Pura Vida’s flyer had struck me at what had become my favourite place in Milan, Mantra Raw. I had planned to take a class on my last Saturday in Milan however in my rush to get date night ready, did not make it. I have learned that, when things are left uncompleted, unseen or unsaid in my travels and or love affairs, it is sometimes a sign that I am to return, although I did not think much of it at the time. It rang true for the yoga course. And something told me that love for my flame had not burned out either.

I didn’t know what would come from my crazy choice to leave the comfort of an employment contract, that stagnant feeling I would often get as a result of staying in one place for an extended period. Follow your heart had been my life mantra – even when at times this had led to heart break, I had no regrets. And this time my heart was set on the Luxury Brand Management course at Bocconi. Or maybe it was love reminding me that what you run from rules you.

With no plans to be a yoga teacher, I was inspired to do teacher training after, by chance on afternoon in Sydney, I was listening to Mark Breadner speak at a Teacher Training information session Egg of the Universe in 2016. For me, the teacher training in Milan was one way to meet new people and take my practice to the next level while I studied at Bocconi – the training and university course started on the same date – surely it was meant to be.

As I recounted my story (adding to it, weight management as a goal) to a circle of six women (who became my friends over the following weeks) I fought falling asleep from travel fatigue – 8 weeks of weekend training and unlimited yoga lay ahead of me and I had to find a way to financially sustain myself in Milano.

Although I secured a new (remote) consulting client and was trying to go with the flow, I questioned my choice to leave my comfort zone. Within the first week I learned that I was not permitted to enroll in the Bocconi course as an international student. I felt a sense that I had ruined my life. What had I done? Maybe I had become used to the security of my fortnightly pay?

It seemed like even the yoga course (now paid for) was not what I expected – what exactly was this course teaching me if I did not want to be a teacher? I enjoyed speaking with our instructor Gaby and the other girls, the beautiful studio and the practice yet questioned the delivery of the course and my capacity to teach at the end of it.

I wanted to leave. Wasn’t this the same feeling that had come up during the thirty-day challenge? The feeling that sparked me to leave everything for Milan? During the past eighteen months, my treks, like yoga had served as a form of meditation, clearing my mind so I set off to complete a track that I had started earlier that year, to create space – walking from Montefiascone to Rome.

Like yoga, walking reminded me that truly following your flow was to be, not “try to be.” It was a reminder that sometimes staying in a pose, even if it is uncomfortable or feels like you are not growing, can develop you in ways that you do not even realise.

“You are strong belief.” Repeated our teacher.  It became my new mantra. 

Learning to breathe through the feelings of discomfort, easing into it, allows you to be and as a result, achieve more than you can expect of yourself, become more than you could imagine.  

Staying with the course and working through my feelings led me to attend a week in Azerbaijan, as part of an Australian trade delegation – always returning for weekend yoga teacher training classes and assessment before spending my final week in Italy walking the path of St Francis of Assisi.  That was the unexpected year that was 2017.  There will no doubt be more to follow.

When have you overcome discomfort to achieve more than you planned or expected?