The Start of a New Thing: Blogging Through 6 Months of Yoga Teacher Training

I haven’t written in SO long. Sorry, friends. This semester was hard. SO hard. Emotionally, physically, mentally. God is doing a work in my life and that anvil ain’t a comfortable place to hang out for long. I’m so glad He’s good and I can trust Him. 

Here’s what’s new:

I am completely stoked to be (finally) on the path to more education AND a new career that will totally compliment the one I have now. I cannot see myself teaching music at this volume for many years- it is simply too taxing and overwhelming to manage so many different studios in so many locations. I absolutely adore my students. Adore them. But with the body God gave me and my other desires, which include having a family someday and staying home with my own kiddos when the time comes, I have to think creatively about how to continue to help with our income. 

So, starting on Friday the 10th, the weekend that I turn 25, I am beginning yoga teacher training and I am completely, out-of-my-mind excited. And really, really nervous too. Like, really, really. I’m training in hatha yoga and will be studying the Yoga Sutra and other yogic texts. I’ll be learning enough Sanskrit to be fluent in yoga-speak and the anatomy will probably be pretty intense too. The biggest thing is the whole keeping Jesus at the Center deal. Because, to know yoga the way I want to, I’ve got to know where it came from and it was born out of some really intense religious philosophies. Now, I’m no stranger to studying super secular stuff and reclaiming it for Jesus. I mean, come on, some of that classical music is crazy pagan. But, learning another religion intensely does make me nervous… not that I’ll lose my own faith, heck no. Just that I won’t have the strength or courage to be a true, obvious Christ Follower in this environment. Friends, please pray that God will grow my courage and give me the bravery to be His in a dark place! 

What’s really hard for me is that yogis are SO accepting… they are SO kind and SO not judgmental… I mean, they practice such kindness. I just love them. But, I understand why they might get frustrated that I am not “tolerant” of others’ beliefs. (I HATE THE WORD “TOLERANT,” BTW. My students are taught in school that “tolerance” is a character trait. Ha. It’s just a nice word for being a total pansy. I don’t want to just “tolerate” people. I want to LOVE them. Tolerance is a total pansy cop-out. Forget tolerance. How about LOVE? Tolerating something is so much easier than loving someone. Seriously. End Rant.) 

Anyway, I’m nervous about standing out and being firmly rooted in Jesus. Root down in Jesus to rise up in faith. That’s easy among Christians. But among those who practice other beliefs, it makes me feel like an intolerant jerk. (I. hate. that. word.) 

My other fear is that my body will put up a fight. My joints get SO sore when I go too far and too far is pretty easy for me to achieve without realizing it. So, prayers for my wisdom, patience, and to lay down my competitive spirit would be greatly appreciated. 

I’m sitting in a M.E.S.S. right now and need to go do a crazy-butt-load of dishes, clean the refrigerator, sort the laundry, vacuum and clean the carpet, sweep and mop floors… And, I’m writing instead. Here’s the deal: FREEDOM is my word for 2014. Jesus is speaking freedom into my life in every place. Especially the deepest down, scary ones. On the surface, I’m making decisions that display freedom to my own heart and mind, such as finally writing again rather than doing the dishes, which will be there after this post is published. Yesterday, I slept in AND took a nap. Because I go back to work next week and I start teacher training and my body needs me to let it rest when it asks. And, I am free to take a nap because Jesus is my provider and He wants me to enjoy His rest. What a load off, man. For this girl who fights her body every day and refuses to accept its limitations, this is a major big thing. 

Ty joined my gym and we’ve been working out together and it is way fun. Freedom to hang out with husband. Freedom to smile. Freedom to not feel so ridiculous guilty all the time. 

Here’s one: Freedom to admit that I am a sinner. To stop fighting it and accept my Savior and to just admit that I need to be saved by someone who’s qualified to do the saving (read: not me). 

Freedom to live unashamedly in a community. We joined our church as partners this week and I am telling you, I’m terrified. Community means I can’t hide out anymore. These people won’t let me. Light is being shined on my darkest places and I am really uncomfortable about that.

How about this? Freedom to take a clarinet lesson. I did it. I had my first lesson since graduating from Eastman. I have no muscles and can barely play, but my incredible teacher and friend told me to play with no fear of judgement and she told me to be free. She actually told me to release my sound from one note to the next and let it be free. Those words. I told her that I am afraid. I am afraid of what will come out of my instrument. I’m so afraid of every note. She told me, “freedom.” Stop grasping and squeezing and gasping and controlling. Release. Freedom. 

I can’t believe how afraid I am to play my instrument. I can’t believe this fear has squeezed my heart so tight. And I am SO humbled that God is so actively saving me from my fear. He provides people who speak life and tell me my feelings are not shameful and that I CAN be courageous. 

I can be brave. I can be free. 

I’m going to blog through my teacher training experience, so stay tuned!




legs-up-the-wall and jesus speaking

I am NOT a meditator and I am not a very focused pray-er. My brain does somersaults and cartwheels and starts singing random songs (mary had a little lamb little lamb little lamb jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way oh what fun I’ll be hoooooome for Christmas youuuuuuuu can couunnnntttt on meeeeee!!!!!) (being a music teacher is grand) and I cannot focus for any length of time without a musical number interruption. Lately, I’ve been sticking to my guns about my yoga practice, mostly because my doctor has been booked up during my available times and I absolutely know that no legs-up-the-wall tonight means no sitting in a chair without gnashing of teeth tomorrow. So I have been doing this thing every day. It isn’t long and it isn’t impressive- it just is what my spine (and my heart ) needs from day to day. I’ve been trying hard (my TCM doctor would say, “stop trying. just do.”) to set my intention on Jesus. Sometimes I can focus for real and I can really slow down and hear him speak. This is growth for me because I am a really good talker and not so good on the listening front. Want to know what he said to me the other day while my legs were in the air? 

“I know your desires better than you do. I know what you really, deeply want. What you think you want is not really what you want. I know this because I made your heart with all of its desires in place. Katie, I know you. I will give you the true desires of your true heart as I know it and made it to be.” 

So when I turn off the broadway show in my head and stop the mental twirling, I can hear him and what he says is good. I believe him and I’m writing it here so I can come back and read it when I forget. Thanks for yoga, Jesus. Thanks for knowing my heart and giving good things. Thanks for giving hard things that make me break enough to stop and listen because I’m desperate and I need you. 


Hey Internet Friends,

I love being a music teacher- it is such a fun job. I get to enjoy all of these cool kids and watch them learn and grow and develop. They are so great. One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to consistently learn right along with my kiddos. I have been able to discover so many things about how to play the clarinet just by having to explain what to do to make a sound to a bunch of students. At Eastman, I had to rush to learn things- it was always a hurry. Every week there were new etudes and excerpts and pieces of literature on which I was expected to make extreme progress. And I did make this progress and it was fantastic. But it was always such a rush from week to week. Sometimes I could really really really tell my teacher was really really really frustrated with me when I couldn’t just “get it” right there and then in my lesson. He has this habit of getting really really really loud in those situations. He really meant it! But he didn’t always say things clearly. He wouldn’t often attempt to say things in different words to try to help me understand the concept. This, I have found, is just so important for a teacher. 

When I find myself getting frustrated with a kid, I am oh so not perfect. Sometimes I also get louder and louder and louder until I start to see a look of “oh no, aghhh!” on the kid’s face. That’s a definite clue to chill. However, as I mature as a teacher, I am really attempting to chill before I see that look appear. This is the trick: find NEW words. Don’t just say the same thing. Most of the time, the student just needs to be communicated with in a different way. It takes patience. Oh my word, am I learning patience. 65 times a week, I am in my student’s clarinet lesson and my patience lesson simultaneously. And, the kicker? I’m also learning to play the clarinet more proficiently myself because sometimes my brain also needs to be communicated with differently and I actually teach myself when I change my words. It’s oh so cool. 

What have I learned from my students?

-How to voice my altissimo register

-That it is more than ok to cry

-That sharing music is the biggest blessing and playing duets with a 12-year-old is seriously fun

-That teachers are not always right

-Forgiveness is really important

-Sometimes, music isn’t the point of a 25 minute period of time because sometimes, just being human together can teach us both more about music and life than actually playing music ever could

-Imperfection is so beautiful so often

-Perfection is overrated (!!!) 

-Metronomes are really really really important

-Kids are totally full of wisdom

-Guarding my tongue vigilantly is absolutely a requirement of life 

-Being a mom is going to be really hard

-Trust God with the lives and development of the people He brings into my life and always be willing to share His grace with them

-My dream job is worth making a little less money than I would like

-Music is the best (Well, I already knew that.)