We connected with Zuna Yoga 500 Hour yoga teacher training graduate, Miggi Nesfield, to hear her story about finding yoga, and how her Bali Yoga teacher training experience has influenced her professional life, and world view.
Yoga came in to my life when I was 18. I wanted to try something new, and joined a hot yoga class. I went to this class several times; I was flexible, and I could show off, so why not? Fast-forward a few years; yoga was in and out of my life, but it came to stay when a close family friend died. I didn’t know how to deal with the grief I felt until my mum suggested I go to a yoga class to take my mind off things. It worked. At the time, I didn’t know how it was helping me through difficult times, besides having something to focus on. I continued to go to these classes until slowly but surely, the real reasons for yoga seeped into my conscious. I began taking up different types of yoga and eventually began my home practice, teaching myself ways to put together sequences.
I’d bounced around a few different jobs and a few different countries, but found that I almost always came back to teaching in some form whether it was school teaching, horse riding instructing, or the occasional helping-friends-do-cool-yoga-stuff. After teaching Art & Design in secondary school for a several years, I realized that this wasn't for me, but my ability to instruct clearly and succinctly could transfer elsewhere. I'd gone through a difficult time in several aspects of my life, and decided I needed to focus the energy I had left teaching elsewhere: a Bali Yoga Teacher Training. Months of searching, saving, and planning brought me to Zuna Yoga, where I signed up for the 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Although I haven't stayed in one job or focused on one thing for long, when I actually am involved with something, I go all in. So my logic was that 200 hours would not do for me, I needed to be armed with as much knowledge, and have as full an experience as possible; 500 hours was the right fit for me. What I hadn't anticipated from such an intensive course is how mentally and emotionally tough it would be, and how much I would change, for the better.
Impatient. I have always been impatient. If I wanted something, whether it is a job, a lifestyle, an object, or a life goal, I wanted it “now.” Right now. I was hotheaded, and held sour feelings hard. My immersive experience changed this mindset completely, without me realizing. I learned acceptance. Acceptance that whatever was happening, was putting me in the right direction for where I needed to be. Acceptance of others, and acceptance of myself. I learned compassion, and although compassion for myself is a lengthy process that I'm still working on... I learned to be ok with stillness - something I need in every aspect of my life. Our teacher Everett was more insightful than I ever realized!
These newfound skills I acquired in my Zuna Yoga teacher training transformed my mindset, not only in my personal life, but also in my professional life. I had previously thought school teaching was not for me, but I was wrong. I was focused on the wrong aspect of it. Pastoral care and wellness was where I should have been focusing my energy, not academics. I now work in a very remote boarding school in Malaysia, where most of my efforts go towards developing a wellness program for students and staff. This wasn't what I was hired for, but after feeling so passionate about this, I decided to be proactive. I take it upon myself to spend time, energy, and money on finding ways to improve the overall mood and happiness of people I come into contact with. There’s the go-to ideas when wellbeing is mentioned; a meditation session for exam stressed students, encouraging mindfulness in younger age groups, or creating lunch time yoga nidra sessions for staff…but there is also the little moments of joy; cake club, coffee mornings, and quiz nights. Health is not just what you eat, or if you exercise, but how each person feels within. I really believe that mental health and wellbeing are so much more important than anything else in life, and that success can only come once we can put things into perspective and see things positively. With this in mind, I'm still stubborn, but now I have the tools to I pick my battles. I have gained the ability to look at things objectively, which has made me realize that wellness is something that I will do my best to fight for in each person I encounter.
Whether you intend to take a Yoga teacher training, have already been on one, or have no intention at all, my advice is this: go all in. No matter what you do, go all in. Be a force to be reckoned with. But be compassionate. Learn to spend time with yourself. Work out your rituals. Moving through hard times is like wading through water; it makes it harder to go forward, it might slow you down, but you can always keep going. Above all, let go… allow release, however it comes.