Finding Stillness – The Yoga of Transformation
There was this slow awakening in me until one day I decided: I am going to apply to yoga teacher training.
Teaching yoga is something I’d wanted for a long time, but still– the prompt came a little out of nowhere, and quietly. It took me matter-of-factly by surprise and was so clear and true that I immediately agreed.
At the time, I was working forty hours a week at Whole Foods Market, demonstrating and selling products. It was mostly mind-numbing work and usually paid my bills. Since I’ve always been something of a free spirit, I was proud of myself for being consistent, reliable, and great at what I did. But it was really quite soul sucking at times.
If it weren’t for wonderful coworkers and a fabulous boss, I would not have stayed nearly two years. In the midst of my consistent and predictable job that helped my parents sleep easier at night, the desire to finally do yoga teacher training bubbled up.
And the miracle is that I let it.
Cultivating The Seeds of Change
What seeds of actual, self-determining change had been planted in me that they were sprouting?
These seeds sprouted in a soil composed of many things, among them: emotional healing, a gnawing dissatisfaction with dances I taught and loved, and a genuine religiosity that had inexplicably soured. All of these oddball things gave birth to this next step in my life. What else could I do but say yes?
And so began my journey as a yoga teacher.
This “yes” led me down a path of deeper self acceptance, grounded my belief in my own worthiness, and continues to give rise to new possibilities.
My new assignments:
Go to the mat. Challenge yourself. Laugh at ego. Be kind to yourself. Walk away lighter, stronger, and deeper all at once. Not that I always or even usually succeeded at letting go of ego, but we call it practice for a reason.
Yoga has this allure of health and wellness and social bonus points. It’s still so goddamn trendy. You can mention doing yoga and feel just a little superior. Which, of course, is not yoga.
We have this beautiful idea of this practice. It allows you to sit with yourself, to be present with yourself. Don’t we all just want to be?
It sounds peaceful, but the truth is that when we sit in silence and practice presence with ourselves, that’s when feelings bubble up to the surface. Memories awaken. Things unresolved, things disquieting get right in our faces.
I mostly ran from these things for a long time. But we can choose to make friends with discomfort. We can lean into discomfort again and again, and in this way we can teach ourselves to respond instead of react. Each asana, each pranayama practice is an opportunity to breathe through the hard places, the easy places, the confusion, and the unknown. This is an intentional opportunity to continue to breathe in all circumstances.
And I gave it my best shot: I surrendered to the process.
Slowly, self compassion crept in.
Steadily, I became more present in my body, in myself.
Slowly, I began to be more kind to myself.
This yoga teacher training process gently opened me up and accelerated transformation in me. Sanskrit became my new best friend, and considering biomechanics created a whole new way to look at the goal of asanas. I found myself unexpectedly crying in savasana, releasing things I couldn’t even identify.
And I let myself cry, knowing no one was paying attention, and if they were, I would probably be finished by the time we eased up into a seated position.
One of the qualities that yoga aims to produce in us is sukha sthira, Sanskrit for ease and steadiness. The goal is to be active yet at ease, cultivating a gentleness throughout the work.
I began cultivating sukha sthira by allowing myself to be, and committing to the training.
By extending kindness to myself, and consistently meeting myself on my mat.
All of these things gave birth to transformation:
Clanging reaction became allowing response.
Judgment gave way to curiosity… finally.
Status quo turned into innovation and boldness.
And it is still only beginning. I am a newly certified yoga teacher, and I’m excited about this new journey.
Excited, and a little scared. Because I’ve taught dance for over ten years, I know the often bumpy road of learning to teach. I’m still figuring out what my strengths are, and what I want to focus on. I know I want my yoga teaching to lead me into travel and adventure, and I’m still creating and discovering those opportunities. What I do know is that I want to be present with my students on the mat.
I want to gift my students the discomfort of stillness and sinking in, holding some poses just a little longer than expected.
I want to challenge them physically and mentally. I want to be willing to disrupt expectations of what happens in a yoga class. I want to tweak alignment so safety and challenge are both maximized.
Most of all, I want to engage the breath, and in doing so, allow space for disquiet to rise to the surface… so my students have another opportunity to respond to themselves, and in doing so reap compassion, curiosity, and transformation.
About The Author
Megan Adair formally met yoga in 1997 and has explored several styles since then, including vinyasa, kundalini, and restorative. In 2015, she incorporated meditation into her practice which expanded her view of asana to include greater spiritual and emotional transformation.
In her classes, Megan seeks to challenge students with both movement and stillness. She brings a keen sense of awareness combined with humility, shalom-peace, and gratitude. You can also expect a healthy sense of humor and playfulness.
Megan adores movement, exploration, and groundedness as vehicles to promote the integration of mind-body-spirit. Yoga is one of her favorite ways to feel alive and whole in her own body, to be at home in her skin, and to foster growth and transformation. When she’s not doing yoga, Megan is probably dancing or teaching lindy hop, Charleston, or blues.