way to you, as if sent straight from the heavens, and ask simply that you take that first step. And so was my fate with the path of yoga. The sojourn began with a tender knock of providence upon the door to my latent destiny. In the many years since our love affair began, my personal yoga practice has exquisitely transformed every aspect of my being.
In the meantime, I have become a teacher by trade. Albeit, my students are of the academic kind and my classroom is not the yoga studio- not yet anyways. Teaching and tutoring high school students is another engagement born out of the fertility of circumstances in my life. It turns out, however, that I love to teach and my students consistently reward me with their enthusiasm, dedication, growth, and gratitude. These two paths have been gradually merging beneath my feet and all signs now point in the direction of the gift which this scholarship may grant- teaching yoga. Everyone deserves to experience the healing gifts of yoga! As a teacher, it would be my great honor to be part of the vessel that transports others to a more peaceful and fulfilling life.
My aunt, Suzanne Marlow is not only my favorite yoga teacher, but my goddess of inspiration and guidance as well. Her daily life, on and off the yoga mat, is infused with contemplative self-inquiry and expansion of self, joyful adventure, profound appreciation, and enriching relationships. She offers her wisdom, compassion, and radiance to all whom cross her path. I have been blessed with her presence in my life, and feel incredibly grateful to receive her many gifts. She teaches a yin style slow Vinyasa flow that, in her words, “is designed to enhance our awareness, and to discover conditioned patterns held in the body and mind that prevent us from realizing the truth of who we are”.
This slow flow allows for sustained connection to breath and facilitates the patience and fortitude we can use to go deeper. Her gentle and loving messages saturate every class with profound insight and mindfulness. She intuits exactly what her students need on any given day and begins each class with a meditation to set an intention rooted in authenticity of self. She harnesses that focused energy and carries it throughout each class. When she speaks, the wisdom of the universe flows through her. As if without any effort at all, she freezes illusion in its tracks and melts it with her words.
One of my first true yoga teachers, and, to a certain degree, the man who set it all in motion, Kishan Shah, studied under Shiva Rea at Exhale Center for Sacred Movement. My experience as a student under Kishan led me to choose this same training for myself. Kishan has a palpable passion for yoga and a steadfast conviction in its ability to transform. My spirit instantaneously connected to his yogic style and my body began to thank me for accessing unrealized potential. His classes exemplify the balance of yin and yang, lunar and solar, feminine and masculine.
Immersing myself in the dynamic sequence of asanas, or Prana flow, as Shiva calls it, felt like coming home. It became not only a physically challenging exercise in my life, but a means of transcending the limiting messages of the mind to reach new levels of aliveness and strength. I appreciate the depth of this training beyond the physical asanas it teaches, to include the spiritual, cultural, intellectual, and psychological spheres. Shiva’s training is immersed in the ancient Indian healing tradition of Ayurveda, a holistic medicine that I am very attracted to and have explored deeply through my travels to India. In addition to my curiosity for Ayurveda, I am especially interested in the teachings of Mystic Studies and Sacred Activism offered in this training.
As a yoga teacher, my purpose will be to help others come home to themselves. Through teaching, I hope to expand the community of mindful beings and foster connectivity to self and others. Beginning and ending each class with a short meditation, I will gently guide my students back to their breath, to a level of awareness where they can find the freedom to access and embody their truest intentions. In the studio, I will aim to create a space for self-reflection and discovery, removal of stress, and sanctification of mind, body, and spirit. This serene and safe, yet invigorating and empowering environment will allow my students to let go, transcend the captivity of self-limiting beliefs, find clarity, and experience the pure joy of existence. If my students walk away with a smile gracing their faces, I will have done my job well.
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Hannah Fries
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