I imagined Cape Cod to have cozy little houses with American flags out front, sea grass on the bay shores, and families relaxing, riding bikes and eating ice cream. I kinda nailed it! But there is one more thing these vacationers like to do- come sweat for 90 minutes each morning before kicking back!
The studio in Cape Cod is Bikram Yoga Brewster, owned by Ann Marie Paul. Ann Marie not only welcomed me to her team, she also opened her home to me. The house is right next to the bay and just a few miles from the ocean. She and I get along great and I really found a role model in her as well. She has competed and won several titles in the USA Yoga Asana competitions and has an amazing practice. She teaches a very encouraging and informative class and makes yogis of all abilities feel welcome at her school. Her knowledge and outlook on life is uplifting and she always answered all my questions about healthy living. My teaching and my practice both changed here over these couple months.
From the first class I taught here, I felt a shift in my teaching. Okay, maybe I say that about every job but its true every time! Here, I became so comfortable and purposeful in my role. I felt connected with the students and with the yoga. At this point I have practiced at over 40 different studios, asking questions to as many teachers and students as possible. I have also participated in several seminars, done lots of research, and, well, taught a few hundred classes! My body has completely transformed, I barely recognize myself in the mirror, and my mind has completely transformed too. Any obstacles thrown my way are only making me stronger instead of tearing me down as they have in the past. I feel like I am doing exactly what I was meant to do with my life—and, wow, that is such a feeling!
My summer in Cape Cod was mostly this: teaching and practicing as much yoga as possible, riding my bike, relaxing at the beach, and chowing down fresh salads! My brother also visited me a couple times since he lives just an hour and a half away in Boston. That was really special for us to hang out like that. There weren’t other yoga teachers here and actually not many young people in general so I also spent a lot of time trying to make friends with myself. They say you’ll never be alone if you can make friends with yourself.
This summer I also attended a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. If you haven’t heard of this, it is a meditation technique taught at a retreat run solely on donations of those who have finished a course. Basically, you go to the facility (about 100 others were there at the same time) and you meditate for 10 hours a day for ten days. You don’t speak, read, write, exercise... nothing! There is some guidance on how to do this technique but it is very self-directed and very challenging. I am really glad I went to this retreat because I had no meditation experience before. If you want to know more about my experience and how it changed my thinking, you can email me and I’d love to tell you about it, but I don’t really want to put an image of what it is in your head if you aren’t going to learn more because a summary may not do it justice. Returning to yoga after ten days of little movement was a very humbling experience; I was weak and couldn’t do all the postures. I felt ok with this though, I felt okay going into a class knowing I was just going to have to struggle more than usual. I feel I can thank my regular practice for this patience and awareness.