On the Practice of Yoga, Part 2

I finished part two of three of a 300-hour program with Jason Crandell. That means 200 hours down, 100 more hours to go!

His wife, Andrea Ferretti, was a former editor at Yoga Journal and is the host and producer of the Yogaland podcast.

As a part of the second module, Andrea came in to give her insight on on storytelling, an art in itself. As a yoga teacher, you set yourself apart by the stories you tell through different mediums, such as a blog, the photos you share on your Instagram, or the videos you produce to put on your YouTube channel. Especially in a city like San Francisco that I live in, it is heavily-saturated with plenty of talented, skillful, and knowledgeable yoga teachers, being a storyteller is all the more important.

I love writing, I love words, and I love yoga. I’ll be sharing different reflections and thoughts, with prompts from Andrea. Here’s the second.

What’s a problem yoga helped you resolve and how?

Oh, this is a tough one. I think it boils down to what you consider to be a “problem.”

The problem of what the F to do with the rest of my life to let it have some meaning.

The problem of how to not be a shitty human being.

The problem of how to continue to heal yourself is a sustainable, manageable way after going through some trauma.

Photo by Alex Kacha

I’m going to go with the first thought that came to mind: The problem of what the F to do with the rest of my life to let it have some meaning.

I had a non-traditional college path. I needed to take two separate semesters off, and move from San Francisco back to San Diego to live with my parents. In those interim periods, I was afraid I would fall behind and found this time away from school to be inconvenient. I enrolled in online courses through the local community college one semester, and in the other semester, tried to make up that lost time by enrolling in summer and winter school courses. In spring 2010, I graduated with a BA in Communication Studies, and a minor in English Language Studies. I moved to Honolulu, HI later that summer to start a Master’s program in Linguistics at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.

I have always been fascinated with languages. Growing up with a mother whose first language was not English made me appreciate the ability to speak something other than English. I went to elementary school with other kids who spoke Laotian or Spanish, and I always wanted to be able to understand what they were saying to each other. One of my closest friends is trilingual in English, Spanish, and French, and has a relatively easy time picking up other phrases and words in other languages. Naturally, I decided to study bilingualism and language acquisition. If you’re interested, my study on Phonemic Loss Distinction in Bilingual Infants Vs. Monolingual infants can be read (starting on page 80) here.

But the truth is, is that I didn’t have any idea what to do after college. Going to graduate school felt like the safest option, that it was the obvious next step, and it was all my parents talked about. I went through grad school in one of the most iconic places in the world, yet I felt like it wasn’t what I was really supposed to be doing. I stuck around Honolulu for another year and a half after graduating working for a local insurance company, AlohaCare. AlohaCare was a Medicaid (known as QUEST in Hawaii) and Medicare provider. It was through that work I was able to connect with people who were living below the poverty line or were homeless. That job had me driving all over O`ahu to meet people from different walks of life. But being out there by myself was alienating and I missed being on the mainland.

Photo by Alex Kacha.

In March 2014, I moved back to San Francisco and started working for Fitbit. It was another cushy tech job that provided further evidence to how entitled some people could be. A studio opened up across the street from their offices in late 2014, and I starting going after work…and that’s where I met my friend, mentor, and teacher, Danni Pomplun.

Yoga gave me a reason to want to continue to live, as some of you may already know. Before college, and during college, I had some pretty rough times. Continuing with the asana practice, it bled into the more philosophic, esoteric limbs of yoga and I couldn’t stop. The studio was offering a yoga teacher training, and I decided to sign up in the fall of 2016. I became a RYT200 in December 2016, and started teaching in March 2017. I decided I loved yoga so much, that I took Danni’s inaugural 200-hour teacher training in April 2017. In the background, I transitioned to another tech company called Coin, which was bought by Fitbit, so said my goodbyes to the tech industry in June 2017 to focus more on teaching yoga.

Teaching yoga fulfills my need to be detailed, technical, and analytical, all while being able to make an impact on many people. Through my classes, it is my sincere hope that every student who comes to their mat is able to establish a mind-body connection and find something that’s more than just physical movement.

Yoga gave me a purpose, and it continues to inspire my purpose each and every day.