Made in Mexico: A Yoga Teacher’s Journey
My name is Maggie Franz. I have always been an active person, playing soccer and field hockey, skiing since age three, mountain biking by age 15. I pursued field hockey all the way to college, playing one year of division II athletics to the detriment of my body. My knees hated it. I ended up developing tendinitis in both knees and my Achilles tendon. And as you can imagine my back was always sore as it consistently took a pounding from all of the activity. I loved sports but they did not love my body!
After becoming sick of always being sore and in pain I decided to make a positive change in my life. That change happened to be yoga. I had gone to a few classes here and there, tried Bikram and Vinyasa; but I hadn’t truly opened up and started to really practice. My friend got me back into the studio and listening to the instructor. Soon my stress started to melt away. I have to admit when I first started again I was nervous as I floundered and struggled through classes in front of everyone, even though I had no reason to feel that way. Everyone went out of their way to be supportive and helpful.
Thank God for yoga. Yoga is healing – not just the physical body, but of the mind as well. High anxiety runs in my family and mine was starting to run away on me, that is until Yoga grounded me on my mat and began to teach me to live in the moment. My self-image was horribly askew as was my feeling of self-worth. Through my practice I began to learn who I really am as a person and it’s been beautiful. I am now able to love myself and I see my perception of my self elevating. I appreciate me and I’m grateful for all of the gifts that I have to offer. I am much more accepting of myself than I have ever been. I started to be able to enjoy different moments throughout my day. Even right before I had to go to work, when I was normally in the grumpiest of moods, I found myself smiling.
In November I will travel with the teachers from my studio to Maya Talum, Mexico to complete my yoga teaching certification. I am pretty close to bursting with excitement. During the day I catch myself thinking about it and a smile starts to creep from the corners of my mouth and swell into a grin. Everything I purchase or do now is in preparation for the next phase of my journey. I’ve been trying to acquire enough yoga clothes to last me the seven days and multiple practices, the passport and luggage… As part of the experience we were asked to buy a journal. I thought “Why wait until the trip?” and bought one and began to record my transformation from day one.
I understand that yoga is a personal transformation, but I also want to be able to share the benefits with everyone that I can and hopefully encourage more people to start their journey to self-awareness and self-love. In that spirit my friend Brooke Webster and I have created a website to house yoga resources, tips, articles, and a blog for each of us, photos and much more.
There is much that I hope to gain from this experience but I think what I am most excited about is the chance that it will give me to interact with and help to transform other people’s lives like the different instructors who have blessed mine. As a former coach and ski instructor a passion has developed within me for teaching and connecting with people. During this teacher training I know that we will develop lasting and rewarding friendships. And as we travel back home, a new phase of the journey will start. The previous phases of our yoga journey have been
focused inwardly, on ourselves, centering and grounding ourselves and our lives. This next journey will have a dual concentration. I look forward to continuing to grow in my own practice but will also be focused on outwardly sharing the gifts that I have been given through yoga, and this new and simpler but infinitely more rewarding way of life.
When Maggie isn’t in Mexico studying yoga she resides in Pittsburgh, PA and practices at Amazing Yoga in Pittsburgh with the owners Karen and Sean Conley. You can learn more about Maggie at www.blackdogasana.com.
This article has been featured on Yoga Guardian