Just tonight, I made the happy discovery that my picture and profile have been uploaded onto the “Teachers” section of the Urban Ashram Manila website. This gives leave to the rest of the world to finally relate to me as a yoga instructor—yehey! (Does a little jig in celebration.)
It’s a little strange, but of the many things I’ve accomplished over three decades of existence, becoming a yoga instructor is one of my hands-down favorites. If anyone had bothered to extrapolate my possible futures taking my physical and temperamental profiles as a child into account, “writer” would have probably made the list, but “yoga instructor” never.
As a child, my social aloofness was exceeded only by my physical ineptitude. It’s actually a minor miracle of sorts that I lived through the athletic debacles of my earlier years (trage-comedies that included two near drowning incidents and various accidents involving tennis rackets, tennis balls, bowling balls, volleyballs, golf clubs, golf balls, ping pong paddles, ping pong balls, badminton rackets, badminton shuttlecocks, roller skates and roller blades). Why the accidents were so frequent was because I happened to inhabit a social milieu that had a peculiarly Greek fascination with physical prowess. It didn’t matter that I was clearly more of an Athena than an Artemis—I had to engage in sports regardless of how potentially humiliating (and simultaneously hilarious) the outcome.
Now, I didn’t get into yoga to prove a point. I actually got into yoga in spite of several points (all of them against me). It took a long while for me to realize that I was actually making progress (childhood beliefs can be annoyingly tenacious). And even after I started realizing that I possessed a certain degree of proficiency, it didn’t occur to me to be an instructor until a fellow participant at a Zen meditation retreat I was attending asked me to lead the morning yoga session. That invitation planted a seed that eventually bore fruit more than four years later.
And now that I’m a teacher, I’m profoundly grateful for all the years that I literally just sucked. Because now, when I have a student walk in and tell me that they don’t think they can do anything, I can look them in the eye and tell them: I couldn’t do anything either and look at what I do for a living now.
Who woulda thunk?