When I started practicing Yoga 22 years ago, my experience of going deeper was relegated to the possibility of laying flat over my legs when in a forward fold or catching the bind in a seated twist. I was in fast pursuit of how deeply I could go in an asana, and this gave me the feeling of completely losing myself in a posture. I felt a bit invincible on my yoga mat. I yearned for that moment where I was immersed deeply in the pose, in my breath, in the movement, in the “union” of my body, my mind, and my spirit . The moment where the world faded into the background and peace emerged.
The deeper my practice became, the more it felt like my practice was a solitary one. It was difficult for me to express to my friends and family the profound connection to myself I felt when I was practicing yoga, and that made me feel very alone. I realized that when I left my mat, I was edgy.
Time passed. I got married, I had babies. My body changed. It rebelled. I swam in a constant sea of injury and pain striving to get back to that place I had found in my youth. I was struggling to re-unite. All I knew was to keep striving to push the edge of physicality. After all, I had only found that beautiful place of "union", through the vehicle of my body. In the rare moments I was able to be present in my practice long enough to go deep, I found that the agitation and frustration that I felt at the completion of my practice was heightened. I even felt resentful to my family for not being able to line-up with my inner peace. At some point, I knew there had to be more than this tug-of-war between the peace I found in my practice and the chaos of the world. So, I found a teacher...
300 Hour Advanced Teacher Training... Are You Ready?
I can remember the moment when I knew it was time to go deeper. I was teaching an asana class about expanding beyond your boundaries. It was a fast, hot, vinyasa class and the windows of the studio were dripping with steam. The soundtrack was killing it, and the instructions, adjustments and inspiration were flowing. I was hitting on all cylinders, what many would consider to be on the top of my game, but as I was standing there in the middle of that class, I realized that I had hit a plateau. I had stopped expanding and was instead sitting in the eddie of comfort with my practice and my teaching. I knew, right there in that moment, that it was time to take the next step. The next day, I began researching 300 hour Teacher Training Certification Programs.
That was 2007. My studies and practices have taken me on amazing journeys. My teachers have expanded my mind and challenged me greatly. And I am still growing. I am still being challenged to stretch the limits of my experience beyond what feels comfortable each day. I am finding that my practice is in constant evolution and as I age, it rarely resembles anything I was doing in 2007. But I feel rich. I have a wealth of trust and faith within myself, I have a toolbox of practices that support and sustain me, I am constantly inspired by the opportunity to teach and share.
So when do you know that it’s time to expand your studies? How do you know if it is time for you to advance your skills as a practitioner and a teacher? Let me begin by explaining that I have always believed in having a teacher as a guide. Yes, I can study and explore on my own (and I do), but I have never been able to fully access on my own what I can with the support of a well-qualified teacher. So if you are feeling a bit stuck in your life or your practice (or both), stepping into a higher level training will catalyze movement. The next level of training will expose you to new and unfamiliar aspects of the practice that may inspire and challenge you, but it will most definitely shift you...
Life is hard sometimes. Everyone has those days where getting out of bed seems like a punishment. We feel pummeled by our to do list, our aches and pains, our heartbreak. We long for the comfort of hiding under the covers, pretending like if we just stay here, we can make all of the demands of the world go away. I get it. I am there. Taking inventory of the comforts each day that I wake up. Pillow, warm blankets, dogs snuggled up close, quiet, safe place of refuge.
I never hit snooze. I'm the type that is always wide awake 10 minutes before the alarm. Normally, I say prayers of gratitude before my feet hit the ground, and then I move mindfully into action, joyful to exploring another day full of possibility. But a heavy heart changes things. Some mornings I turn over and hide under the covers, some days I drag myself into waking without acknowledging the blessings of the day. It's not that it's bad, it is simply that moving through pain changes things.
Regardless of how much I want to hide on these mornings (or full days), my practice right now is to keep showing up. I might not be enthusiastic or inspiring, but I am present. I keep getting out of bed, quietly nursing my heartache, and I keep showing up. I keep showing up to my classes, to my studio, to Teacher Trainings, and for my kids. I keep showing up to my mat, even when all I can clamor into is a supported balasana or a gentle backbend. And you know what, when I show up I feel better. Not healed, but better. I feel possible. I feel the potential to heal. I feel humbled...
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