My Yoga Story: Nicole McLellan
Had you of asked me 10 years ago, if I would be the founder of a successful non-profit organization, of which the roots stem from yoga I would have laughed! In fact, almost ten years ago, my younger sister asked me to attend a yoga class with her- and I remember vividly my response being “ I’m not paying to stretch, but thanks!”
My yoga story begins when I was 23, I had just moved back to Nova Scotia after a year gallivanting around the Rocky Mountains with my best girlfriends. I learned how to snowboard and ski, how to successfully attend every happy hour within one block of one another, I learned that Aussie’s love our snow, and that paying back student loan wasn’t near as fun as living off it, I was also just starting to learn who I was.
My sister convinced me to go, and Into studio 108 we went. I had never been in a yoga studio, to be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about yoga. Not its history or origins, the benefits to body mind and spirit, I had no idea what Kool-Aid I was about to drink.
The dim lights, beautiful hardwood floors, the peaceful space with soft music set the tone for an atmosphere that was so unfamiliar to me. It wasn’t a basketball court or a dance floor, I was in for a new kind of intrigue. Slowly people trickled in, my eyes went from one person to the next, comparing if I should do the movement they were, but noticing that they were fully embodying their own practice, not worrying for a second what I was up to.
Side by side with my sister, I experienced the most relaxing and restorative hour I had ever endured. Touching my toes seemed impossible, and meditation, Hah, that would never come I thought, but I knew I had just tried something that I loved.
I remember after that one class, I would attend a few more, here and there but nothing in the realm of commitment. Then six months later I found myself newly located in downtown Calgary, where every second person walking up the street had their yoga mat strapped to their back.
Trendy…I like it.
So, I went and bought a yoga mat, signed up to the closest studio near me and decided this would be how I’d made new friends in my new city.I became hooked! Every moment I wasn’t at work, I just wanted to be in the studio. I was being introduced to this new lens of which to view my life. This view of self-love and compassion, the art of moving slow, the smells of incense and sage... and the teachings. The teachings kept me coming back.
My time in Calgary came and went and I found myself back at University to earn my degree in education. At the time, Yoga 11 was a subject in Nova Scotia schools and I was drawn to the idea of being in the classroom and doing yoga. I didn’t even know yoga teachers had a special training or the designations that a teacher can hold, I mean, I really knew nothing about this path. A friend from school told me about a yoga teacher training in Halifax where I could then teach yoga in schools also.
My training was the best learning experience of my life thus far. It is one of the two major reasons I began this scholarship fund. Yoga teacher training and travel have been the two most influential factors of who I am today. Combined they have shaped me into being a humble, nonjudgmental school teacher, yoga teacher, employee, friend, daughter, sister, person.
My yoga story begins in Nova Scotia when I was 23, it has led me to teach students in China, running a full-on yoga program in Northern Alberta, my yoga stories continued in my junior high classrooms and then when I pursued a year of travel to Australia. Yoga meets me in the mountains and on the beaches, yoga brings me new friends and strengthens the familiar. Yoga has led me to this beautiful island in British Columbia. My yoga story isn’t even a decade old- and what I do know is that my yoga story, is really just beginning.