It was July 2021 and I distinctly remember such a foreign feeling coming away from sharing a 1 hour 1:1 session with a new acquaintance via Zoom. I was buzzing, I was lit up, I was ecstatically happy. I hadn’t worried excessively in the build-up, I hadn’t had a sleepless night, I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t panic and search for a way to escape at the last minute. I felt totally alive and full of beans. In fact I enjoyed it. And amazingly, it felt kind of effortless. And I remember thinking wow, I wasn’t sure I would ever get here. I didn’t ever think I could be this person.
It was a stark contrast. A stark contrast to how I was feeling sharing 1 minute of teaching in that first September 2020 weekend in North Devon, and a stark contrast to how I had been feeling and living for most of my life. Afraid, scared, worried, over-thinking, super self-conscious, complete lack of confidence and self-worth, always wanting to hide away, avoiding being seen. I had spent so long this way, I had began to assume this was it for me. This was me. It was just how I was. Fearful and submissive. After years of anxiety, it had become a coping mechanism – safety, protection.
But I had dreams. In recent years I began to realise I was capable of many and most things. But slowly I realised this could only be so if I believed in myself - The work that needed to be done was ultimately on myself.
Finding the path
I had been on my healing journey for around 4 years before finding the Yoga Like Water course. It happened in such a beautiful way. Despite a level of nerves and uncertainty that had somewhat become a norm for me, I had a knowing within that it was right. It was an investment in myself I had been contemplating for some time. And (sadly), that opportunity fully presented itself when the time came when my dear nan passed away. Despite us being different in many ways, we had a close bond and I had spent much time with her throughout my life. Her death brought me many lessons and messages, and a new depth to my healing and spiritual journey. And with her passing also came a small amount of money – enough to enrol in the course and buy myself a laptop. It felt very fitting. A wonderful legacy. It was a sum of money that enabled me to continue on my self-discovery and healing journey, but amplifying it to another level. And encouraged and enabled by nan. She would love that. She does love that. (I’m a great believer in healing myself first and foremost, but the ripple effects of my inner work spreading beyond to generations past and future). I actually had quite little interaction with Dan and the team prior to signing up – email correspondence and an online taster session. But I just knew – I knew instantly from chatting with Dan that it was right. The approach, the softness, the nurturing, the acceptance, the calmness. I was intrigued, excited, nervous, and so thirsty to dive deep and take my learning to new places.
Hello, nice to meet you
September 2020 arrived, and strangely for me I think I was more excited than nervous. With everything going on in the world around covid, it felt so good to be getting on the train and setting off to start my adventure. I had been chatting to some of the people on the course beforehand, and was looking forward to meeting my roomie for the weekend!
I remember one of the things I expressed that first weekend, like many of us did, was that I was there mainly for my own interest and practice, and unsure if I would go on to teach.
Letting the tears drop and hearing their message
Fast forward to May 2021. Those feelings were still somewhat there, but actually my interest for sharing had massively grown. And perhaps this was the turning point for me. This weekend brought with it tears and realisations. My method up until this point had been notes. Pages and pages of notes. I had become fooled into believing notes were my safety net. I had EVERYTHING written down, so surely I was going to be ok. But as I watched others seemingly so effortlessly sharing on the spot, I realised my way was not at all doable – or sustainable - I couldn’t have a script of 2 pages of notes to teach 10 minutes! Imagine the frenzy I would get myself into trying to teach an hours class! Panic and fear came over me. And its probably then that I realised, ok so I actually do want to teach and share.
But I needed to find a different way. I realised if I seriously wanted to teach, something needed to shift. I needed to get braver. I needed to get bolder. I needed to release the notes. I needed to just be me and go with it. It all felt very overwhelming and scary that weekend. I had the realisation but I didn’t think I could do it. And that made me sad. Thankfully, as Dan always so expertly just seemed to sense the perfect way to beautifully hold the space, the pressure was lifted - he just seemed to know a few of us weren’t feeling it this weekend. And so I had the opportunity to sit with my feelings, process, and as always, learn so much from the other inspiring people in the room.
Bored of feeling anxious
After that May weekend, something within me had stirred. I loved the idea of sharing – that had been confirmed to me, I just needed to figure out my way of doing it. I started a weekly lesson with my sister – a way to practice, share, get feedback, and a very safe space to try a different way. I gradually began to slim down the notes. I found more flow, more acceptance, more trust. It showed me that I could do it, it was safe, and that I could share more of myself and my own way.
The next month arrived – June 2021 - the penultimate training weekend. This weekend we were teaching for 15 minutes. I had the shortest notes I had ever had – just prompts. But despite the group being a super safe, non-judgmental space, I still had those nerves.
My approach on this weekend was to simply try and stay with those feelings. Just let them be, notice, observe – lessons and guidance Dan had so beautifully weaved into the whole year. I found a kind of softness and acceptance towards myself. And I remember saying to myself it was ok to feel like this – I was being gentle and caring to that scared inner child rather than trying to change what I was feeling or holding negative judgement of how I 'ought' to feel. This was quite something. Another profound moment.
I spent the whole weekend not volunteering to teach. The last day came, the afternoon came, and I think I was one of, if not the last person to teach. I remember Dan asking me after I had taught ‘how was that then?’ It had been very different for me – I did it! More of me came through, more ease, more calm. My response was ‘I’m just bored of feeling anxious now’. I had somehow reached a point where I found acceptance towards the discomfort. I knew it was there. I still felt it. But I didn’t want it to overpower me. So I tried to work with it. My notes had massively slimed down – no longer a script, but a reminder. I had found more trust in myself. And more than that – acceptance to just do me, what will happen will happen, it will be for some and not for others – and that’s all ok – I just needed to show up and do me! I finally heard and accepted that message that had been there throughout the training all along.
The last weekend arrived, July 2021. At first I don’t think I had massively registered it was the last weekend with these wonderful people in this group. I just felt excited to share! It was quite a turnaround. It felt pretty amazing to be honest. I had chatted with various people about my confidence and apprehension, and someone had suggested – just go first. So I had an inner acceptance and openness to 'going for it'! To my delight, arriving on that Saturday, Dan had ordered who was going when, so that decision had been removed from me. And he must have totally read me – because I was chosen to go 3rd – and I just knew when I was up next! And it felt very right. For the first time, I was ready and excited to get up there. Not 100% calm and ok, but the best I had ever felt. I guess I felt comfortable in myself – which was huge. I shared what I had planned, which I just loved (often my inspiration just arrives with me quite quickly when planning, and I finally felt a sense of - ok, just go with it – don’t try to edit or change it for anyone else). My 20 minutes went well, I loved it and everyone else seemed to to. It felt so good. And the feedback was amazing too. I finally felt like I’d found my wings and left the ground – it seemed to click and make sense in a different way. I felt like I was actually holding space and owning it! I’d found the balance. I’d found a confidence I didn’t know I had. I found a part of me I didn’t know could still be retrieved.
The last 10 minutes arrived and suddenly it felt very surreal. People started to share their messages of thanks. And suddenly I felt very overcome with emotion. At the time it took me a while to sit with this, and over the next week or so I began to fully realise just how lifechanging the course had been and the huge amount of love and gratitude I felt. It's huge! And even now I struggle to fully articulate and express this in its entirety - I’m not sure I will ever come close.
My new world, my new existence
My quest for understanding and fully embracing and sharing myself truly and unapologetically continues, along with my lifelong journey of understanding my place and purpose in the world. But I’ve opened new chapters, found new doors, re-discovered parts of me I thought were long ago buried, never to be found again. And my, it feels exciting, new, all a lot more possible - like my whole world is now so much more open, lighter, friendly, welcoming, accessible...
I recently shared this post as my reflections finally landed and I realised all the course had provided and the journey I had been on. - I realised I'd found a new version of me, some of the old shield layers had finally shed, enabling me to forever more keep blossoming, expanding, rising, and stepping more and more into my truest, sparkliest, highest expression. And I'm feeling so excited to see where that leads! :)
I did the year long 200 hour training led by Dan Peppiatt at Yoga Like Water and I could not recommend it more. I was very sure that I wanted a long-term course to enable the integration of the learnings over time. I instantly warmed to the philosophy and values of this particular course, and of course being on the south west coast was the icing on the cake for me! There’s many amazing trainings out there, and choosing to enrol is very much personal decision influenced by preference, style, etc. I’m very happy to chat with anyone considering embarking on their own training journey. It really has been such a holistic, all-round, life-changing journey for me, beyond yoga on a mat, showing me the way to lessons that preciously ripple throughout all of life, and have ultimately led me to a newfound sense of self that I didn't know existed or was even possible to find(!) ...And for that I will be forever and eternally grateful.
With so much love and huge thanks to Dan, the whole Yoga Like Water team, and this fantastic gang - my yoga family, who have created such a beautiful container for me to feel so safe and held, and ultimately encouraged and nurtured my growth and blossoming xx
Please get in touch if you'd like to chat more, or find out more about my current yoga offerings.