Goodbye Year of the Dragon, Hello Year of the Snake

2012 was the year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar. I talked a lot about the year of the Dragon and what is symbolized in my first few yoga classes of the year that I taught. You see this was supposed to be a year of epic successes and fatal failures. A year that moved by quickly. Much like the dragon’s body there were to be great arching highs and substantial lows; a year where the love and energy that you put in would be returned ten-fold, and the negative energy returned like poison. Looking back on this year I see it was all this and more for me.

I started the year taking spin and kettlebell teacher training at my gym. I went from teaching one yoga class a day to two, and then after a few other teachers left, I  acquired a spin class and a kettlebell barre class. Of the two original yoga classes one was taken away, but then I was offered two more which brought me to teaching five classes a week at one gym and one a month at another. The energy I put in to teaching was returned to me times ten as promised by the year of the Dragon. The more classes I took and the stronger I became the more energy I was able to pass on and the more students grew to know me. I learned a strategy that has benefited me tremendously, which was if you can’t get your existing friends to come take your classes then make friends with the people who do. I went to Costa Rica on a yoga teacher training retreat. In Costa Rica, into the fire when we left, I put in worry and self doubt, and I took home with me a courageous spirit and melted heart. Both have lasted longer than the suntan.

Natalie starting 2013 with her "training for two" new life

While my flight attendant job remained pretty much the same as it has the past 7 years, I flourished at my gym and had many opportunities presented to me that I took advantage of. I became a mentor to a group of yoga teacher trainees and supported them on their journey to become teachers. They taught me even more than I think I could have taught them and through their journey I was humbled by my own struggles and uncertainty. It’s a daunting task for anyone to get up in front of a room of people and spill your heart while hoping to inspire. I learned to speak from my heart this year instead of from what I read in books. In the past few months I’ve had more students cry and confide in me that I opened up something deep inside them than ever before.

And another important shift in my life helped open up my eyes and my world as well… becoming pregnant. It’s no surprise to those close to me by now that this was not what I expected from this year. But it’s the year of the dragon – things happened with such a quickness I did not expect. After finding out in August I’ll admit there were moments where I thought my life as I knew it was going to be over. I had to cancel plans to go to Costa Rica for the next teacher’s retreat in 2013, and I had to give up a big part of my social life, which was drinking. What I didn’t know was how many people I would inspire with my journey along the way. I have had so many women at the gym confide in me that they work harder because they see me working hard. Some of them are pregnant and some are not. Some are just finding out they are pregnant and haven’t even told their families but want to share with me. Some have already had their children and are struggling to get back in shape. So many stories and so many faces and names that I never would have learned without becoming pregnant myself. I am humbled and thankful. I have grown closer to some of my friends, by taking a step on the same path they have chosen, and I have grown apart from others because my life is moving down a different path. It’s definitely been a year of highs and lows.

So as I say goodbye to 2012 I reflect back on all the abundance it has brought to me. Some of this was self-created and some were just simple blessings I didn’t ask for but have been happy to receive. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the strong backing of not only my friends but my family and everyone who has believed in me. The year of the dragon has bestowed more successes than failures on me, and I hope the same is true for all of you.

My resolution for last year was to “resolve to evolve.” It’s a broad resolution but to me it basically meant not staying stagnant and moving forward in a quest to constantly re-invent myself. I think I accomplished this task pretty well as I look back over 2012. This year I am resolving to surrender to the journey. My life as I know it is about to change, and I know there will be many factors beyond my control. My hope is to do the best I can and handle everything the best way I know how. I may not be able to travel as much next year or hike as many peaks as I’d like but my family of two is about to become a family of three and I can’t be selfish anymore. I have enjoyed many years of being selfish and having my time as my own and now it’s time to surrender to the year of the snake. The Chinese believe the snake stays in a coil so as not to show it’s whole body and give away it’s secrets and that’s exactly how I believe 2013 will be – a year to be coiled inside myself, lying in wait for what’s to come.






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About the Author: Natalie Magee writes a regular column for Happiness Series about what motherhood and beyond - from prenatal to postpartum. Her intention with her column, "Baby & Beyond - What No One Else Will Tell You" is to give practical advice and tips to the busy mom and mom-to-be. She also shares her experiences good, bad and ugly as a woman, wife, mom, flight attendant and fitness instructor. Natalie is also a regular fitness contributor on Happiness Series. She will continue to create great, effective workouts for anyone - including the busy moms out there - who wants to get fit and stay in shape.

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