When I was reading T. Thorn Coyle’s Make Magic of Your Life, I had an epiphany. A desire had been lurking in the bottom of my heart for years, and even though I kept discounting it, it continued to surface. Last month, I finally listened and took the plunge.
I’m going to participate in a yoga teacher certification program.
Although my yoga practice has been consistent (if a bit lazy) for years, there’s always been a little voice whispering in my ear that someday I would be good enough to train to become a teacher.
“Good enough” is a myth.
I used to say that I’d commit to teacher training when I had more time, or more money, or perhaps when I wasn’t afraid to do a headstand, or maybe even once I had the strength built up to fly in crow pose. But I didn’t commit to making those changes; I just kept practicing once a week in the studio, and maybe one evening at home.
Finally, I came to the realization that nothing was going to change unless I created the changes I wanted.
This realization had been building while I was reading Coyle’s book, but what gave me the final push was a mala and mantra workshop that I attended at a local yoga studio with a dear friend.
The workshop coincided with my late February birthday, and I was excited to celebrate in such a meditative way. Our instructor, a soft-spoken woman with a radiant aura that matched her smile, went out of her way to create an exercise that would be both creative and spiritually fulfilling. She provided all the supplies and instructions to craft our own sets of mala beads, and she even had a stack of beautifully printed cards with a range of mantras. The possible choices included Sanskrit devotions to a number of Hindu deities, as well as simple messages in English wishing for peace, health, and joy.
Although I intended to select a mantra that would deepen my creative connection, I found myself pulled to this mantra instead: Om shreem maha Lakshmiyei namah. It roughly means, “I honor the blessings of the goddess Lakshmi, and I invite her abundance into my life.”
Tucking this mantra into my mind, I knelt on the familiar floor of the studio beside my friend. We began to string our beads, quietly talking as we worked, and at one point, she asked me where I planned to be by my next birthday, a year from now. I’m settled and content in my home here in North Carolina, so I answered her question with dreams.
I began by telling her of my writing goals, and then after a pause, I whispered, “Maybe I’ll even take yoga teacher training.”
I kept my eyes firmly on my beads, not wanting to see any skepticism on her face, but her enthusiastic response surprised me. “That makes so much sense to me! I can totally see you as a yoga teacher.”
Embarrassed, I thanked her and quickly turned the question around to her, but the thought began buzzing in my mind. I finished my mala, charging it by repeating the mantra I had chosen, but my mind didn’t stray from the idea that I might actually be able to become a yoga teacher.
That night at home, I couldn’t let go of the idea. Finally, I grabbed my laptop and began to search. I was well aware of the basic teacher trainings on offer in my area, since I’d fantasized about them often, but this time, my internet searching turned up a different program. I discovered that a studio nearby would be offering the complete 200+ hour training over the course of a three-week summer intensive. The start date coincided with the end of my summer teaching commitment at the community college.
As the pieces fell into place, I felt my resistance melting away. Still, I worried that I wouldn’t be “good enough” to undertake such a challenging training. But as I sat in front of my altar that night, reciting my chosen mantra for one hundred and eight times as I made the first circuit of my mala beads, I understood what I needed to do. I needed to commit and pursue this desire, even if I thought for whatever reason I might not deserve it or be worth it. (That’s really what “good enough” means, isn’t it? Am I worth it?)
And so I made three promises to myself: I would devote time every night to working with the mantra and beads, I would apply for the teacher training, and if I were accepted, I would increase my weekly yoga practice immediately so that I could build strength and feel more confident when the training rolls around this summer.
I have kept all three promises.
It’s been over a month since I decided to follow this desire, and every night before bed, I work through my mantra and connect with Lakshmi. Although I’ve never really worked with any eastern deities, I have invited Lakshmi as the patron of my ever-deepening yoga practice, and her mantra has helped smooth away some of my fears. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still a little bit concerned about not being “good enough”, but I believe that this is worth it.