“I was in your Thursday morning class for the first time yesterday.” She said as she put her equipment away after class on Friday. “You were born to teach that class.”
“You can hear in your voice how much you love it. You need to teach it more often.”
“Oh, well, thank you!” I said while in my mind I thought, “I’m already teaching it 5 times/week — isn’t that enough?”
It wasn’t until hours later that I realized she wasn’t talking about my noon aqua fitness class. She was talking about the Thursday morning Fusion class: A class I felt I had no business teaching and one where I had no clue what I was doing. But that didn’t make sense. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing, I certainly didn’t speak as though I loved the class. I was only trying to survive it. How could she think that I was born to teach that style of class?
We called it Fusion because I wasn’t certified to teach yoga or pilates but knew enough of each to teach a class that combined those types of movements for a more mind-body focused class. But to say I was “born to teach it” — well, that was insane.
A compliment wrapped up in confusion. What did she mean? You can hear how much I love it? I don’t love it! I’m not even sure I like it. I thought about that exchange many times over the next 12-18 months. And then, like most random conversations, it got stored in a mental hard drive somewhere. It popped back into my mind at random intervals over the years, each time leaving me wondering once again, “What did she mean? What did she hear that I don’t hear?”
I had all but forgotten that conversation until a week or two ago when I was listening to a podcast or reading a book or something about yoga — I don’t remember exactly — But I do remember suddenly thinking, “she was right.”
This is what I’m meant to do and, even though I’ve only recently realized it, somehow, she saw it in me nearly a decade ago.
The more I study and learn about stress resiliency, the stress response, how we store trauma, and how powerful our breath is to our healing, the more I want to learn. I want to learn so that I can share with all of you and so that you are better able to help yourselves. Whether that’s through my classes, my online programs, free challenges I run — whatever. My purpose in life is to help teach others how to improve their stress resiliency, increase their vagal tone, to learn how to breath in a way that supports their health, instead of hindering it.
When I left my job to become a fitness instructor in 2007, I had no idea that any of this existed. I had no idea that stress resiliency was a “thing” until a year or so ago, and I certainly didn’t know how important the vagus nerve was to our nervous system all those years ago when I heard, “you were born to teach that class.”
And now, all I do is teach formats that rely heavily on the mind-body connection. The more I can teach people to reconnect their brain with their body and to use their breath to support them in times of stress, the happier I am.
I am much more excited to hear about your meditation practice and how it’s changing your life than I am to hear about how much weight you can squat. Squats are important too, but everyone in the county can teach you how to squat.
I’ve always wanted to help people — that’s why I became a fitness instructor — but I never dreamed that teaching them to breathe might be how I do that.
And yet here we are. And it’s what I love.
Who knew? Well, it looks like someone did.