The following is from a post I made in my previous blog on June 26, 2012, in the midst of my 200 hour yoga teacher training. It’s interesting to see the difference in just two years. At the end of the entry, I talk about “turning off the distractions”. This is one of the main reasons I’m hosting the Appalachian Retreat this September. The goal is to let everyone feel that calmness and centered feeling. The focus and clarity that accompanies such a retreat into nature and off the grid. In case you’re wondering, you can find out more about the 3-day retreat here at 

I started Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training with Melisa Deane on June 1, 2012.  The yogi [correction: yogini] in me now is critiquing and correcting the pose but more importantly, I’m letting it just be.  Being okay with where you are right now  was something I struggled with in my Yoga practice and life.

Often I have been looking forward to completing something: school, house projects, side art work, paying off my debt [to buy a house], etc.  Practicing mindfulness and acceptance of this very moment seemed like a daunting task…at first.  I use to buckle emotionally under stress and become a cold killer, just continuing with the daily tasks and passing the buck on my emotions for another day to deal with them.  Accepting what you’re feeling right now is okay, and encouraged.  Aside from the physical aspect of Yoga, this journey of improving my practice, meditation, and overall habits have been helped greatly by undergoing Yoga Teacher Training.

It’s only been less than a month I’ve been in YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) and I’ve undergone: job changes,    relationship changes (breakup and reconciliation) with my boyfriend, Father in the hospital and unable to work (emotional and monetary stress), physical injury, summer class at the University and probably other things that would seem stressful but just don’t seem to bother me as much now.

I can’t say I’m a zombie.  I laugh, I cry, I get mad,  I enjoy the good and bad life has to offer.  But I try not to hold onto those negative emotions for longer than needed for the moment.  I’ve changed my entire ritual, no more sleeping in until 10 minutes before I have to leave for work.  I’m awake at 5/5:30 am and on my yoga mat by 6am. I love it. I never thought I would LOVE waking up so early.  It’s not for everyone but it has definitely helped me, a lot.  I look forward to my practice and most importantly, the meditation that comes with it.  Even if I don’t have time to do a full or short practice, I make sure to do a few sun salutations, the closing sequence, and meditation.

So, now to the subject of this post.  Why is this “A Journey Long Awaited For“? Ever since the beginning of 2009, when I tried Hatha Yoga through CCBC Life Learning classes, I was hooked.  The breathing techniques, the stretching, the strength, the fierce concentration and ease with each pose excited me.  I continued with Vinyasa flow yoga.  It introduced heat into my practice and more intermediate poses.  Then, in August 2010, I was distraught that when I finally decided to take on a yoga teacher training program, that I had torn my ACL and MCL in my left knee in an accident with a friend and now required surgery.  Through 2011 I went through recovery and slowly but surely regained my flexibility and use of my left leg.  My confidence slowly returned as I battled the emotions inside of me that accompanied this accident.

One a side note, this accident really was a wake up call.  First off, I was drunk.  Second, I was wrestling someone else that was drunk and also on drugs.  How could I let myself get this way?  I would yell at myself in my head for being “so stupid” and thought I had reached the point of no return.  My body would never be the same and I could not endure previous forms of joy aka YOGA.  Earlier this year, I stopped drinking and what a change I have seen.  Not only do I have more energy to do things, but my mind is clear and focused.  Time passes much slower for me, and for this I am grateful.  Instead of partying my weekends away, I’m working and rewarding myself and enjoying every single moment because every single moment is not spent in mindspace blankness.  

So back to yoga.  I had been saving up money for teacher training since the end of 2011, after I was fully recovered.  It just so happened that other Yoga teachers I was following had encouraged me to teach.  I thank Levi Planter and Beth Graham for sending me towards Melisa.  It truly is a blessing to have such a wonderful teacher (and classmates!!) for my first yoga teacher training (200 hours btw).  Yes, first.  Meaning, there will be more.  The journey will continue throughout the rest of my life and I’ve found something that helps me stay focused, calm and patient, especially in stressful and demanding situations.  I hope everyone can try yoga at least once (twice, thrice, hehe you get the point) and receive some of the benefits I have.  I cannot wait to help others along this path as I start to teach.  And I will not look forward to the end of the journey, I will look forward to the moment, the here, the now.  Turn off all those distractions and facing yourself is hard to do.  Once you do it though, it’s hard to return to a hectic lifestyle.  Why add the stress?  This is my life and I’m going to try my best.


Jen Allen

Jen Allen Yoga - This was Jen Allen during her 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training

Jen Allen Yoga – This was me during my 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training in 2012


p.s. I look forward to posting pictures of YTT in the future!

The video shown below is when I just started practicing…