How Teacher Training Changed My Life
- Laurie Myers -
Let me start out by saying that in comparison to so many others I have met over the past few years at WE, I feel myself to be a “baby yogi”.
I was first exposed to yoga by way of a beginning yoga DVD. Good ole’ Rodney Yi! (He had some of the highest ratings on Amazon:)
As a physical therapist, I was always hearing about how beneficial yoga could be for patients, especially for those suffering from chronic pain. I attended a workshop on Yoga for Chronic Pelvic Pain and was drawn in by what a valuable tool yoga could be for my patients. I did not pursue it past what I had learned at the course. To be honest, I was a little intimidated by how “zen” and experienced so many of the other therapists at the conference were. I was not confident I could ever reach that level of awareness in my practice.
Life happens and it was another year before yoga made another appearance in my life. I was attending my usual Saturday morning Zumba class when Jamie Terry arrived to substitute with a yoga class. Thanks to this class, and Jamie, I realized I didn’t have to be completely “zen” and bendy to participate in a yoga class. I was hooked!
Whether by coincidence, providence, or fate, yoga made another appearance in my life when I was feeling particularly vulnerable and stressed. I was working full time caring for my patients, caring for my son, and caring for my mother who was struggling with end stage Alzheimers and whom had recently moved into our home. Yoga provided a safe and quiet space where I could focus on my self care and refill my “cup”.
When WE yoga opened, I followed Jamie there and began to participate in as many classes as would fit into my schedule. WE provided not only a space to practice yoga, but an instant community of individuals from many different walks of life. I was impressed by the open and accepting atmosphere.
After a year of practicing at WE, the yoga teacher training became available. I was instantly interested! I did not plan on teaching, but felt, as a physical therapist, it would add one more valuable tool to my tool box for helping my physical therapy patients. I looked forward to learning from Christine and Kelly. And what an opportunity for it to be offered in Sandpoint!
I went in fully expecting to learn mostly about the physical aspect of yoga such as the poses and how to structure a class. What I did not plan on was how emotional and personal it would become. Yoga teacher training became much more than just instruction in yogic philosophy, asana, and breath work. It became a journey. One, which to be honest, I was a little resistant to in the beginning. I had dipped my toe into the pool of personal reflection previously throughout my life but during teacher training it felt like I was plunging in! The yogic philosophy of surrender was one I especially struggled with. But with the guidance, encouragement, and the support of Christine, Kelly, and all of the other students, who were themselves embarking on an extremely personal journey, it became fulfilling, and enlightening.
The covid crisis hit mid training and necessitated we finish the second half of training over zoom. I looked forward to each weekend when I would be able to see the smiling faces of Kelly, Christine and the other students. The training provided a calming escape from the strain of the current covid climate. I was able each week, following training, to share just a little of that calming influence with my patients and family.
Teacher training was an amazing experience. I gained a better understanding of myself and my abilities, both emotionally and physically. I learned yoga is not all about doing handstands or the perfect Warrior pose. (Full disclosure, the picture of me doing a handstand in Costa Rica... I had A LOT of help getting up there).
Don’t get me wrong, handstands are fun and require a great deal of balance, strength and trust in your own body. However, I learned yoga can be adapted and beneficial for anyone, no matter their abilities. I was inspired to continue my yoga education, and am currently working on a Medical Therapeutic Yoga certification. Probably the biggest lesson I learned through the training was how to connect back to “my center”. Learning to take all the good and the bad about ourselves, appreciating it, realizing it makes us who we are, and using it to help us move ever forward in this journey of life. The real yoga practice takes place not in the studio, but out in the real world. Participating in our “real” lives.