It’s a toss-up as to what has been the better investment for my life – my journalism diploma or my yoga teaching certificate.
From purely a financial standpoint, journalism wins hands down. My credentials have allowed me to be gainfully employed for the past eight years doing something I love. Not many people can say they get paid to watch the Vernon Vipers for a living.
In amongst covering high school and other local sports, there’s the weekly tedium of typesetting bowling, darts, rec hockey and volleyball stats (right, Ann Holmes?). I also get to keep tabs on (and live vicariously through) some of the North Okanagan’s best and brightest talent.
The local sports scene slows to a trickle over the holidays, so we bank feature articles on athletes that have moved on to higher levels. This year, it was a treat to tell the stories of people like Britt Page, captain of the national women’s volleyball team, who plays pro in China, and Kevin Hill, a snowboard cross sensation and 2014 Olympian.
There was also up-and-comer biathlete Emma Lunder, who is busting her butt in Canmore, Alta., training full time while working at Starbucks to support her dream of competing on the World Cup circuit, and one day, the Olympics.
This job has sent me to three consecutive Royal Bank Cup national Junior A hockey finals in Victoria, Dauphin, Man. and Camrose, Alta. I have met the upper echelon of women’s curling at the world championships, right in our backyard.
Journalism has even taken me to southern Africa, where I did some freelance work for Commonwealth Games Canada, covering some of their youth programs.
Like journalism, yoga is something that can’t be simply quantified by a bank statement. It enriches my life.
I just realized the other day that I have been teaching for 10 years, or a quarter of my life. I only teach once a week through the rec program in Lake Country, but I have been doing it faithfully since 2005. It’s basically enough to stay connected with my practice. My life doesn’t allow for much more than that. Sure, it can be a long drive from Armstrong to Winfield, but it’s worth it. There have been days when I finish work at the paper, and my energy level is in the gutter. For a fleeting moment, I’ll entertain the notion of turning north on Highway 97, instead of south. But I never do.
Instead, after teaching for 90 minutes, I feel restored. It never fails, and it’s part of what keeps me coming back. The other part is my students. A few of them have been there since day one. I still remember taking the training course in the yoga hotbed of Austria, just down the road from the famous ski hill, Kitzbuhel. It was in the summer of 2004 and being there was like being in The Sound of Music. Except, instead of Julie Andrews twirling around the countryside in a dress, it was a bunch of orange-clad swamis guiding close to 100 yawning students through morning meditation at 6 a.m.
Our days at the retreat were full, like in the way the Bell Centre is full when the Habs are in the playoffs (I would have said Canucks, but we all know what happened last year). Meditation was followed by the first of two daily yoga sessions at 8 a.m., with breakfast at 10 a.m. After that, it was karma yoga (selfless service) – which could include anything from chopping vegetables to sweeping floors. Afternoons were spent in the class, learning anatomy, teaching principles and techniques, philosophy and history.
After the second yoga session at 4 p.m., we would bolt for the cafeteria for dinner, followed by an evening gathering. Depending on the nightly agenda, we wouldn’t get to bed until after 10 p.m., only to repeat the process every day for a month.
As tired as I was some days, I don’t recall a time where I felt more alive. It’s a feeling I hope to rekindle every time I teach.