I never dreamed I'd find my true love teaching yoga and barre. In fact, I hated my first yoga class; it was too hot, was an extremely competitive environment, and I actually thought I might die at one point. ( I was in rag doll..) It might have just been the cool air, but I'll never forget the wash of peace in that first savasana.
At this time, I was finishing my degree in Musical Theater and was convinced that I was destined for movie stardom, Academy Awards (yes, plural) and a glamorous lifestyle. The problem was, I was miserable. I was constantly competing, and battling depression, anxiety and eating disorders, convinced that if only I were skinnier, or could kick higher, I'd be good enough.
After years of a love/hate relationship with yoga, I immediately enrolled in teacher training. I had just paid my final deposit when I tore my hamstring so badly, my physical therapist told me I should never do yoga again. Instead of listening to a medical professional, I listened to my heart and found ways to modify that not only helped heal my body, but allowed my practice to grow in unexpected ways. I don't use the term "modify" in my own teaching; I prefer the term "options" as we all have different bodies, experiences, and strengths. That is what I believe a true warrior is; owning our abilities, and celebrating all we are capable of, rather than focus on things we may decide and label as "limitations."
My mom reminded me recently that she was told she could never have children, and yet I showed up anyway. She decided on the name Mara just days before I was born, and if you are not familiar, Mara was the one who tempted Buddha during his path to enlightenment. The story says his armies showered Buddha with arrows and swords, but that those weapons turned into flowers. Our challenges and struggles, though painful, provide beauty through clarity. I have since shifted my sights from a "glamorous" life in the spotlight, to helping others turn arrows into flowers and I couldn't be happier about that.