Gratitude for the Path: “Yoga Teacher Training Changed My Life”
In light of Thanksgiving, Alexandria Crow reflects on how far her practice has brought her and her appreciation for the journey.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
I realized as I woke up in Maui this morning that the last time I was here was 10 years ago almost to the day. This time I came to teach a series of workshops and enjoy Thanksgiving with a loved one. Last time I was here with my now ex-husband—getting engaged. I was 26 years old. And as I look back through my older and wiser lens, I was a very confused and pained girl living with a lot of suffering inside.
See alsoThe Path to Happiness
Alexandria Crow Flashes Back to Her Life Before Yoga
Back then I had a different outlook on almost everything. I wanted to be married with a big ring. I wanted an expensive car, fancy clothes, a nice house. I would only dine in the trendiest restaurants and stay at the poshest of hotels. I thought life was about how you looked and how much you acquired. I believed if I could have all the right material goods or look a certain way, I would be happy.
But I wasn’t happy. I was miserable.
I lived with chronic anxiety and panic attacks. I was mean to myself and to others. I was incredibly judgmental and shallow. I hated my job, lived for Friday at 6 P.M., and dreaded Monday morning. I hated the way I looked, I hated how my body felt. I tied myself to a relationship that was not healthy for myself or for my significant other.
I knew deep down that something wasn’t right, but I had absolutely no idea how to make things better.
See alsoAlexandria Crow’s Meditation for Anxiety
How Yoga Teacher Training Changed My Life
In one of those “I have no idea why I chose that” moments, I decided to take a yoga teacher training. That one choice (and then the hundreds of choices to live as a yogi that followed) changed my life.
I knew I must let go of all that I thought to become all that I am.
The decision to take the training and the choices that followed were hard and scary. Who would I be without all of those things I thought I needed? What would my life look like? I surrendered, not without a fight, but eventually I surrendered to what I must do. I knew I must let go of all that I thought to become all that I am.
See alsoIs Yoga Teacher Training for You?
Joseph Campbell has a quote I love “You will learn to continue to die.” That’s what I chose to do and what I continue to do. I was practicing what us yogis call tapas, choosing to do what is hard work because the outcome on the other side will be one of less suffering.
I left my career and my relationship for starters, and there were many more choices I made that were terrifying at the time. But each decision I made with a little bit more clarity. I was stripping off the patterns that were causing me suffering and becoming more and more content with who I am. I was dying over and over and being reborn as a softer, kinder, gentler, more at ease version of myself.
See alsoAlexandria Crow’s Patanjali Never Said Anything About Yoga Selfies
The Work Is Never Done
As I walked along the beach this morning I thought of how far I’ve come. I thought of how different I am 10 years later. I teach yoga full-time around the world—and absolutely love it. I don’t think of it as a job. It feels like a purpose. I have amazing friends who support me. I love people. I am no longer plagued by anxiety, body issues or unhealthy relationships. I live in a very nice home and still love nice clothes but I no longer think they are responsible for my happiness.
I am not done transforming. I get up every single day and go to work on myself to release myself from more patterns that cause suffering. Even though the work continues, today, I am clear, present, and content.
I am grateful for the 26-year-old Alex. I do not look back at her with sadness or pity or shame. I look back at her with complete gratitude. She has taught me a lot. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t be able to connect with and help all the people I meet who are suffering like she was.
See alsoAlexandria Crow’s Patanjali Never Said Yoga Is Fancy Poses