Lain Mackenzie: Teacher

One of my last assignments for my yoga teacher training is to talk a little about myself. A personal introduction to my future students. Before sitting down to write it, this felt a little strange to me, almost too self-centered and it made me uncomfortable. Once I sat with it a little longer, I realized that I need my students to know my journey and how I might best help them in theirs. I needed to give them my tattered road map so they could learn from my own experience getting to a place of peace and oneness with life. I feel like I am now brimming over with ideas and experiences that I wish to share with whomever needs it.

I have always felt like I needed to be of service. Even as a young girl in the church and girl scouts, I really loved working for the community and feeling like I was doing something for the benefit of others. It made me feel good. Even working in management in my adulthood, I tried to help my employees in whatever way I could, be it more training to get them promoted or to be a shoulder to cry on when life kicked them down. I tried to stay available to them and be a source of comfort. Sometimes that was my downfall, when I cared so much and it was still ‘just business’ to some.

The stress of corporate life had swallowed me up for ten plus years and I had always wished I could try something new. I found yoga when I most needed it. I started to go regularly to my local studio within walking distance and it felt so good and right! But life kept going and I fell off every couple months, citing my 50+ hour work week as the problem. The real problem was I wasn’t ready to go all in with my practice. I still held my self loathing above my self worth.

Growing up, I had found it difficult to open myself up. I suffered from a deep depression in high school, being scared of who I really was. In constant fear that my loved ones would stop caring about me if they knew the truth. The realization that I was gay was a hard one for me, knowing that it would make my life harder to navigate coming from a very religious background. It solidified my teenage brain into a cycle of depression, self hatred and secrecy. It took a long time to feel okay in my own skin. I had never loved myself, and my yoga practice forced me to begin knocking the walls down and look deeper.

One day when I was really unhappy at work, I started taking some college classes for a future that I wanted to move toward, going into Hospitality Management. I only got through two semesters before I felt pulled toward another certification, my yoga teacher training. I had wanted to start my own business where I would teach yoga, run retreats and serve my community with a place to gather. I was going to wait to do my yoga training after my degree was completed, but one day I found an online training called ‘Yoga 4 Love” and pulled out my credit card immediately without hesitation.

There was no question I needed to do something. To shift my life toward another purpose. I felt it in my bones. Within two months of starting my training online, I quit my job and decided that I was not okay allowing stress to dictate my well-being anymore. It was a very emotional decision, losing the image of myself that I held so tightly for so long, but I knew that I could no longer put myself through emotional torture for a fat paycheck. I’m lucky to have a partner that really understood my suffering and gave me the permission that I felt I needed to save my sanity. She gave me the strength to take the leap. My fellow yoga teacher trainees also showed me a way of life that I yearned for. One of self care and self love.

It has been a year of major transitions, the biggest being our move three hours away from family and friends to open our own retreat center. It has not been a smooth road, and I have questioned our actions many times, but I knew that if I kept listening to my heart that it would never lead me astray. I began this journey to self love and I now feel confident that my story and knowledge can be what I share to help others.

Please contact me if you feel pulled to. Know that you are worth loving and worth the journey.

Love & Light!

Check out www.yoga4love.com if you want to get certified in yoga online! Be a part of the Goddess Tribe!

Ayurvedic Yogi Chef

I have decided to try my hand at cooking some traditional Ayurvedic meals. According to VeryWellFit.com “An Ayurvedic diet is an eating plan that provides guidelines for when you eat, what you eat, and how you eat to boost your health, prevent or manage disease, and maintain wellness. If you follow an Ayurvedic diet, you’ll eat primarily whole or minimally processed foods and practice mindful eating rituals.”

I am not comfortable in the kitchen by any stretch of the imagination, but I can follow a recipe. The main problem with these recipes is they have a lot of ingredients not readily available in rural America where I find myself. The Walmart 20 minutes from our home had more than I would have thought, but I still had to tweak my concoctions to what I could acquire locally. So I started with two dishes, Winter Vegetable Soup and Kitchari.

My groceries from Walmart and Save-a-lot

The Kitchari was the fan favorite. The main items I didn’t have for this particular recipe was mung dal (subbed lentils), cumin seeds(skipped) and asafoetida (skipped). All in all it had a great curry flavor and I added squash, leeks, carrots, and green beans for the mixed veggies. My wife really liked it and even my one year old liked the vegetables. I wouldn’t skimp on the fresh ginger and cilantro, they really made the dish.

Kitchari recipe from https://www.ayurveda.com/recipes/kitchari

The Winter Vegetable Soup was well received as well. My daughter loved the sweet potato and I loved the heat from the curry at the back of your throat. The ingredient missing was curry leaves and I subbed yellow squash for the dumpling squash it called for.

Winter Vegetable Soup from https://www.ayurveda.com/recipes/winter-vegetable-soup

I am heartened that I was able to make food for my family that was really tasty and I knew was healthy and fresh. I can’t wait to keep on this path on my yogic journey with tying in my meditaiton, asana and eating practices together to create a more full routine. Let me know if you know of any good recipes we should try!

Love & Light!