Here at Sardinia Yoga we’re so lucky that not only are our teachers experts in their field and amazing yoga teachers, they’re also brilliantly creative writers and are willing to share this gift with us, one such teacher is Jen Potter.
Jen has been teaching yoga for more than twenty years and as you’ll read, her journey with yoga is one that most of us can relate to. In this special, open and honest two part blog Jen shares with us how she went from doing yoga as simply a way to keep fit to it being a way of life…
‘I first turned to yoga as an easier option to stay fit. There are too many mirrors and too much sweat in the gym. When you first do yoga you feel new muscles, sensations and stress just drops from the shoulders. It feels like a miracle has taken place inside.
The first yoga image that has always stuck in my mind was seeing Madonna, my childhood pop star idol in the late 90’s. There she was with her leg wrapped around her neck, ethereal flow mama. I thought: I’ll reinvent myself from lazy girl into calorie burner.
I fell over in my first class, I passed wind coming out of shoulder stand. Dark thoughts flared up in the final relaxation while the teacher pressed lavender oil into my temples. I kept at it because the handsome teacher explained; it will get easier.
I quickly decide to become a teacher. I was born with short flexible legs so the basic 20 postures came easy. I progressed fast, I fell in love with this concept to unify the body, soul and mind. I wanted to help others discover this cool self-help tool. Finally I knew what I’d do with my life.
The second stage of my yoga journey was to dive into the study of self. This part was easy for my obsessive side but hard for my vulnerable girly side which didn’t want to face emptiness.
As an only child of a busy single parent, I watched too much TV and filled the void with burritos. So by the time I hit my early 30’s I had no idea how to be with emptiness. Meditation is about emptiness and tasting sweetness in that space. As an introvert, I thought I was good at being along.
Even though I was ‘terrible’, I started meditation. I paid thousands of dollars trying to find the right style to suit my personality. This one wasn’t right, nor that one…the negative self-talk convinced me I NEEDED to go to India and sit in a mountain top cave. Gurus gave me confusing guidance and then after five months of mosquito bites I went home to see if I could be a mini guru.
I wanted to go deeper into my teaching but was shy about coming across as a preacher spurting out yoga clichés like ‘let go’ or ‘send the light out’. These are important concepts and I believed in them but I didn’t want to sound ridiculous.
I continued to teach the Yoga Poses but I noticed it was becoming less fun. I hurt both my knees forcing myself into Lotus. My neck got screwed up trying to do a drop-back-back bend. Making Yoga Teacher my full time job meant constant pressure to get more private clients, organise retreats and advertise.
I was never good at competitive sports and yoga was feeling exactly that. I got it into my head that the students wanted to learn the hard core stuff: advanced arm balances and headstands. I simply didn’t want to teach any yoga that could lead to an injury. Was I becoming a boring teacher?’