(On the whimmest of whims–and with the financial support of my parents–I applied to do the 6-month yoga teacher training at Langara College. This is my application essay.)

After ten years of suffering from depression, I began reading about meditation and mindfulness. I began a simple practice, just ten to twenty minutes sitting before bed every night. It worked (kind of), but more importantly, it was a first step on a new path.

Meditation led Buddhism, which led to yoga. I started with DVDs borrowed from the library and videos on YouTube. I did my first poses in my pyjamas, before I bought myself workout clothes an a mat. I liked it. It was interesting, fun, and it didn’t feel at all like going to the gym.

I obviously had to find a class next. I wanted to know more. I wanted to learn. The low impact nature of yoga was perfect for me. I’ve had a weak ankle since I tore the ligaments in a grade school accident, then broke the same ankle on the stairs a few years ago. Running is hard for me (though I love hiking).

Yoga makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. Since I started, two years ago, I’ve seen the progress in my flexibility. I’ve lost more than forty pounds, with regular weekend hikes and an experiment with eating vegan. My meditation practice comes and goes (I keep trying), but yoga happens regularly.

I attend the Friday morning class at the city recreation centre, sometimes Mondays and weekends, too. In White Rock, my classmates are mostly retired and senior. But what I love most about the city classes (besides the price) is the variety of teachers.

Sometimes the class will focus more on intention and meditation, but other times, it’s a physical challenge. Sometimes I need the strap and the blocks, but on other days, I feel I’m in the zone.

In my day job, I work as an ESL teacher. I’m also a writer and artist, with a few published books and a very big dream. It took me a while before I figured out how I could make it come true. Artists have to work with multiple jobs. I teach what I love–writing, reading, self-publishing–and I want to add yoga and meditation to my portfolio.

Being a full-time artist means putting together disparate pieces to make up a whole paycheque. After completing this yoga teaching course, I plan to work part-time. My day job is after school hours. I can teach yoga in a studio or rec centre in the mornings. Some time building my confidence, experience, and connections is necessary before I can create a full-time freelance income.

I love how portable yoga is. It can be taught in a studio, in someone’s living room, on the beach, and on the road. I want to teach the physical alongside the mental. Writing has been a part of my meditation practice from the beginning. I think it could be taught alongside a yoga practice as well. The connection between body and mind is an important part of freewriting and yoga. It’s how I understand and process my depression.

I want to make the practice and the teaching a bigger part of my life and work, and this course is the structure and guidance I need. It’s a great leap forward to an independent future, where I can make my living teaching, making art, practicing mindfulness, and being a happier, more balanced person. I’m excited about that future.