Sherrena describes the many ways yoga has helped her transform into the person she wants to be and is still in the process of becoming in this post. Writing this was a big stretch for Sherrena, not unlike the stretch she describes making by signing up for yoga teacher training - the results were worth it in both cases. As is true for many of us, yoga has been a powerful force for healing in Sherrena's life and it is inspring to me that she's taking the leap and sharing her story. It's been a pleasure to be a part of her process and she's an incredible addition to our staff. -Shannon
When I first started my teacher training in 2015, I was overwhelmed. I didn't know what I had gotten myself into. I felt lost, insecure, not good enough, and embarrassed. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no plans to teach yoga, I was just learning for myself and couldn’t help but wonder as I ran through another Sun Salutation: Why did I sign up for this? Why are they breathing like this? What in the world is OM? Why are we laying here on our backs! I have things I could be getting done! ; )
I had never had practiced yoga before this and dove right into the physical part. Something happened: I started getting emotional during the rest time on our backs, and every time we did those” hip things” (in Shannon’s Yin classes) I would cry again. It was a while before I realized I was letting go of deep hurt I had had inside me for years. I was changing without even knowing it. I was transforming myself by learning to let go.
I signed up for teacher training because I had fallen into a deep depression. Over a year and a half in 2012-2014 I lost my father, grandma, grandpa and aunt. It brought to the surface several other profound losses - when I was 6 my brother, who was also my best friend (at 10 1/2 months apart), died suddenly; when I was twelve I lost a close aunt; and my other grandma had died the day after my daughter was born. All of the losses finally hit - I didn’t know I had it in me to feel as bad as I did during that time. I had always had a camera in my hands and I didn’t take a picture for 2 years. I didn’t care about anything. I stayed in my bed, I had to make myself go to work. No one really knew how bad I was. I kept looking for self-help guides, then one day I heard about yoga. A friend of mine shared with me that Open Way had a teacher training program, and that I should sign up. I’d never done yoga before, but something just sounded right. I signed up. I was getting out of the little box I’d living in. I was proud of myself, slowly transforming by reaching out of my comfort zone.
The meditation and breathing techniques that Brian taught made me feel calmer and more positive in my mind. I started using meditation more at home and it was praying time for me as well. I would be sitting, meditating and I’d hear my kids arguing. They would stop when they saw me, and whisper, “Let's be quiet Mom is healing.” They noticed a change before I did. I was transforming without even realizing it.
Growing up I was a super quiet, shy-girl. People never knew that I was abused, bullied, and told I was never good enough. I had to take a speech class due to stuttering and a lisp I had. There was no way I would ever be able to teach yoga. During teacher training when Brian wanted me to teach a Sun Salutation in front of the other trainees I was frozen and couldn’t do it! He kept at me though. Eight months into my training I taught a small flow during Shannon’s class. (A minute that felt like and hour!) I was determined to get my certification and in order to get my certification, I had to teach. I practiced that 1 minute flow for hours at home, and still messed it up! I was petrified with all those eyes on me, but I survived. Once I’d finally completed my certification I knew if I didn’t keep teaching, I was going to go right back into the insecurity. I started teaching on my own for family and friends. A few months later I received a message from Brian and Shannon asking me if I would be interested in teaching at Open Way. I still have that message saved on my phone! I was so shocked, scared and excited… They want me to teach??? I could do it! I could transform into: I Am Confident.
Always a people pleaser, I did things that I didn’t want to do because I didn’t want to hurt anyone and I wanted friends so badly. Yoga has taught me that I have a voice, I can speak up for myself, I can say no. I don’t do things that don’t serve me in positive ways and I feel so good about that. Transforming into: I am strong.
I’m not good enough, has always been a way of thinking that I used as a way out of things - even healing myself. Or I would put my emotions away, because I was ‘fine.“ I knew I had to heal myself to help others. I am still working on these transformations… Transformation is a process and I am a work in progress.
I have always been a worrier: Do they like me? Did I do it correctly? I worry about the past, the future and everything in between. Yoga has taught me to live more in the moment. To breathe in the beauty of the now, to not question too much, to just be. I am transforming into: I am Peaceful.
My community has helped me in so many ways. I have grown in confidence from my students sharing with me how much stronger and relaxed they feel after my class. Or they will share that a quote I read during Savasana stayed with them through the week. To see them smile after class heals me. I would like to thank each and every teacher, student, family and friend for supporting me in ways they don’t even realize. I needed and still need your support to transform into the best version of me. Transformation… I Am Growing on this journey of discovery!
This poem captures a feeling that comes to me through yoga.
I Am Here For You
Always - I am her for you
Escape your busy life
Don’t talk.. just join me
Savor my understanding, and my love
Arouse your senses
Taste the fruit of my alluring gift
Or indulge completely
In the vast orchard, of life’s sacred passion
Smell the blossoms of desire
Be with me - feel what is in your heart
You are not that busy…
You are never - too busy for me
Come with me, pick the whole fruit
And sit under the tree of life
As love, is well spent with me
Tomorrow is too late
I will be gone!
Always I am here for you…
Yet sadly, always I must leave
Eternity- is the time we spend together
Forever and always…I am here for you
This moment loves you!
by Doug Swenson
Brian and Shannon, I want to thank you both so much for your help in guiding me. I realize I still have a lot of healing and learning to go. I still struggle with my negative mind telling me I’m not good enough everyday, but I feel so blessed to be here now. Thank you for that push!