Gratitude: A Love Letter To The Tofino Yoga Community

After five days of moving and unpacking we are finally settled in to our new mountain home here in Whistler. The boxes are all emptied, everything has found its place and we are getting more and more familiar with our new surroundings each day. It seems as if we were transitioning for a long time but in actual fact it all happened very quickly and now that the dust has cleared I am taking some time to reflect on what we have left behind, while making space for all the new opportunities coming our way. I first came to Tofino when I was just eighteen years old and I have spent the better part of the last eighteen years calling Tofino home. I raised my son there, I met some of my dearest friends there, I went through great challenge as well as my deepest times of darkness there, and in many ways it was the place where I grew up, though I wasn’t born there. I will miss many things about Tofino, not least of all the wide open beaches and the ancient trees, the quiet winters that allow you to hear the whispers of your own heart, and the powerful storms that remind you that you are small in comparison to Nature. But most of all I will miss the community of people that I have known and loved, and in particular the sincere and devoted folks that make up the Tofino yoga community.
For the last eight years I have been teaching yoga classes in Tofino and in that time I have made some deep friendships and witnessed some incredible transformations. I have been blessed to have been able to have relationship with my students, and to evolve that relationship over a long period of time. I have learned so much from this primary relationship and the person that I am today is in large part due to what I have received from those people that are so dear to my heart.  Teaching yoga to the same group of people for many years taught me that yoga really works. I knew that it worked for me, otherwise I would never have become a teacher, but to see it work for so many other people, no matter where they were starting from, has given me great faith in the practice, and the teachings. I also learned that growth is a continual process that happens over time, and that great breakthroughs are not necessarily related to intensity of practice or how many classes you attend per week,  but rather to a devotion to practice that withstands time and the ups and downs of life. I saw that those who made a commitment to coming to class, even just once a week, over a period of many years, gained access to greater peace, strength and clarity and many of those same people found the tools within to make positive changes in their own life as a result. It has been an incredible honor to be a part of this process of awakening and unfolding in the lives of so many and it is through my own commitment to this relationship that my own process of awakening has been empowered.  In fact it was through my commitment to this relationship that I learned about the power of commitment, as we will often show up for others more than we will show up for ourselves, and by striving my best to keep evolving as a teacher so that I could meet my students where they were, and serve them in the way that they deserved, I grew as a person, and every area of my life benefited. For this reason I will be eternally grateful to the community of folks that I have left behind in Tofino as I am a very different person now than I was when I first began teaching yoga to them in 2004, and though my own practices and the influence of my own esteemed teachers has also played a large part in my personal growth I feel that it was my relationship to my students that provided the greatest impetus for me to put what I was learning into real life practice.
So as this beautiful August day comes to a close and I watch the sun setting golden on the mountaintops my heart is full of gratitude for all that I have received, and witnessed, and all that I have had the opportunity to offer in my years as a yoga teacher in Tofino. I am grateful for all the wonderful conversations we had in the context of the study and the practice of yoga, and I am grateful for the way that our conversations evolved over the years, growing in depth and intimacy as we began to reveal more and more of who we really are and began to bring more of that truth to our practice.  It is the quality of these conversations that will now create the foundation for the conversations I will begin with my new community here in Whistler and it is only because I have been so deeply nourished by the relationship we have shared that I can step into this new chapter of my life with confidence and intention.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have gifted me and though I know life is busy I do hope that you will stay in touch as I look forward to hearing how your own personal journeys continue.  And though I will no longer have the opportunity to see each of you as often as we have become accustomed to please know that you will still be in mind, and in my heart, always.

 With love and infinite blessings,

Natalie

 August 27th 2012, Whistler BC

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