In my previous post, I talked about our journey and arrival in New Zealand and the instant adjustments we had to make in life. It was the adventure we were looking for, but little did we know where it would take us.
As I settled into life for the next year, I loved living by the ocean. For the first time in my life, I was finally able to be near the water every day, and it was fantastic. Firefighters I worked with took me on their boats, gave me some borrowed diving gear, and took me out fishing and diving.
Growing up in the prairies where you can see flat land for miles and miles, this was the stuff of legends in my mind. To go 5 minutes out on a boat and be able to gather lobster, scallops, or fish was mind-blowing.
As I settled into my new fire station routine, the differences between myself and the crew were quite apparent. I had come from a place where men and yoga, although not mainstream, was accepted, and I never really had anyone bug me about doing yoga at the fire station in Canada.
You can imagine in 2011, my new fire station was not a hotbed of yoga. Undaunted, I started to do yoga as part of my fitness at the station. For those that do not know, in New Zealand, we are given 1 hour per day to maintain our fitness so we can do our physically demanding job to our best ability.
So, this is the time I decided to spring “yoga” on my new crew.
All I tried to do was copy what I had heard yoga teachers say when I had practiced yoga in Canada. I did not know what I was doing but some of the guys I worked with thought, well, this Canadian guy is doing it, and he’s in good shape; maybe we should try it. I started doing a 20-minute cool-down stretch session to complete our workouts, and surprisingly, I had pretty good buy-in.
This is how the next few months on our firefighter exchange went. Sonya was raising the kids while I worked. There weren’t any yoga studios that resembled what I was used to in Canada, so I did some yoga stretches at the fire station and slowly began to form a way to teach men and firefighters. It was a tough crowd, but it helped me understand and formulate how to connect to an audience. It actually turned out to be an absolutely vital part of my teaching journey because it helped me later to develop my voice and confidence to teach yoga to anyone, anywhere. I have not faced a tougher crowd than a crew of firefighters doing yoga for the first time.
I was starting on my eventual path to becoming a yoga teacher, but at this time, I only viewed myself as a firefighter and not a yoga teacher. Another aspect that started to form through these impromptu yoga sessions was learning how to teach skeptical men that yoga was awesome for their bodies and minds.
It was all rudimentary, and I didn’t have much guidance or expertise, but I was actually “teaching” yoga, and I loved it! I think the thing I enjoyed the most about it, which still rings true today, is helping people feel better in their bodies directly due to feeling better in the minds.
Here I was, halfway around the world, working for the New Zealand Fire Service (on a temporary contract, as I was still an employee of Edmonton Fire Rescue), diving, trying to surf, having our kids go to school in New Zealand. I was also spending as much time as possible on, in, or around the water.
I enjoyed this moment in life because we had left all the stress behind in Canada, and we were living this fantastic adventure. We were living as simple a life as possible and learning a lot about ourselves. Moreover, we were spending a lot of time as a family.
Life was grand for our first six months, we enjoyed the New Zealand summer, and we had achieved what we set out to do. We were on our adventure, living by the ocean and challenging ourselves to live the simple life. I did not realize that all this adventure was leading us to a big decision; would we continue this adventure and try and stay in New Zealand? Or would we take this year as the year it was, return to our lives in Canada and be happy living there?
Some crucial questions needed answering. Could I get a job in New Zealand as a firefighter? If I could not get a job as a firefighter, what else could I do? This uncertainty was when Sonya made a fateful comment that forever changed my life path. She said, “you like yoga and teaching it at the fire station; why don’t you become a yoga teacher and just do that?”
Sonya had planted the seed, and I started to wonder if I could become a yoga teacher. The concept was intriguing and was another adventure I could go on. So, I began to look down the rabbit hole and see what was out there for yoga teacher training.
Magically, I found Yandara Yoga and everything just seemed to fit into place. I kept looking at what they were offering, and it seemed to be the perfect fit for when I could go and it was in Bali, a place I had never been. After a few weeks of contemplation, research, and a lot of talks with Sonya. I got in touch with Yandara and registered for their teacher training. I was so excited to be on another adventure!
Next time I will tell you my adventures of my yoga teacher training and the incredible life journey I went on to do that.
Read Yogafire Origins – Part 1 – My Journey Begins here.
Read Yogafire Origins – Part 2 – My First Yoga Class here.
Read Yogafire Origins – Part 3 – Firefighters doing Yoga here.
Read Yogafire Origins – Part 4 – The Odyssey Begins here.
Read Yogafire Origins – Part 5 – The Immigration Quagmire here.
Read Yogafire Origins – Part 6 – Almost Arrested and Other Obstacles here.
Read Yogafire Origins – Part 7 – Final Preparation for our Trip here.