If you told me 15 years ago that someday I'd be a yoga teacher and that a big part of my life would be spent training other teachers, I wouldn't have believed you. But if you told me I'd be helping people find health and balance, teaching them how to discover their passions and live lives with more depth, I would have said, "yep, that sounds like exactly what I want to do!"
My path to Floating Yoga School and leading yoga teacher trainings was not a direct one, but I don't regret one turn. At 18 I was an eager premed bioengineering major at Rice University, finding balance as an adult on my own, studying hard for classes I didn't really enjoy, and stressing out over whether or not I wanted to commit to a career that seemed so competitive and intense. I slowly realized that my passion for medicine was less about the science side of things and more about helping people. I switched my major to sociology, felt happier and lighter, and moved to New York City after graduation to pursue a master's degree in public health at Columbia University. I worked in benefits consulting for a few years and moved to San Diego to create more personal balance and shifted my career toward corporate wellness.
Although I found yoga in college, my practice didn't become consistent until a few years later. Now I can't imagine my life without it. That doesn't mean I'm doing handstand-heavy classes everyday. Sometimes my yoga practice is about sitting quietly, reflecting, or actively letting go of negative thoughts. Yoga is a personal practice and it looks and feels different to each of us. As cheesy as it sounds, I'm so grateful for what I've learned through yoga, and I feel very lucky to share the gift of yoga with others.
One of the biggest reasons I love leading yoga teacher trainings is because we really get to explore everything that is yoga; there is so much to learn and a 75 minute class just doesn't cut it. You don't necessarily have to want to be a yoga teacher to do a teacher training. All you need is the desire to dig a little deeper. We all have something personal we can work on, something we can heal from, something more we want from life. Whether you've just gotten into yoga, or you've been practicing for years, taking a yoga teacher training gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the ancient and ever-evolving practice of yoga.
Maybe you're a therapist, PT, OT, or personal trainer. Understanding yoga can add to your professional resume, enhance your current practice, and provide something extra to your clients.
Maybe you're a consultant or you work in sales. Learning to better understand how humans work on all levels can help you communicate more effectively, connect to your clients, and boost your sales.
Maybe you're a teacher or caregiver. Imagine giving your students or patients the gift of mindfulness and meditation in addition to everything else you provide. A personal yoga practice can help you feel refreshed and replenished, and taking care of yourself allows you to better care for everyone else around you.
Or maybe you're in a place of transition, ready for a new career but aren't sure what that is. Teaching yoga is a rewarding way to connect with people and can be an excellent source of primary or secondary income. Yoga can help clarify and solidify goals and future desires.
Whoever you are, whatever your reasons may be, I promise that a yoga teacher training will enrich your life. I work really hard to make our trainings fun, inspiring, approachable, and affordable. Our trainings are Yoga Alliance approved, 3 weeks long, and feel like you're on a yoga vacation with amazing people in incredible settings. We have two 200 hour trainings coming up in 2017 and I would love for you to join us for one: February in Encuentro, Dominican Republic and July in Lake Placid, New York.
Email me at Helen@FloatingYogaSchool.com with any questions or concerns you have!
I’ve always loved the water. Growing up with super hot Houston summers, my sisters and I would spend hours in the pool, playing “rock the boat” and “categories,” perfecting our back dives and flips, diving for coins or anything else that would sink, and trying to beat the heat. Most family vacations revolved around or at least featured water - lakes and rivers when camping, trips to beach towns, sailing my grandfather's boat - and if they didn't, we'd find our way to water somehow.
After college I lived in New York City and didn’t have much water time aside from vacations and when I first moved to San Diego the cool temperature and instant depth of the Pacific Ocean kept me on the beach for awhile. But there was always a part of me that knew I needed to find my way back into its healing arms. It wasn't until I started teaching paddle yoga that I truly reconnected with my carefree, happy inner child and decided I needed to make some changes in my life and refocus it around water.
There’s something romantic and idyllic about living life on the water. I remember seeing boats anchored in the remote and quiet Shark Harbor on Catalina Island and thinking “that’s the life.” At a time when I was busy building a business, navigating the ups and downs of a long term relationship turned new marriage, and trying to figure out how to balance everything, life on a boat seemed like a welcome escape from everyone, a rare sense of peace and simplicity in an overly complicated world.
When my relationship took a turn and I decided to move on without my best friend of 8 years, I was faced with finding a place to live and starting a new life on my own terms. What did I really want? With the opportunity to start fresh and do all the “crazy” things I wouldn’t have considered when I had a partner's needs and wants to take into account, I decided that I wanted to live on a boat.
I briefly looked at renting or taking care of someone’s boat, but without a lot of experience as a captain or crew, I wasn’t super desirable to anyone and didn’t know the right channels to find a boat owner looking for someone to watch their boat. It turns out the easiest, albeit more expensive, way of living on a boat was to buy one and call it my own.
I had some money in savings and started the search. (More on the boat buying process including getting a loan, where to find a boat, etc. in another post.) I found an older 32 foot Islander within my budget and the minute I stepped foot on it and saw its funky magenta cushions, striped curtains, and full teak lined interior, I knew it would be home. I named her Barefoot Adventures and she became my floating condo for the next year.
Fast forward a few months and it became clear to me that life as a liveaboard was pretty sweet, but that I wanted to use my boat for more than just day sails and play dates. I wanted to sail into different ports, explore different places, and experience different ways of life. I wanted to combine my love of travel, my desire to be on the water, and my passion for sharing yoga; thus Floating Yoga School was created.
Barefoot Adventures #1 just wasn't going to cut it in the Caribbean, so I sold her and started the search for #2. This time around, I wanted something bigger and somewhat newer that could handle island-hopping and some large crossings, something with enough power and electronics to feel safe in unknown waters and rough seas, and something that I could customize enough to feel like home for the next few years without breaking the bank. I found a 40 foot O'Day in Miami that fit the bill and have been living and working on her ever since.
Life as a liveaboard is certainly not for everyone. Depending on your set-up it can feel like permanent camping (or maybe glamping if you're lucky!). There are ALWAYS projects to be done on a boat and usually those projects require money, sweat, and hard work. It can be frustrating, confusing, and overwhelming if you're not an expert in all things electrical, mechanical, and nautical.
But despite all that, it's really rewarding. To me it feels like going back to a simpler way of life. People have lived and worked on boats for hundreds of years, crossing oceans and seeing the world, and it's exciting to think about everything I get to experience that I would have otherwise never even known was out there.
I’ll be breaking down the various aspects of living aboard in the coming months, from the freedom it brings to challenges that come along with it. For now it's back to the project list :) Stay tuned!
Helen's Adventures as a Traveling Yogi
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