Faith. Transcending Fear with Love: Steph Temple 

“I was born in the Philippines and raised in Alaska. It wasn’t until I moved to New Hampshire — where I currently live, that I discovered yoga. During this time, I was training for a bodybuilding contest and was so focused on the physicalness and what I looked like. I got buried in a ton of material stuff. Being and living on that spectrum actually drove me into my yoga practice because after that contest, stepping into the gym just felt super toxic. It was the yoga; the mindful eating and full awareness that helped me stop binge eating after bodybuilding after being so deprived. 

Now, practicing for eight years, I quit my day job, became a Certified Personal Trainer, and started teaching yoga and training my clients full time. Yoga has helped me be the best personal trainer to others I could be because I’m so mindful about the subtleties it takes to change the person’s body. It’s not just what you’re doing for workouts, it’s about how you are managing your stress; how are you living a holistic lifestyle. The way I teach my yoga classes combines two concepts: movement for the body and stillness for the mind. I challenge the body through vinyasa flow by finding anatomical alignment, guided by the breath. This is to keep the practitioner safe. Using meditation and focus on pranayama (breath), I challenge the mind into finding stillness — this, to balance the physical and emotional bodies. 

Yoga has literally transformed my whole life. I found its impact to be the greatest when I tore my ACL last year in a skiing accident. This meant weeks of stillness and months of rehabilitation. I remember the first time I showered post surgery- I cried the whole time because it was SO HARD. The pulsing pain in my leg prevented me from putting any weight on it or turning. “How would I go back to work again in 2 weeks?” I thought. The very idea of just standing on two feet felt foreign, so how would I provide guidance to my students in moving their bodies if I can’t move my own? 

I panicked, but quickly realized that the only thing left to do was to rest and meditate; to be present to the healing that was to be done from within. It was this mindfulness, the meditation, the learning about crystals, chakras, and energy that helped me heal. It was learning about all this energy work that I wasn’t ever a “believer” in. I was a wicked skeptic! I could kind of understand, but I was never on the line of actually knowing that these energy healing methods were real. It wasn’t until this injury when I had to stop moving my body that I learned how to feed my mind and my soul through these means. 

Basically, when this traumatizing skiing event that resulted in my torn ACL happened and immobilized me, I realized that I couldn’t rely on my own physical body to just do this healing — I had to do a lot of healing within. So, I started to be really aware of the foods and toxins I was letting in my body, and was drawn to become a vegetarian. I went off social media for a month and meditated and chanted every day. Doing all the singing and chanting really helped open up the pathway to connect to this divine light…and to even describe it doesn’t do it justice what it is — it downplays its power to try and talk about the connection created. I just feel connected to this light. 

It’s what we’re all seeking — we want to feel it; we don’t want to have to go somewhere to get it or have to read something to believe it. You just have to sit with yourself, process what’s going on inside on your own, and then you HAVE to acknowledge it — but, only when you’re ready to. There’s a reason why I’m experiencing all of this now and why I didn’t before. There’s a reason to it all. It’s just been one of the lessons along the way — just like every single thing we experience is a lesson. Every person we interact with is a teacher. Every person — like seriously, when I go to the grocery store I was looking at the cashier and she works with so much joy, and its these day-to-day things we experience that are the teachers. 

Asana has transformed the amount of awareness and control I have over my physical body and I’ve learned how important it is to move our bodies in different ways — unattached to one state of being. It’s all gotten me closer to the idea that we really don’t have complete control at all. We can plan and manage and itemize, but the real challenge is learning to surrender; to surrender to the healing, the voice within, and the Divine around us. So, the lessons never end and one experience continues to build on another- I’m just here for the ride. To keep reminding myself to stay present and calm- it will all work the way it’s supposed to. 

If I leave you with one thing, remember this: have Faith. Surrender to the greater work being done all around us and especially within us. You are already living your Purpose. Have Faith. 

I’m seeking service. So, I think a lot about how can I be more of service to people around me; how can other people feel this through me; how can I operate from a more loving space and understand that everyone is going to get there in its own time, too? 

It’s me living out my own purpose and doing things out of love, constantly. 

I have some crazy travel plans for the rest of the year and I’ll be traveling for a while because I just don’t know how much time I will need to help all the people I want to or how much time they will need me to be of help. The trip will start with four weeks across the country with my love, Brian; I’ll stop in Alaska for a quick visit with my family, and then I’ll head to Thailand to meet my friend Monica for about a week. Then, will begin the solo traveling for a couple months, followed by traveling with Brian to finish off the rest of the year together in Southeast Asia together. 

I really want the universe to take my feet and I just go and see where it all takes me and whoever I meet along the way — that’s who’s going to be my teacher. And it takes time to trust this because it takes time to trust in my own physical capability and also to trust that there is a divine beacon guiding my way. Fear will always be there; it’s here with me now, but I’m a firm believer in going straight into that fear because that’s where we’re challenged to grow and adapt. That’s where Faith comes in: to transcend fear with love.” 

This interview was conducted by Jen Morabito of The Self Stories; providing yoga practitioners with the opportunity to share their stories as they realize and live in the infinite benefits of the physical asana practice of yoga, meditation, self inquiry & realization. Read more of The Self Stories here.

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