“True wisdom is to know what is best worth knowing, and to do what is best
worth doing.” ~ Edward Humphrey

For the past several months, I’ve been agonizing over whether or not I should go back to school to pursue my Master’s degree. At first, I couldn’t decide which program I’d want to choose, as there are several that strongly appeal to me. But when I really started thinking about what I want to do when I “grow up”, I realized that above all else, I wanted to be able to do something full-time with my yoga. I’ve got my 200-hour certification and am about to embark on my 500-hour certification, I’ve got yoga therapy training, and I work full-time in the healthcare field. The company I work for full-time is owned by its hospitals, and we work with those hospitals to help them save money, improve quality of patient care, and meet national regulations set forth by the government, among other things.

As I sat mulling over what my path in life should be, it hit me that if I went back to pursue my Master’s in Public Health, then I could perhaps marry that up with my yoga knowledge to help design research studies. These research studies could be things like showing how yoga helps cancer patients better handle treatments, or how yoga can help treat things like depression or anxiety disorder. One of our hospitals mentioned at a conference last year that, since they are a small facility, they have been implementing wellness programs in their community in an attempt to educate people in ways that will keep them from being readmitted for the same conditions over and over. So why couldn’t I help design studies for our hospitals that show how yoga can help treat a variety of conditions, or how it can help speed recovery? I could not only design the study, identifying all the variables that would need to be accounted for and what the calculations would need to be, but I could also design the actual yoga sequences to be used for each condition being studied. Eureka! The perfect thing for someone like me, who is always wanting to research things to death and gather all the facts for everything thrown at me.

My company will pay for virtually all of this, so it’s kind of a no-brainer…I can’t pass this opportunity up, can I? Of course not! So why was I stressing so much? I finally figured out what I want to do with my life, and I can’t stop freaking out!

Well, it’s probably because I’ve got SO much going on in my life right now. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the yoga world has really opened up to me since June, and the teaching opportunities keep coming my way, which is amazing and wonderful and what I’ve been waiting for these past three years. I’ve reestablished my personal yoga practice, and have been seeing some amazing growth in that practice. And I’ve been running steadily for over two years now, building up my distance to the point where I am about to run my third half-marathon next weekend. Oh, and then there’s spending time with my husband and daughters, taking my daughters to their various activities, spending time with our dogs, trying (but not succeeding) to keep my house presentable. The list goes on.

Over the past few months, my insomnia has gotten worse, my panic attacks have come back, and I’ve been a major grumpy-butt. So I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to do all the things I want to do and maintain my sanity, and there were just no good answers. So, I had to sit down and really think about what was the best thing for ME….what is the most important thing to ME?

The answer was easy. I really want to make a difference in the world, and I think that if I can help design these studies and analyze the results, I can do just that. Which means I definitely NEED to take advantage of going back to school, and continue pursuing my 500-hour yoga certification. But that means added stress, as I try to find time to attend classes, do my homework and pass all my exams with nothing less than As (I’m a perfectionist, what can I say?).

Coming to this realization meant I had to make some tough decisions. After all, I can’t maintain my current schedule (which is already hectic enough) and take on the additional load I’m about to take on. So, I decided this weekend that for now, I need to give up some of my teaching, as well as scale back on my running.

I took a look at which classes I’d need to give up, and decided I need to free up as much of my weekends as possible. However, I felt I couldn’t give up my Deep Stretch that I just started teaching on Sunday evenings, as it just the sort of class that can be very therapeutic for a variety of conditions. Plus, it’s the only actual yoga studio I am teaching at, and there’s nothing like teaching a yoga class in a true yogic atmosphere. It’s so nice to have the temperature right where I need it to be, have all the props we need, and have the peace and quiet that allow students to really get into the moment and focus on what they’re doing. As for during the week, I only teach on Wednesdays, so that can stay as-is.

Then I took a look at my running. Running, as I’ve mentioned before, is just as crucial as my yoga practice in terms of helping me manage my stress. So giving up running is not an option. However, I realized I don’t need to keep training for half-marathons like I have been. I’m so freaking slow, anyway. So I have decided to scale back and only focus on 5K and 10K distances in terms of any races I sign up for. Training for those distances is completely doable, and will allow me to maintain the fitness and other benefits I’ve gained.

Scaling back in the areas above should allow me to maintain the yoga practice I’ve established for myself, at least for the most part. I may have to tweak things as I go, but I think I can do it.

So, now that I’ve made all these important and life-altering decisions, I feel a strange sort of peace. Don’t get me wrong…I am still stressed and worried about whether or not I’m taking on more than I can handle. But I’ve realized that it’s OK if I have to keep tweaking. I know that it’s crucial for me to maintain my running and yoga practices, so that is non-negotiable. Therefore, if school proves to add too much stress to the mix, then I will have to adjust my school schedule to account for it. It means it may take me longer to finish, but that’s OK. At least I’ll finish and I’ve got a plan, right? Knowing that is all I need to get me through.

It’s funny. Usually I’m so wishy-washy, and I flip-flop and second-guess my decisions constantly. But not this time. I wonder why? Hmmm…maybe I have FINALLY figured out what is best for me and what is worth doing. And that sure is a nice feeling!

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