On the Blessings of the Unexpected (Part 2)

I got word today that I’d been accepted into a month-long teacher training certificate course for yoga based in what the website describes as the “paradise” of Boracay. The training—long dreamt about but perennially postponed—represents the beginning of yet another unexpected twist in my life.

As a child, I watched (with a kind of appalled dismay) my brother’s effortless competence in both worlds of intellectual and athletic endeavor. Growing up, our father introduced us to swimming, bowling, tennis and golf, while our schools and careers introduced us to soccer baseball, table tennis, basketball, volleyball and badminton. My brother, with characteristic indifference, developed a proficiency in more than half of the above, while I labored through a series of mishaps: two near drowning incidents (from swimming), a mashed thumb (from bowling), a near contusion (from golf), a bruised stomach (from soccer baseball), a swollen eye (from table tennis) and a battered hand (from badminton). At some point, I threw my (inept and uncoordinated) hands up, and gave up on the idea that I could ever possibly excel at anything remotely physical.

So when I stumbled onto yoga four years ago, shortly after I left the corporate world, it was with the resolutely resigned air of someone who knew she was already going to fail, so there was nothing left to fear. And: it was masochistic love at first sight. Everything hurt after that first session, including bits I never knew existed. But the beauty of it was that there was no mental room for feelings of incompetence or insecurity to arise—I was too busy trying to remember to breathe for any of that to occur.

I ended up taking only twelve sessions of Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga with a studio, but they were enough for the sequence of asanas (postures or positions) to imprint itself on my brain. And with just that, I practiced yoga on my own for the next four years—and discovered that my body possessed capabilities I never realized existed (i.e., touching my toes, doing a backbend, and most miraculously, standing on one foot all twisted like a pretzel without falling over).

So when my friend Pammy Jo, told me about the teacher training late last year, I thought: this is something I want to do. And for the first time in my life, it occurred to me that I could work with both body and mind, versus just the mind alone.

At last, at long, long, last, I could wreak the revenge of the nerd.


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