Meet Christine Guenther…
Yoga had been calling to me for years, but it had been struggling to gain any traction in my busy life. Also, some less-than-pleasantexperiences in pretentious yoga studios while living in New York and L.A. also made me question whether this would be a hobby and practice where I could ever find the comfort level to enjoy yoga’s “calming” benefits.
After leaving a stressful job and lifestyle in Washington, D.C, I moved to Key Largo in May 2015 and was determined that this was the right time to dedicate myself to a yoga practice. From the moment I walked into Key Largo Yoga South Studio, I knew I had found my place. Over the following months my practice grew from 3 days a week to 5 days, and then settled in to a 6-day-per-week routine. I woke up everyday knowing that the most important thing I could for my body, my mind, and my life was go to yoga “class”.
When word started spreading around the studio about Yoga Teacher Training, I thought it sounded really awesome- like something that I might aspire to do one day when I would be “good enough” at yoga. At the same time I was growing more aware of and confused with my body (Why won’t it do what I want!?!? How will I ever be strong enough!?!?) and with some of the “peripher
al” aspects of yoga class (What are we chanting and why? Is what I’m doing in yoga class in conflict with my religious beliefs?).
I began to imagine that I might just be interested in this “teacher training” so, if nothing else, I could understand a bit more about this new “hobby” that was quickly growing into such a big part of my life. I spoke with Kathy, Chris, Anjana, and Tracy (my most regular teachers) and purchased one of the books from the reading list to see if it would provide some of the answers I was still seeking. As time went on, I was having a more difficult time coming up with my own reasons not to move forward with the training. Probably the greatest obstacle was fielding all of the questions from friends and family about “deciding to become a yoga teacher” to which I overcame with a fantastic article from Wanderlust that you can read here:
On the first night I had a healthy combination of thrill and fear, but what ensued over the following 21 days exceeded even my greatest expectations. First, it was one of the most strenuous combinations of continuous ongoing physical, mental, and emotional effort I have ever undertaken- this is not to be underestimated! However, the joy and benefit of creating space for three weeks of deep self-care and introspection in my adult life was a magical experience, and I will surely never be the same. As the YTT “ended” just 5 days ago and people have started to ask, “How was it?” I don’t quite know how to answer! I’m still in a bit of a whirlwind, digesting information and experiences that I am certain will take quite some time to become clear. Yet, in an effort to be as helpful as possible to others who might consider a YTT as part of their journey, here are a
few thoughts about how this has experience impacted my life:
· I started with zero understanding of the history and foundations of yoga. I thought it came from a place and a “religion” that was very different from my Christian upbringing. Instead, I found that the underlying values of yoga (which is not a religion) are not only synonymous with my beliefs, but also completely synergistic with my faith. I am in a new and wonderful place spiritually that I have been out of tune with for years.
· I learned that yoga isn’t just some “class” to go to for an hour; it’s a complete way of life. While we all have the freedom to enjoy a slice here and there, I am living my life for the whole pie. Yogic guidelines provide me with the kind of mora
l compass that aligns with the value-centered life I aspire to live.
· I learned to give my body a break. I had been trying everyday to get my body to work harder, stretch longer, and do more. I still have these goals, but I am learning to find peace in the process and where I am today. I also now realize that there are things my body is just not going to be able to do and that’s just fine with me. The journey is more important than the destination.
· I had a chance to quiet my mind and my life and just “be”. It’s amazing how much life can speed up or slow down directly in proportion to one’s own thoughts. I am learning to slow down my frenetic brain, and live more in the now with a little more trust that the future is going to be just fine.
· Will I be a teacher? I’m still not totally sure! I certainly feel prepared and excited about the idea and I’m going to sit with those feelings and see what ensues. But if I could help just one person get started down the kind of path that my yoga has created for me, then that would be a major accomplishment!
Lastly, I cannot speak to the greatness of this experience without mentioning Kathy, our amazing teacher and guide, and my co-trainees Nikki and Maria. At 33 years old, I was the “middle child” of the group to Nikki’s 19 and Maria’s 50. I believe that it is the mission of Key Largo Yoga (that yoga is for EVERY BODY) that drew our diverse little crew together and it was the ideal environment to gain the most from everyone’s differing wisdom and point-of-view.
In addition, I am ever grateful to myself for taking this opportunity, t
o my husband for whole-heartedly supporting me, to every teacher and student at both studios for the help and encouragement, and to the universe for drawing me into such an amazing community.
If I may ever be of service, please don’t hesitate to reach out in the studio or on Facebook!
Love and Namaste!