May 24, 2020 by John Andrew Williams
I never thought I would ask myself that question 10 years into practicing. Usually, you understand what you are doing before you commit continuously to something. But here I am, a certified yoga teacher, embracing each moment on my mat as a completely new introduction into the lifestyle and teachings of yoga. Many life events, realizations, emotional situations, challenges and accomplishments have gotten me to where I am today. It has all been “perfect,” meaning everything in my life had to happen the way it did to lead me to where I am now. This was exactly how my deeper spiritual understanding of yoga, meditation, and breath-work all unfolded in my life perfectly.
A year ago I moved abroad, having decided to leave my current job, apartment, and life at home in NYC to follow an instinctual calling from within me. My heart was leading me, but my head was trying to plan it all out to ensure I had explanations to give and some sort of organization to attach to. I found myself in a new environment, new time zone, and new opportunities, with attachments to old beliefs and stories clouding my experience. After many job interviews offering the field I wanted with little English positions to fill, or careers that I have never even associated with my interests- I found myself stuck in my room for two weeks with stress-induced adrenal fatigue. Can stress really manifest in your body so deeply?
With this new wake up call pulling me into the present, I learned there was a bigger reason as to why I was here. I needed to go within and I needed to understand what makes ME happy, my purpose. This became a journey into myself, a complete deep dive into my stories, conditioning, and who I have identified as leading up to now. With no “purpose” to wake up to and no schedule to have, I created an intuitive outline of my days.
It usually looked like this:
Each day was similar to the other, but brought so much new knowledge. Through my podcast studies, daily yoga, and morning routines to ground and center me- I started to get out of my head and align with my heart and body. I was hooked, I never felt so curious and free in my life. So of course, when a breathing therapist was recommended to me, it felt like divine timing. Through breath-work my inner world was opened up to me. This is where my true and initial understanding of healing the trauma we hold within our cells and our ability to release through breathing came into my experience. To this day I still work with this therapist from overseas. I can write pages on my realizations, growth, setbacks, and peeling back the layers I had through breath work alone, but to sum it up- it was life changing.
Eventually as my journey continued, I felt ready to backpack alone for a month (something I have always wanted to do), ending in Thailand for a month of yoga teacher training. Once again my journey aligned perfectly, I landed in Thailand ready for some stability, ready to be cracked open, and ready to heal within a community. Having practiced yoga on and off for 10 years, I was pretty certain I knew what I was in for physically, but I kept expectations at bay. If I can sum up everything I took away from this training (it would be longer than you’d care to sit for), I would sum it up in this one sentence: I did not know yoga.
We are taught, as a western society, yoga in the physical form. The asanas (physical movement) have taken over as the identity, categorizing as a workout. This is only one limb of yoga- there are eight. Yoga is a lifestyle, a complete guidance system for the light and darkness in life, a friend when you need tools/support to heal, a never- ending lesson on your soul, your body, the world, and a deep look into the intricacies of our health and it’s interconnected relationship with our emotions and with nature. Every time you are on the mat, you learn something new. That is a fact.
So when I decided to move back to the states, I returned with a new passion for creating relatable and accessible conversation/awareness around mind-body-soul connection and understanding the tools we have within ourselves to heal. This lit me up and I was excited to integrate it into the lives of those I love and those I will come to meet. Once again, I was faced with a task of attaching to the comfortable path of what I know or try something new. I fell into the trap of going after the companies that would lead me into a career path I thought I wanted. This was wrong and life perfectly showed me once again that I had an inner-truth I needed to turn the volume up on. That voice led me to coach training edu. It was a match from my first search to my initial conversation with a representative. This was going to lead me to where I want to go.
As I continue through the certification, my biggest lesson has been to surrender. Surrender to not knowing everything, surrender to not always having a plan, surrender to where life may lead and not where you want it to take you. Through my moments of surrendering my ego to the deep trust of where I am truly at and what I feel, the answers have come. So where I am at today may not be where I thought I would be and where I will be down the line, but right now combining the lifestyle and practice of yoga with the empathetic and objective components of coaching has felt the most true to me. Our bodies’ ability to hold onto past trauma/experiences within our cells leads to disruption of our emotional and physical experience, which we often do not understand day-to-day. Inviting our bodies’ to move in a safe and guided space where we can go inward instead of look externally can help us heal together, opening ourselves up, instead of feeling ashamed and afraid leading us to close off. I have always wanted to help people, I know it is my calling in one way or another, but I was never certain of what that looked like. Truthfully, there is not one definition to how you can help people. My training, travels, and inward experience have helped open the door to what feels like an illuminated path towards the help I want to offer and I can’t wait to see how it perfectly unfolds through the journey of life.– Amanda Keltz
Thank you Amanda! Connect more with Amanda on her website: https://www.amandakeltz.com/
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Discover other great in stories such as Breaking New Ground with Alyssa Kostello.
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Hood River, Oregon 97031