Transformation Tuesday: Abi Amstutz
The incredible thing about Yoga is that it meets you where you are at. And then it accepts you. Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a time and a place for teeth-gritting, muscle burning and a push-through-it attitude; such as when I trained for my first race this past autumn. I definitely underestimated the endurance required to run 4 miles!
But Yoga functions differently from other forms of exercise. It has the ability to be constant, something you are able to do no matter the situation you are in.
My decision to be a Yoga instructor has been long in the making- nearly a decade!
Through each passing year of practice Yoga has met me where I was and patiently transformed me into who I am today.
For example, when I was 18, I became aware of a slight deformity in my hips, and had
intense surgery on my right hip after my cartilage tore (a common complication of “backward hips”). But I was still able to do Yoga, through breath, through mediation and through careful stretching. I believe because of this I recovered faster than doctors had predicted and ended my physical therapy several appointments early, with my PT assuring me I was stronger and more flexible than most people, much less those who just went through surgery.
And again, just in the past few months, when I tore the ligaments in my right ankle after a
rock climbing accident, I was able to practice many different asanas and maintain much of my leg strength and limberness. Once I was off crutches I went right back to teaching.
Perhaps not teaching every advanced option or jumping right back into every challenge,
but that’s the beauty of Yoga. No matter where you are at you can respectfully accept each limitation while focusing on your capabilities; and transform from there.
In between the injuries and other adventures came a period of self-doubt and many
questions. I knew I loved doing Yoga, but I wasn’t convinced I could translate that into teaching Yoga. I had so many fears that would catapult through my optimism, like “am I too young?” “do I really have time for this?” “What if I’m not taken seriously at first?” “What if I’m unable to connect with a local gym or studio?” “What if I’m just not good at teaching?” and even “What if I’m unable to do Yoga someday?” After a great deal of internal debate and research, and gentle prodding from friends and family, I would eventually convince myself to try. Try because I enjoy a good challenge, but also because I would still be able to live with myself if I failed. I would still be able to practice Yoga, and succeed at my own pace and in my own way.
While it can be satisfying to clench your fists and fight your way to amazing and quickly
noticeable change, sometimes the most profound transformations are those that happen over an extended period of time.
I am an instructor today because my love for this more patient style finally caught up with
- I’ve heard it said that “Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself”. Yourself when you’re tired. Yourself when you’re injured. Yourself when you’re busy. Yourself when you’re unmotivated. Yourself when you’re frustrated with the goals you set. Yourself when you’re unsatisfied. Yourself when you’re upset at your eating habits. Yourself when you decide to change.
So whether you would consider yourself a “yogi” or not, give yourself patience. Allow time and trial and error to pass. Because the best visions we have are those when we look back and are able to see just how radically we’re able to change. When you realize transformation was simply a consequence of being yourself.