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!

Love,

Katie 

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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. 

 

I think I might just move in at Whole Foods. I don’t usually go into public places and make friends with strangers while shopping. However, this happens frequently at WF. Today, I went right after yoga to get the ingredients for these amazing avocado/hatch chili enchiladas (yummm). I was wearing my yoga clothes and no makeup and my hair was all hippy-ish. I wouldn’t be caught dead like that in many places, but the gym and WFs are totally game. There was this other chick there who could have been my sister- also sporting her yoga gear, minimal makeup, and hippy hair. We met at the kombucha refrigerator. She asked me if I knew that you could brew your own kombucha- I resolved to do this 2 days ago -and we had the lovliest chat about kombucha brewing and wished each other luck in our endeavors. Ha! I love kindred spirits. I am such a dork and I love it! 

My body was exhausted today and, gratefully, I didn’t have to work so I was able to recover with a lot of rest. Yoga was absolutely amazing and I felt improvement in my symptoms the moment class ended. So, so great. I have been working on focusing my intention on Jesus during my practice. This is REALLY hard for me because I like to compete with everybody in class. So un-yogic. But, that’s where His grace comes in and I get to enjoy this amazing hour of feeling my body using its strength and for a little bit, the weakness seems to melt away. 

Then, I came home and Husband was doing the dishes. 

Servant-Hearted Husband, Friendly Kombucha Girl, feeling my body become stronger and my heart refocus at yoga class, home-made enchiladas that were the bomb, and my first ever home-made chicken bone stock simmering on the stove. I like today.

If you’re reading this, you should leave me a comment. My blog is lonely. 

:] -Katie 

 

I wasn’t going to post this blog on Facebook quite yet, but I decided I would quite enjoy having some readers! So, thanks for reading! 

Today I did my very first real forearm stand at the wall!!! I wasn’t totally comfortable with my head position and I definitely feel some pain sensations in my cervical vertebrae, but HECK! I DID IT. It was so fun to feel so strong. I also have made a lot of progress with my upward facing dog and am feeling my lumbar spine start to bend more freely. I love this so much. I feel so weak so often and betrayed by my body. I have never thought of myself as “weak” but find myself feeling that this label is totally inevitable. Today, my body was really strong for about 40 minutes and the label was defied. Today was a victorious day! 

Ever since the last day I practiced clarinet the way I determined to spend my whole life practicing- the day I remember so well -I have struggled with the belief that others view me and label me as weak and lazy. I believe that in some cases this is warranted, but I also believe that, more often than not, I am simply projecting my fears on others and essentially accusing them of judging me in a manner that they are not. I am so thankful the Lord is actively freeing me from this perception of others as harsh and unable to understand or believe in my physical limitations. My greatest fear has always been that people will not love and accept me. This is so unfounded and such a silly lie from Satan. Though people may not accept me, Jesus has already claimed me as his own and in this I am free to be who he made me to be. Successful in the eyes of the world or not, I am Katie Whaley and I have an autoimmune disease and I am a clarinetist and I am a teacher and I love, love, love yoga and I am a wife and I am an organic-eating, tree-hugging hippy and I love tattoos. Also, I really like who God made me to be. 

I was so angry that I developed this disability or disease or whatever it is. (FYI some doctors have said fibromyalgia, but even if that is the case, I am not going about the treatment of the pain in any normal manner. I’m alllll about the holistic approach and I am a firm believer in simply using wisdom to approach the management of my pain and the total reliance on a God who knows my suffering to carry me through every day of my life.) I am SO not angry anymore. Gosh, I’m so thankful Jesus freed me from this. Now, I totally still get frustrated and cranky and overwhelmed and I take it out on my poor, sweet husband. But, ultimately I know I have finally been able to really and truly rest the state of my physical body in the hands of the Lord. 

Wellllll, maybe. I guess I need to be honest and speak some heart-revealing truth here. I haven’t totally trusted God. I still trust me. I trust that if I eat healthy and do yoga I can control my pain. To some extent, this is just simple wisdom speaking and, to some extent, it is self-reliant pride. Jesus can handle it. I really love healthy food and yoga, so I’m just going to keep it up and try really hard not to boast. I’m seriously, genuinely sorry, y’all, for when I go on and on about health related topics in a know-it-all manner. I like to say it is because I am passionate, but really I think it is because I am prideful. I’m sorry. 

So, anyway, I have found that yoga is totally a means of self-expression for me and that my artistic heart is fulfilled on my mat. Yoga is so beautiful and I am so grateful for the deep truths I have learned from yoga teachers and yoga practicers and from my own practice. Here’s a list. I think it’s cool, so hang in there with me. 

1. Practice is great but sometimes you have to just play (I have totally applied this to music!! Same super concept.)

2. Sometimes it looks really funny when I play around with a new pose. Laughing at myself is healing. 

3. Tuning into my body has shown me how to tune into my heart. 

4. I can feel my spine. I can FEEL my spine! 

5. The muscles I use for downward facing dog are the exact muscles I use to support my clarinet tone. 

6. Watching a room full of clarinet students do downward facing dog for the first time is seriously entertaining. 

7. Parallel learning is the bomb.com. 

8. There is a good kind of sore and a bad kind of sore. Any risk of the bad kind of sore should be avoided even at the cost of the good kind of sore. (Basically, re-injury is bad and I can avoid it be paying really close attention to the sensations in my body.)

9. Competition is good- but only to a small extent. Teamwork is always the best way to learn. 

10. Grace. 

If you’ve never practiced *ahem* played around with yoga, please try it. It is so much fun and can potentially change your life. 

More important than yoga, if you have never met Jesus and you want to, let me know. He will most assuredly change your life. 

Hey hey! Leave a comment for me! 

Love,

Katie 

I have been meaning to start a new blog for a long time but I never actually do it because I am terrified that it will end up being a complete waste of time and that I will end up letting it just sit there taking up a cute domain name that somebody else who might actually, well, update her blog will cry over because I took it first. And because I always, always use run-on sentences in blog posts. Oh well.

I have been thinking about several little personality flaws of mine that all really come back to one obnoxious problem. I am TOTALLY competitive and COMPLETELY judgmental. (This blog is about speaking truth, right?) For example, today I went to the grocery store to get stuff to make tacos for a dinner party. I got in my car and pulled out of the driveway and got annoyed at like every car driver around me. I am so mean (inside my head) to other drivers when they, you know, heaven forbid, drive on the same road as me. This taxi driver didn’t pull up to a red light quickly enough (not like we can go any further any faster anyway) and I start thinking, “Wow he’s slow. How can he possssssibly drive for a living. Gee what an annoying driver.KJWBFL.jbgjbWG.KJAMS VMNK;AFNW;GOKNA.Mjkaebg.” Then I go into the grocery store and do my shopping and get inwardly mad at the VERY first people to walk by me because they were walking too slowly. (Why in the world am I in such a hurry anyway? Yoga-time for Katie. Can I get an “Amen!” ??) Thennnn I finish my shopping and stand in line to check out. You know what I did? I started thinking about how I didn’t like the outfits the people in front of me were wearing. Dude, hang on a sec. I am one to talk. My style is totally quirky and weird and I bet people judge my fashion choices every day. Then, I think, “Hey, I really like the check-out chick’s tattoo. I’m going to be nice and tell her.” So I tell her. She doesn’t really respond and I start judging myself with a bunch of, “You are sooo socially awkward. Why did you think you could just tell her her tattoo is pretty. OF COURSE SHE KNOWS IT IS SHE HAD IT PERMANENTLY INKED INTO HER SKIN, YOU MORON.” Ok. If that is one grocery store trip, I am a piece of work. Oh, by the way, the tattoo chick ended up being really nice. We finally broke the ice when she asked for my birthdate and saw that we are birth year buddies. Now we’re cool.

Anyway, here’s another annoying thing about me. I get my feelings so hurt whenever anybody criticizes me or even disagrees with a decision I made. I want to be liked and I want to have everyone say nice things to me all the time and only nice things ever. But my hypocritical self is so mean to everyone… including me. I have to be the best and so I put other people down to lift myself up and when I see my own flaws so flagrantly out there for the world and me to see in neon lights, I put myself down for good measure. I am so competitive. Is it my music performance training or is it deeper? Well, how about both.

Now you probably think I’m so mean and you never want to meet me and why is her blog all girly if she’s a jerk. I really just told you all of these things to make sense of what I hope to accomplish through this blog. I really want the way I think to change. I know that my heart is where the change has to happen, so if I can speak loving truth from my heart, I will hopefully start to see my mind be renewed and lovely things will come out more often than not. Grace, man. It’s what I need always.

Anyway, this has been my heart lately: to speak beautiful truth into my life and the lives of others in word and action. To pray constantly and to live fully and to see what God might do with my hopes and dreams.

Love,

Katie