When I first began my yoga practice, it was nothing more than a willingness to get my butt kicked.
All the trainers at the health club I worked at were talking about how challenging it was. It sure made me curious. My first class was insanely hard and I found myself going back day after day.
Yoga definitely snuck up on me.
After an on and off practice for many years, so many things in my life started changing as a result of my practice, but I never related those changes to yoga until years later in review, when I realized that everything changed because of yoga.
Year after year, I’d change my yoga practice from two to three times a week to three to four times a week to four to five times per week, until I was practicing every day with just one day of rest. I started to free up my schedule and dedicate my life to a practice that was slowly revealing itself to me and was absolutely worthy of my full attention.
I took my first teacher training after seven years of practice, simply because I was curious again. I knew that things were transforming in my body, mind, lifestyle, and food choices, but I wasn’t really aware of why these things were happening. I felt amazing and more alive than ever, but yet completely burdened knowing that this practice was uncovering some major stuff beneath it all.
My desire to shift and fully transform
I realized behind all of this practice what was driving me was a broken version of myself that needed some serious healing. My desire to shift and fully transform was the real reason why I decided to take a teacher training even though I didn’t know it when I signed the application. I guess subconsciously I knew that I could undergo a process of major transformation in a safe, loving environment with people seeking the same peace in their lives as me.
One of the best definitions of yoga that I have come across recently is from master teacher Rod Stryker. He writes that yoga brings the unconscious to the conscious.
When I took my YogaWorks Teacher Trainings, we were given the time and attention to self-reflect. I began to see my ego at work. I began to watch my mind’s projections and to uncover my stories. I could feel the barricades I placed around my heart. I noticed my stubbornness and unwillingness to listen. I had created many obstacles in my life to protect myself from my past experiences, traumas and fears, none of which were really working for me.
As we were taught the anatomy of the body, we were also learning the science of Yoga from master teachers and applying the Yoga Sutras philosophy to the practices in efforts to watch and still the mind. We were learning how to really breathe and meditate. We were being taught how to reveal our unconscious ways.
Transforming dark to light
In Sanskrit, the word Guru means transforming dark to light, sometimes also translated as teacher. In the my teacher training, we learned how to be our own guru. We became responsible for transmuting our darkness to light as a witness to ourselves. We learned how to become empowered and to find our resolve through working the physical form and the deeper layers of the subtle body.
When studying Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, we figured out what food choices assisted or depleted our systems. We learned that yoga is so much more than a physical asana practice. We learned how to build confidence in our own voice through the camaraderie of a loving community of supporters. We learned how to get present and not judge everyone’s process. We purified our bodies on a whole new level which brought us to a peaceful state of mind. We became intimate with our own bodies so that we could stay safe in our practices for a lifetime. We became more open and comfortable with ourselves, with others and with spirit.
We learned ultimately that everyone is the same underneath it all, just striving to live a better, healthier, happier life.
Through this major journey, I was truly inspired on levels that I didn’t even know I could be. Thus, I revealed my dharma, or soul’s purpose—to share my love, light and joy fully and inspire others to reach their greatness. I now am a yoga teacher on this path of sharing my yoga experience.
You may decide not to teach after a teacher training, but you will definitely discover more about yourself and embark on an amazing journey toward a new way of being.