Picture a golden glow, with obnoxious yet glorious rays shining in every direction directly out of my face. That is how I felt as I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I spent 10 months immersing myself in all things yoga, and I finally reached the end of that chapter and I felt RADIANT. I still do. I have been struggling to write this post for months, purely because I don’t know where to begin. So much happened in this training and I am still absorbing it all, even now.
I remember the first day of training, over a year ago now. I woke up so early, had my clothes laid out, nervously drank some tea. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I have been practicing yoga on and off for nearly a decade, but my experience then with the details and inner workings and meanings of it was practically nonexistent. Thankfully, the first several months of the training were actually a yoga immersion. We spent our time learning about alignment and philosophy, with features on Ayurveda, Kundalini, and chakras. My journal during that first weekend is an overwhelming but detailed mess of terms like “doshas”, “gunas”, “spanda” and “discernment”. I remember leaving on Sunday afternoon thinking that I entered into something far more special than I had anticipated, and also realizing just how little I knew about yoga.
I spent the rest of the following nine months being completely humbled. Each weekend I went in with many questions, and leaving with even more. I felt a very distinct shift in myself happen as I slowly allowed myself to become more and more open. This vulnerability was prompted by my instructor Marc adjusting me while I was in dhanurasana, I wrote about that in this post. I have mentioned more than once how I have struggled with heart opening poses because I find them emotionally difficult (letting that heart chakra get wide open and unguarded does not come easily to me) and it was on that enlightening day of the dhanurasana adjustment that I discovered how much more my life could benefit through yoga. Yoga asana had certainly made me more flexible, fit, and strong than I had ever been, but what a gift to finally comprehend that there is so much more to the practice than that. My life had been missing this incredible element to it and I hadn’t recognized that. The rest of those eight limbs of yoga are not just a suggestion.
I learned more about myself in less than a year than I have in probably my entire life. Teaching a pose or a sequence to the class was absolutely terrifying at first, but I found strength hiding somewhere within me and managed to get more comfortable each time, until I started looking forward to my turn at leading the group. I was uncovered as the (self-titled) chant nerd in class, because I had a passion for chanting that was apparently just waiting to be released. I grew fond of my classmates and gained some friendships as a result, and really enjoyed spending time in Gloucester where the training was held (shout out to Floating Lotus for being such a wonderful and welcoming place).
I have been teaching a couple classes since the training ended in June, like the donation-based community class every first and third Sunday of the month that benefits Beverly Bootstraps, as well as a weekly Wednesday evening class held at Gathr Work in downtown Ipswich. Both of these offerings are really just my way of dipping my toe into this (still) new world of teaching yoga. I have SO much more to learn. So much. I will humbly and gladly spend a lifetime as a student of yoga. For now, I will teach what I know and explore everything else at my own pace, through my own personal practice. Each time I step onto my mat I am discovering something new, and that feeling will never get old.
Incorporating my Reiki practice into my yoga one has been an added blessing. In 2013 when I took my first Reiki training with Joanna, I was doing so because I was hoping to find something to complement my yoga practice at the time. Interestingly enough, Reiki grabbed hold of me in such a way that I could never have anticipated, and my focus shifted to energy healing. Now things have come a bit full circle, as I am able to teach a yoga class or workshop, and also offer Reiki to the students. My life was meant to embody the teachings of both, and 32 years in I am finally understanding and exploring that.
This might sound like I’m finished in some way, but in reality it is literally just the beginning. (For any Parks & Rec fans out there, please read “literally” in Chris Traeger’s manner). I have so many plans and ideas and I feel like everything is a jumbled mess in my brain right now, but on top of that I am just full of joy and in disbelief. I felt called to teach yoga, and here I am. I have entered into this with strong and peaceful intentions, and I am eager to see where it leads me.
Side note: If anyone is considering taking a YTT themselves and would like some more details on my personal experience, please feel free to reach out to me!