Here is a story I thought I would tell at the very beginning and here I find myself telling it at the very end. This is how Stephen and I met:
Back in 2009, a few months before doing my own foundational teacher training in New York, I had started working at a media agency in Zurich.
I discovered the girl who had held the marketing position before me, Tanja, to be yet another yoga teacher in Zurich. She was very insistent that the whole team at work try out this new teacher she had invited to Switzerland for the summer – some Stephen-from-Asia-guy. My colleague went and reported back that it had been very crowded and quite physical. Not to mention some groupie-girls in the front row. I really didn't need to take class with yet another territorial male yoga teacher, so I decided not to waste Tanja's gift of a free Airyoga class on this.
Tanja had left the position I inherited because she had had a baby. The baby, Kailash, was about six months old, so that summer, she had a ritual and a fire ceremony performed for her the little one. She sent pictures of the outdoor ceremony to the office. One picture showed Kailash in the arms of a middle-aged man with a big straw hat, a soft smile and eyes that revealed a surprisingly smooth-sly twinkle. My boss liked that picture so much that she printed it and hung it on the wall of our shared office space – coincidentally right above my desk.
A year went by. I had started teaching in Zurich and honing my skill. After a year, I decided I was now ready to ask the Airyoga manager if they were in need of subs every once in a while, which again Tanja had been suggesting I do from the get-go. I applied and met up with the manager a few weeks later to discuss my application. Not only did he like the idea of me subbing, but he asked which evenings I was still free, i.e. not teaching somewhere else. It was not until later that I found out about a second Airyoga location opening in January of the following year, 2011. I was offered a few classes there. To make it official, the manager asked me to go take one of Stephen's classes, just to get his ok, as Stephen was now responsible for the recruiting new staff.
So, early September 2010, I went in for Stephen's Monday night. Without expectation. It was earnest yet light. It felt exactly right. After class I went to thank Stephen and to give him a hug. He asked me to stay so we could talk. He said I had a mindful practice and that he could see no objection why I should not become part of the team.
A week later, Airyoga called me and asked if I could take over that above-mentioned Monday night class because Stephen was leaving for Asia to get married and they had not yet been able to find a replacement. This is how, head over heels, I started teaching at Airyoga. Following into footsteps that felt too big for me. But apparently I was ready – ready for my teacher to physically show up in my life.
Only months later, after quite a few tumultuous changes in my life, while sitting in my 300h teacher training with Stephen, I remembered: The photo! All these months, Stephen had been sitting, or hanging, right above my head. Smiling down at me.
A seed had been planted long before the change manifested in my life. I'm not sharing this story just because it sounds good. I know after a teacher training, we have a lot of momentum, but also a lot of doubt. After all, aren't there more than enough yoga teachers in this world? Who needs one more? But always remember, that you have planted a seed. Let this past month be the photo. Let it smile down on you and protect you along the way. And trust that the seed will blossom into whatever shape flower is exactly right for you. Don't forget to water it and don't be in a hurry to pluck it. It will grow, believe me. Obvious or subtle, it will grow.