by Cathi Carino
Growing up, I always sought out approval from the authority figures in my life. I felt as if my performance was to gain their acceptance and if I did not meet their criteria, I was a failure. I remember when I first started my practice, the teacher was talking about how worthy we are and that we are enough. I started thinking about my career, my relationships, my future goals, and dreams. The one dream that resonated within me was that I wanted to bring healing into this world. That year I started working in the recovery room and I thought it was the perfect setting for me. One night, I had a dream and in that dream, Romans 12:2 was read to me, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Something started to stir in me that maybe I wasn’t meant to conform to this world, that healing can happen outside of our culture’s perception of standard medicine and care. I believed that I can do that, but first I needed to heal as well.
Yoga was something that I could call my own, that no one told me that I should do or shouldn’t do. My practice was something I did for me, I guess you can call it my escape where I did not have to perform for anyone. I believe my practice allowed me to gain courage and strength in stepping outside of my own comfort zone and into new waters. Within the last year I found my own voice, I started working in the Integrative Medicine Department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, began working on my Masters degree in Exercise Science, rekindled an old flame, joined a Dragon boat team and started this teacher training program. As we reach our half way point in training, I’m learning more about my identity, who I am meant to be, not the label that I’ve embedded in my mind. Practice has also shown me that my potential has no limitations but that there’s always room for growth and exploration. I believe there’s a reason why things happen, and maybe this was not the course I thought I would be on but this is the journey I am on.