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The Walls Come Crumbling Down

Last weekend was…emotionally heavy.

The studio where I teach started their fourth teacher training on Friday night. I participated in the very first training the studio offered three years ago and have now been teaching yoga for three years. I wrote a post about my experience in teacher training.

Every year when a new yoga teacher training group starts I get a little nostalgic. Those 200 hours that I spent in teacher training were the most formative of my adult life. My yoga practice and teaching yoga has opened me in ways that I never thought possible. When I went through teacher training, I stated that I wasn’t going to cry. I had the walls built so high and my life arranged just the way that I wanted it. And while I managed somehow not to cry in teacher training…I’m fairly certain everyone in the studio has seen me cry at some point over the last three years since. The walls have slowly been crumbling.

This year’s teacher training is especially tugging at my heart because I had the opportunity to spend the first two days of their training assisting. One of my stated dreams since I started in fitness/yoga is that I want to train other teachers. I knew it from the first fitness certification that I ever participated in six years ago. I am grateful for the opportunity to help with some of this current training so I can begin to learn what the process involves from the leadership side.

We sat in this circle Friday night and talked about who we were and why we were there. We sat in another circle Saturday afternoon and talked about how yoga has changed our lives. I came home from training Saturday evening and went for a long run. Then came home and lost it. It was so beautiful to hear everyone’s unique journey, how they ended up in that circle and the role yoga has played. The stories covered the spectrum and it reinforced this thing I’ve been trying to accept for so long that we are all human and we all struggle. But there is also so much beauty in life and so many ways that we can serve and help each other.


In Sanskrit yoga means union or connection. I feel that all the time. I feel more deeply connected to my body, my actions and my thoughts. I feel in union with my students and the energy they bring to every class. I feel connection with a community in a family like way that I never thought possible. And I feel more union in this world as I seek to find my place in it. But I will tell you one thing…I know this is how I was called to serve.

Sunday I had to show up to teach my 9:15 a.m. class that many of my regulars call “yoga church.” I didn’t get out of bed until 10 minutes before I had to leave for class and I drove there with a heavy heart wondering how I could possibly inspire them on this day. I had received some hard family and personal news on Saturday night and I didn’t know how I would make it through class. I walked into the room to find 70 yogis on their mats eagerly waiting for class to begin and I took a deep breath and asked them to find a comfortable seat.

I went on to read the following passage that a friend of mine recently shared on her blog.


We chanted Om to begin class and then started to flow. I made it through class, sometimes fighting back tears, but with so much joy and gratitude for the students I was leading through practice. There were so many people in that room that have been with me since day one and that I care deeply about. I could literally feel them lifting me up.

90 minutes later I brought them back to the same seated position we started in to  complete our practice. I sat there and told them how grateful I was for the beautiful energy they bring to class and then completely broke down and cried in front of the entire room. We chanted one last Om, bowed namaste and then I was overwhelmed by love. I received more hugs, text messages and facebook posts about that class than any I had ever taught. Everyone told me it was an amazing class and that all they felt was connection and union.

Last April I wrote a post about being real and letting go. In that post I included one of my favorite quotes in the entire world.

velveteen2I have fought real for a long time. But what I shared with the teacher trainees in that circle and with my class on Sunday is that I am real. And I am vulnerable. And sometimes it’s scary as shit but at the end of the day the benefits of letting the walls fall down and becoming more open is the path to love and clarity.

{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Erica { EricaDHouse.com } January 13, 2014, 9:11 am

    I think crying, and therefore opening yourself up to be vulnerable to emotions like that in front of others, is one of the most beautiful things to witness. I’m sorry you received some negative news this weekend, but it sounds like it provided you the catalyst for an amazing personal experience.

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit January 13, 2014, 9:40 am

    You continue to inspire me, Jen! I see light just shining through you, even just on this blog. I pray that everything is okay with your family and I’m sorry about the news. But your realness is why people love you and why you are so relatable. Love you lady!!

  • Tamara January 13, 2014, 10:05 am

    Thanks for this lovely post. I hope to take a yoga teacher training course one day, and this really moved me and reminded me of why I want to do it!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun January 13, 2014, 10:16 am

    What a great group of people to help you through! It sounds like even though it was very trying day that being with those people who support you and just releasing your emotions was just what you needed that day! HUGS!

  • MC January 13, 2014, 10:27 am

    I love this post! One of my favorites!! I’m going to use part of your “Journey to the Heart” page as a FB status today.

    Thinking about you and your family as you process whatever news you received this weekend about your family.

  • julia January 13, 2014, 10:37 am

    I recently completed my 200hr TT and it was such a formidable experience. Your posts on training were my initial inspiration. Now as I begin to teach, the biggest challenge (other than keeping rights and lefts straight) is to sound authentically me. I would so love to take your class someday, I have a feeling it would be exactly like reading your blog- authentic and inspirational. This post was so lovely and sincere, exactly why I began reading years ago.

  • Alicia January 13, 2014, 10:43 am

    This is by far one of my favorite posts you’ve ever done; it’s why I follow you- you are real, inspiring and a true role model. Best of luck with your personal matter!

  • Brittany @ Proteinandpumps January 13, 2014, 11:07 am

    Jen, I am so sorry about the sad news. Like with everything else, you will perservere. You and your story are so inspiring to so many people <3

  • Jordan Lynn // Life Between Lattes January 13, 2014, 11:20 am

    This is a beautiful post – you can just tell it comes straight from the heart. 🙂 I have never been through yoga teacher training, but I have learned so much through my yoga teachers, and I am so, so grateful for that.

  • She Rocks Fitness January 13, 2014, 11:29 am

    So glad that you shared that passage! It is amazing how much yoga teacher training can open your eyes, heart, and body to so many new experiences. Mine was life changing and one I will never forget. Like I said last night, I’m here for you whenever you need a blogging friend to vent to. 🙂 XOXO

  • Nicole January 13, 2014, 11:32 am

    What a beautiful post. I’m thankful for your posts like this. I think being real is not always celebrated as it should be so it takes the crumbling of walls and vulnerability to admit to one’s self and the world that they are in fact, real. That passage was also beautiful and I had to look up the book so I could read it myself!

  • Belen January 13, 2014, 11:44 am

    Thanks 4 being so inspiring Jen!

  • Dana January 13, 2014, 12:13 pm

    I think this is one of my favorite posts…i absolutely LOVE that you are part of my Y2TT

  • Caroline January 13, 2014, 12:29 pm

    Beautiful post, but I am sorry to hear your sad news. Positive thoughts being sent your way

  • Donna January 13, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Beautiful beautiful post. This really filled my heart, thank you for being such an inspiration.

  • Kelsey @ Fueling Strong January 13, 2014, 1:29 pm

    This is beautiful. I build so many walls in my life often times to protect my emotions, but those moments when I let my guard down are the most rewarding. Those are the moments when I truly feel something that words cannot even begin to explain. It is like my soul is at rest.

  • Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run January 13, 2014, 1:49 pm

    WOW, what a post. Thank you for sharing this experience. I know what it’s like to resisting letting your walls crumble down, but I also know how great it feels. You’re an inspiration beyond words… and REAL, you are.

  • kelly January 13, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Love this post. Wish i was close enough to take your yoga class.

  • Pam January 13, 2014, 4:35 pm

    Beautiful…open you…inspiring to me…feeling your love…knowing your strength…you are Beautiful!
    Thank you.

  • Amber January 13, 2014, 5:12 pm

    Until very recently, probably the last 6 months to a year, I prided myself so much in being the girl who had everything together. From the outside, my life looks like it fits really nicely into this perfect little package. Good job, nice home, wonderful husband, cute pets, etc. But the truth is I have SO many vulnerabilities that I am constantly ‘hiding’ from the outside world. So this year, I am slowly working on opening myself up and being more vulnerable and reminding myself that it’s OK to cry in front of people and show them that life isn’t perfect all the time. Thanks for another beautiful and inspiring post, Jen. I love that quote you shared at the end so much.

  • Ashley @ Power, Love, and Self-Discipline January 13, 2014, 5:18 pm

    Jen, your authenticity is inspiring. I am so glad you had such a beautiful, moving experience, but my thoughts and prayers are with you with whatever you are facing. Blessings to you.

  • Joy January 13, 2014, 5:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Jen. I, too, wish I were close enough to take that class.

    I’m so happy for you that you have such great people taking your class. I’m glad you’re getting the support and caring that you deserve.

  • Dawna Hetzler January 13, 2014, 6:14 pm

    Great article! You might want to check out my new book, Walls of a Warrior-Conquering the fears of our hearts. It goes right along with what you are saying about walls of our hearts coming down and living in the beauty of transparent relationships.

  • Parita @ myinnershakti January 13, 2014, 6:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing this side of yourself so openly. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way to get you through this trying time.

  • Caroline Bell January 13, 2014, 8:07 pm

    this post was so beautiful. I have had such a hard hard year, and that meditation passage, WOW! And yoga, it has literally saved me. I hope to be able to take your class one day when I am visiting Charlotte.

    Also, Melody Beattie has a wonderful App called “letting go”. It is wonderful little passages like the above you may enjoy.


  • Sarah January 13, 2014, 9:05 pm

    ♥♥♥ lots of love to you!!

  • Charlotte January 13, 2014, 9:23 pm

    You are so incredibly mindful and I love this post. Very inspiring.

  • meghan @ struggle muffins January 13, 2014, 10:06 pm

    I’ve had a similar experience in terms of coming to grips with being vulnerable and becoming real. I admire you so much for letting those walls crumble, thank you for sharing this post.

  • Katherine January 14, 2014, 7:13 am
  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit January 14, 2014, 9:12 am

    I know I already commented on this post once but here I am again:) I linked to this post in my post for today because it was sort of similar and I want people to read yours if they haven’t already… I didn’t even notice the first time around that you used the same quote that I put in my post for today. It’s definitely beautiful and one of my favorites as well!

  • karla @ finding my fit January 14, 2014, 10:03 am

    What a beautiful post–it’s always refreshing to see people show their vulnerabilities. Just shows us all that we’re not alone… everyone has their inner demons, struggles and worries. I pray that you continue to fight and that whatever news you heard is getting better. <3

  • pamela January 14, 2014, 12:21 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to the power and grace of vulnerability. Thank you – I needed to read this. As always you share such wise and comforting advice from the heart. I am sorry that you received sad news. Sending lots of love!

  • tara January 15, 2014, 1:33 pm

    what a lovely post. i have also been a bit shocked how spiritual yoga has become for me. its sort of odd and i have a hard time explaining it but you did a great job. i believe that most of life’s great lessons can be learn from a combo of the velveteen rabbit, the wizard of oz (there’s no place like home!), and some of those old school aesop’s fables.

    thinking of you !

  • Megan (The Lyons' Share) January 16, 2014, 12:34 pm

    Thinking about you as you’re going through these hard times! Sometimes what we truly need is to just open up and admit that we need to let the walls come crumbling down … so I’m hoping this was your first step to get back to feeling like yourself!

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