How Teacher Training Changed My Life
I began practicing yoga in my mid-fifties. I sometimes wish it had been earlier, but I also know that the timing of life’s unfolding is to be trusted. So, no regrets. I had always known about yoga but struggled deeply as to how a spiritual practice could be a physical workout seemingly focused on the results rather than the journey. And even though I had participated in many types of fitness classes, I don’t think I ever believed I could be successful at yoga. I had a lot of hurdles to get over to begin and embrace a yoga practice that has become, quite profoundly, one of the constants in my life.
My first yoga classes were at a YMCA. Even as we heard the weight trainers dropping weights in the next room or the basketballs bouncing in the gym, the devoted yoga teachers held to their vision for the class, infusing their lessons with breath-work, physical awareness, and universal wisdom. One of the teachers was sure to remind us during every class, “Remember, you are practicing in the body you have today…not the one you used to have or the one you hope to have. Trust and believe in your body, your steady and reliable companion that enables you to experience all that life offers.” Any lingering misgivings or uncertainties about yoga were transformed during these classes. I was hooked and am forever grateful to my first yoga teachers.
As my yoga practice evolved, I became curious to know and understand more about this ancient and modern practice. What are the archetypal teachings embodied in each asana? How do these archetypes translate to life? How do they inform my life’s journey? Through this personal inquiry, the flow from pose to pose, the awareness of the breath to expand and deepen, the conscious release of tension, stored emotions, and stress, and the striving to “be here now,” became living guides for becoming my best self.
Eventually, the question of enrolling in a yoga teacher training began to nudge at me. Again, doubts crept in. Would I have to master all the poses? Am I too old (early sixties now)? Will I be expected to teach? Could I really remember all those Sanskrit names?! By this time, I was fully in love with WE Yoga and Kelly and Christine. I trusted them wholly and unreservedly. I shared my concerns with them, which were lovingly laid to rest, and never looked back.
Having trained and worked as a Registered Nurse for many years, I enjoyed the anatomy and physiology curriculum and gaining a deeper understanding of the yogic approach to posture and balance. My study of Eurythmy (a movement art), was enriched though the work with the three dimensions of space and spatial awareness. We were challenged to begin teaching our classmates right away! Movement was balanced with rest, discussion with quiet meditation, and tears with laughter. Within a safe and welcoming space, we embarked on a collective, yet individual, striving to remove the hinderances to self-discovery, curiosity, and wholeness.
Perhaps the most life-changing discovery of my yoga teacher training was the recognition that through yoga we “re-member” ourselves. Throughout our lives, we lose bits of our being in traumas, professions, conflicts, interactions, accidents, and illness. As we strive to inhabit our physical body through yoga, we create the opportunity to call those lost, forgotten, and even unknown pieces of ourselves home; to fully re-member this most precious gift. The work we do on our mats: practicing discernment, recognizing boundaries, making the unconscious conscious, or becoming aware of the missing fragments of our being, is the foundational practice for the journey called life. To hold space for others on their journey towards wholeness, has been and continues to be, an amazing honor and privilege.