How Yoga Teacher Training Changed my Life
It has been nine months since I completed my yoga teacher training and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how the experience changed my life. I had decided yoga teacher training was the path I wanted to take in January of 2016. I began taking my practice seriously, consisting of mostly vinyasa and power classes. There was one studio though that opened me up to what a real, true yoga practice can bring. Blue Moon Yoga Studio became my sacred space, the space that gave me the confidence and drive to become a yoga teacher. I marveled at how the owner of the studio was so deeply changing peoples lives, opening them up to compassion, connection and balance within themselves. I knew this was something that I wanted to be a part of.
It was August of 2016 when I got accepted to a training program in Bali, Indonesia. I had gone back and forth about doing my training in the States or heading out of the country to Thailand or Bali, places that had long been on my travel bucket list. I had settled on Zuna Yoga as my top choice. When I got accepted I was over the moon excited, anticipating all the things I would learn and everything I should be doing to prepare. I began a cleanse a month before leaving, omitting meat and eating mostly raw foods for 30 days. During these 30 days I also began a committed daily asana practice, challenging myself to try things I never had before. Pushing through the discomfort and tightness in the body.
My teacher training commenced on December 1st of that same year. We were welcomed with a beautiful opening ceremony, all of us going on around introducing ourselves, sharing where we were from. One of the greatest things about traveling to Bali was the mix of people that attended, so many different countries, customs and experiences. They taught me so much about myself.
The next three weeks was filled with emotional breakthroughs, clarity, and ultimately a stronger connection with the Divine within. We began each day at 6am with a three hour asana practice followed by breakfast, all of which was in silence. Practice in silence, eat in silence. The food was all vegetarian and made from scratch. The afternoons were filled with lectures and workshops with a wide range of topics; anatomy, yoga philosophy, ayurveda, asana, meditation, the list goes on. I quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of information I was being asked to digest, but I realized that yoga is a journey. I already knew this as a student but I had to learn that the same was true as a teacher. You learn to teach like you learn to practice, it is a process that requires patience and compassion for yourself. Allowing mistakes and pushing yourself beyond what you think are your limits. The most transformational experiences were the evening meditations, we all waited for them with sweet anticipation. The energy, connection, it was something you could physically feel. I had never felt energy like that before. It required grounding after each practice, coming back into your body after feeling like you had become a higher vibration.
Mantra, meditation, asana, silence, they all cultivate clarity. A clarity that was completely knew to me. I didn't know what it was like to not look at my phone first thing in the morning before I even got out of bed. I didn't realize how much "noise" I was allowing into my mind. My mind had been filled with so many distractions, so much unnecessary debris. Instead of waking up to text messages, social media, and an endless list of notifications, I got to wake up every morning and look out over into rice fields, feel the warm air, walk barefoot, it was pure bliss. Something I didn't realize I was missing in life. I progressively became more clear, more grounded and more connected.
In the last week of my training I remember thinking about going back home, I could hardly handle the thought. I said to my roommate; "I feel like I'm going back to a life I used to live years ago, that's how much I've changed. That life just doesn't make sense to me anymore." The transformation of awareness had begun. I couldn't stop it. I knew it was happening and I knew it would continue. It meant that a lot of things in my life would change. It was scary. It was time to take a leap, to create the life I always wanted to live. To be free.
I came back home and was a different person. Every change I had made was within, I became frustrated by people treating me like I was the same person I was before but how were they supposed to know? It wasn't a change you could physically see. I began to take more risks, confident in my ability to create my own life just the way I want it. A pure, beautiful life was the only image I allowed in my mind. I realized the power of my thoughts and what each thought creates. Everything that exists in my life right now was once a thought, an image, a dream. It has all manifested itself. I am the creator, the artist, the leader of my life. Everything I need is already within me, I just need to pull it out. I no longer wait for things to happen to me, I am the one making them happen. I see myself in others as I see them within me. Your life changes quickly when you stop waiting, and I don't ever want the transformation to stop. I continue to grow, to learn, to find peace and balance. I continue to realize who I am, letting the ego fall far behind. I continue to become ONE, a wholeness I never knew was possible. Sure my life has become more unpredictable, maybe a little less stable but I would never trade my life to live a life that is simply safe. The fear, the uncertainty, it all means I am doing something right, something that would have never happened had I never set out on my teacher training and had I never become a part of Zuna Yoga.