A snippet from my late twenties - the conditions that led me to become a yoga teacher

In my early twenties I started a career in environmental conservation in souther Africa. The environmental work I was doing was interesting to me and I also imagined/hoped it was making a difference in the lives of the people I worked with. There is so much poverty in that part of the world. I hoped and imagined that the work I was doing was improving the quality of life for some.
During many of my assignments in southern Africa I found it too hot or inconvenient to exercise outside. With no gyms or studios nearby, I started practicing yoga in the shade and privacy of my second story apartment in Chimoio, Mozambique. I brought my practice with me as my job brought me throughout Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
My at-home yoga practice brought the athletic rush I sought, as well as a deeper sense of well-being and clear-mindedness. As my practiced progressed I experienced a new sense of connection with “God” or “The Divine”. This new sense of connection felt very intimate without the mitigating elements of church, ministers, or the opinions of other believers.
For work or pleasure I would occasionally go to South Africa. A colleague there introduced me to an Ashram in Johannesburg (Sivananda Ashram), and I would attend classes there whenever I was in town. I would incorporate what I learned in classes into my home practice.
Around the year 1999, Mugabe’s government in Zimbabwe began invading and repossessing farms of its own citizens. In response, international funding to Zimbabwe largely dried up, and my position was cut. At that time I was married to a South African man. We left Zimbabwe and moved to CapeTown, South Africa. There we found Ananda Kutir Ashram (Sivananda lineage) and started taking classes and attending events there.  At that point I was pregnant and could not continue with the type of environmental work I’d been doing. When my husband suggested I look into the Yoga Teacher Training course they offered at the Ashram, I told him “I’m too smart to be a yoga teacher”!!!  So when I decided to take the course, it wasn’t in order to become a yoga teacher; I saw it as a way to deepen my own practice and learn directly from the Swamis at the Ashram.
The Yoga Teacher Training course at the Ashram was 10 months long and included tests and standard letter-grading. I was so engrossed in the material that I looked forward to studying, and ended up scoring very well on the tests and projects we were assigned. I also came to re-evaluate my statement about “being too smart” as I learned of the depth, intelligence, and cross-disciplinary nature of the Yogic systems. I began to see all the good that could come to individuals and to humanity through the practice of yoga and I reconsidered trying my hand at teaching.