My name is Jianna and I’ve been a part of SHINE Power yoga for two years. I recently finished my week of teacher training and as an aspiring writer, SHINE leaders encouraged me to write a blog about my experience; after a month of writer’s block, I finally got around to writing.

I am nineteen years old, I just finished my freshmen year of college, and now I’m on my way to being a yoga teacher. I’m a huge nerd who loves anything comic book related or sci-fi, I’m very sarcastic, I curse way more than I should, I love to write, and I am ME. Before teacher training, I was kind of all over the place. My first month of community college was spent in depression because all my friends were far from home, living the life, and I felt stuck at home doing the same routine everyday. At first, I didn’t know why I was depressed, when I found the reason I was able to help myself out of the depression (I was still sad but I was able to go out and do things at least). I tried to make new friends at my college, but I suffer from social anxiety (and just anxiety in general) and I’m super introvert, so it was really hard to speak to random people I didn’t know. I made casual conversations with other students but never anything that could start a friendship, so I just kept to myself.

During this time, my mom noticed the shift, so she pushed me to focus on yoga. We took 40 Days to Personal Revolution and Leadership Boot Camp together, which got me inspired to take SHINE Leadership Teacher Training. Being the supportive person that my mom is, she paid for the whole training, which was beyond amazing. As Teacher Training got closer, I started to get extremely nervous. What if I’m not good enough? What if I suck and everyone laughs at me? What if no one wants to talk to me? These were the thoughts that were going through my head the days leading up to Teacher Training. Several people told me I was going to do fine and that I had nothing to worry about, but I was still scared shitless. Finally, the first day of teacher training arrived and I got to meet all the other teachers in training and they are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Everyone was so kind and so welcoming, I felt honored that I got to hear their stories and learned more about them during that week. Being with them and learning with them I felt so happy, it was just all together a wonderful experience doing this with them.

As the week progress, I learned so much about being a yoga teacher and about myself. Always stand in your True North, don’t fidget, speak loud and clearly, and be with the Present; although this was advice for when we eventually would teach yoga, I thought it was good advice for my life in general. There was two activities that really stood out to me. The first one, was an activity that I did before during boot camp, but it felt more meaningful the second time around. I was to write down a conflict that I had, it could have been something from long ago or something more recent, I had to share this conflict to the group, then I would cross out parts of the story that wasn’t a fact and then you would re-read only the facts. I wrote about a conflict with my best friend of six years. I first wrote about this conflict at boot camp, when the conflict was still new and fresh, and as I shared my story I could barely read one word without bursting into tears; it hurt to talk about because suddenly my friend of six years didn’t want to be friends anymore over some stupid fight. However, the second time I wrote about the conflict, months had past, and my mind was clear. While rewriting the conflict, I realized that I had become bitter and angry from everything that happened, and that was far from healthy. I decided that I was done being angry, done being bitter, if she didn’t want to be my friend I couldn’t change how she felt, so I accepted it. With acceptance came relief and I felt genuinely okay about the whole situation after sharing it with the group this second time. I wouldn’t have come to that closure as fast as I did without this activity.

The next activity, although very moving, I will not share my experience in great detail because I found it to be very personal. I Hope one day I’ll be able to share my story with others and to help anyone who went through a similar situation. I was asked to write an event from my childhood, something that hurt me or was traumatic to me, something that would cause me to tell myself a lie about myself. Then after sharing my story with the group, I would write a new way of being and say the lie that I was giving up. At first I wrote about how I was bullied at a young age, but as soon as I finished writing my story I realized that it wasn’t the story I wanted to share. I then went on to share a story that I rarely ever tell, and it led to me sobbing in front of the group because it was my first time telling a group this size my story. It was extremely personal, it left me feeling vulnerable and raw, but I felt a weight off my chest, because I let it out in the open. The LIE led me to believe that I was stupid and worthless, but now I know it is a LIE! I declared that “my new way of being is of confidence, power, and self kindness. “The lie that I am giving up is that I am worthless and I am stupid, this is what I am committed to.” Even though I can’t change the past, I can use what happened to me as a stepping stone to get me a better present.

On to the last day of the training, which was probably the best day of the whole training for me. I was sad that the training immersion was over and that I wouldn’t be able to see my newfound friends as often as I did that week, I was also very excited to finally be at this point. We ended our training sharing who we are now and what we will to change when we leave. I talked about how I always felt like I had to wear a mask when I’m around different people, that I should be this or that instead of just being me. I was exhausted all the time and I wasn’t happy at all, so, with some help from my leaders and my friends, I am done with that mask . I can be me, and by being me, I am happy, hence the name of this blog. JIANNA IS JOY!!!!!!!  Being me makes me happy. I am grateful for this process, I just needed a little push in the right direction.

At the end of the day were to teach to a class full of people (Which I was insanely nervous for, but we all ended up doing an awesome job and it was so much fun). We FILLED the studio, mat to mat! At the end of class my Mom came up to me and hugged me while crying, and I still consider it a really special moment because it showed how far I’ve come. Teacher training was one of the most amazing experience that I have ever had in my life and I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me this experience. I can’t wait to be a bigger part of the shine community and start teaching as soon as possible!                                Shine on Bitches (our team cheer)!!!

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