I just finished my 5th weekend of yoga teacher training and I thought I would kind of fill you in on what I'm learning from it all :)
With each new weekend full of intense practice and education, I learn more about myself than ever before. I'm learning not just the postures, but the lineage of an ancient practice and learning to apply it to my everyday life. It is utterly overwhelming, but I feel an awakening as I have never felt before. I find myself more in tune with my true nature and more mindful. I'm learning to slow down and let go which can be incredibly arduous when you're a type-A "always need to be doing something" gal. When I started this training I did not know how much it would change me and I'm not even talking about the physical. I've been changing spiritually, emotionally and mentally. If I become stressed I focus on my Ujjayi breath (aka Darth Vader breath lol!) I do weird things like think about energies and chakras. Am I beginning to sound like Chris Traeger from Parks and Rec? :P
I have been trying to have a physical practice everyday, but I also find myself making space for meditation and just being in tune with my breath. What is also interesting is I have been finding myself less and less at the gym. I'm not bashing on the gyms or boutique style studios, but I want more than "looking good" which by the way, who determines who looks good?!?!
I still love to join a couple Spin classes a week and I hope to teach more Spin in the future, but I find myself everyday rolling out my mat at the yoga studio or at home and finding strength, flexibility and calmness there. Yoga teaches us that we're exactly who we need to be deep underneath all those layers of what our experiences and culture tell us we are. I'm not bashing on any form of exercise, because every person is different. However, I have yet to find a form of exercise that teaches me that what is on the inside matters more on the outside than, yoga. I find this inner peace in this ocean of life that I never thought I would find. I don't stress about a piece of chocolate, because somedays maybe a little bit of chocolate is healing for me? I don't restrict, I don't feel upset when I cant get into an arm balance like I used too. I just laugh it off and move on.
Yoga is full of thousands of years of information so it is a bit daunting and I feel like a baby yogi learning how to walk but I have been so deeply moved by a lot of the readings required for my training. In particular I have been drawn to the yamas and niyamas. The yamas and niyamas are yoga's ethical guidelines laid out in the first two limbs of Patanjali's eightfold path. They're like a map written to guide you on your life's journey. Simply put, the yamas are things not to do, or restraints, while the niyamas are things to do, or observances (source listed below). All of them are incredibly insightful, but I've been really drawn back to ahimsa, or non-violence in this season of my life. I know I have discussed my journey with vegetarianism, and recently without knowing it, I have ventured back into a full plant-based diet. I didn't even try? I found myself just not eating meat. I would make lists for the store and no meat would be on it? I don't know if its yoga or just tuning into what I want. Which if you didn't know, I've never been a meat person. I only did so a couple of years ago because of some health scares but today I feel really good and Ive been very mindful of nutrients and vitamins (*I'll list the one I'm taking down below). I just felt that for me to practice ahimsa it would be not eat meat. That may not be for everyone, but that is how it manifested itself for me. Most importantly, I find myself trying to practice non-violence towards myself. We can really bully ourselves and bully others if we're not a place of peace in our lives. I listen to things I say to myself and a lot of the time I am a real jerk to myself. We need to find a way to love ourselves and take every measure we can to do that. Maybe it means cutting out social media for a bit? Or removing yourself from places and people that are not conduscive to that. We're not perfect, but I find that with the practice of yoga in all of its forms, we can begin to sift through those areas of our lives, leading us to be kinder and more compassionate beings.
I only have three more full weekends left of yoga teacher trainings and to be honest, I'm bummed. I want more. I find my amazon book wishlist full. I may even consider pursuing my full 500-hour in the coming years and I feel like even with three months left, I'm still just dipping my toes in the water of this amazing practice. Tons of fads come and go, but yoga has remained. Yoga offers something a lot of fitness trends don't and that is unconditional acceptance for where you are in this moment. I'm not saying that yoga is not a killer physical practice, because it really is! However it is much more than that. I encourage you to add a practice into your life. Maybe through a physical practice, or even a breathing or meditation practice you find on youtube.
|All of us after a blindfolded yoga exercise!|
Whether you're flexible or not it makes no difference. Yoga is for everybody and its emotional, physical and mental effects are astounding.
I will try and continue to share yoga tidbits that are going on in my life :)
on our third yoga teacher training one of the faculty read this amazing poem during our Savasana (corpse pose or final resting pose):