Note from the Editor: Evolve just finished a Yoga Teacher Training course- and we couldn’t possibly be more excited about our graduates! You’ll likely be hearing from a few of them in the coming weeks, this week you get to hear from Lindsay Strong- a woman of many talents and passions who is sure to move mountains!

Yoga-Teacher-Training-Iowa1Hi. I’m Lindsay and I’m addicted to chaos. I think we all are, to a certain degree. We plan our lives around it—stress and anxiety pretty much underscore our lives. We worry about what we might do with our lives, how we’ll make money, when we’ll find the loves of our lives and become real grown-up adults. What I’ve learned is that none of that requires stress.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life fighting against the current, trying to force myself into boxes (although, most of these boxes have been self-constructed). I am not one to tip toe into life, I tend to dive in headfirst at full force and hope that my own body is strong enough to catch me. What I’ve learned time and time again is that it is. I am enough. It has taken me a lot of work and a lot of love to get myself to this point. Seven weeks ago, if you were to have told me that the words “I am enough” would be part of my vocabulary I would have laughed at you, probably hugged you, and definitely called you a princess (it’s my favorite and admittedly very odd term of endearment, okay?).

Over the course of my life, I’ve become a firm believer in taking chances and I follow my instincts almost 90% of the time. This tendency has taken me down some incredible roads. I’ve made lifelong, beautiful friends, found myself in random countries around the world, and planted my feet firmly on a yoga mat beside 15 other incredible human beings for the last 6 weeks of my life. And it’s been in the last 6 weeks that my life has changed dramatically. The irony of writing this is that the words for how my life has been so altered cannot be found. It’s the kind of thing you just have to experience to really understand it. I’ll do my best to paint whatever picture I can but the first step for anyone hoping to really get it, to really experience it, is to find your way to a yoga mat.

I’ve been so struck at the ways in which my worldview has changed. While I still definitely get roadrage-y (hey, not everything can change), I find myself genuinely excited by life and so remarkably positive that I sometimes wonder who snuck Prozac in my morning coffee. But it’s not drugs at all! It’s yoga! I’ve found a place to work through whatever problems I might have—my beautiful lilac yoga mat. I’ve found people with whom I can share these experiences—everyone in my new yoga family at Evolve (and everyone in general. I’m pretty jazzed to talk about this with, like, anyone. And I do. A lot). What yoga teacher training has given me is access to my own voice. This voice I’d been so afraid of for so long, so entrenched in the belief that I wasn’t good enough to ask for what I need from the universe.

What I’ve learned on my mat and through this process of becoming a yoga teacher is that all I’ve needed to find, everything I’ve been searching for has been mine the entire time.

We aren’t born broken, we are born with everything we will need to carry us through our lives. I have been fortunate enough to discover that revelatory space. So, consider this an invocation for exploration and an honest encouragement to chase down whatever it is you’re aching to know.

I’ve begun to see the practice of yoga as a metaphor for life. The postures or asanas (viva la Sanskrit!) are only a portion of the yoga practice, they are the examination questions, our breath the answers. These postures are meant to provide a certain level of stress to our bodies, asking us to maintain our steady and controlled breath throughout the practice. When we learn to do this, we become more capable of maintaining this steady and controlled breath off of our mats, in the world we live in—the one full of stress. We learn to ground ourselves while still reaching for the stars. We learn to feel our emotions, to allow ourselves to be exactly as we are without judgment. We learn to extend this generosity to those around us. We challenge our strength, both mentally and physically, carefully weighing our options and choosing for ourselves where we need to be strong. I have learned more about life from the comfort and safety of my yoga mat. That’s why it’s called a practice, I think.

Yoga allows us to acknowledge our limitations without having to dwell in them. Every practice is a first one; we learn to listen very carefully to ourselves and to the world around us. Each yoga class is split up into a series of sequences—postures that flow fluidly from one to the other, a metaphorical journey on our mats. As this, my opening sequence—my yoga teacher training—comes to a close, my journey reaches it’s next beginning point. I can’t wait to share this passion and love with the world.

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