Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finished... with this step

Today I completed the training for my 200 hour Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) certification.

I am not at all sure if I'll go further. At this point I am settling into the quiet realization that I have maintained and achieved a goal for well over a year... and it has been a long time since I could say that. Before I started this journey I was completely depressed, I'll admit even edging toward suicidal, about the habits I had created for myself and what consequences they held for the rest of my life. I had a job that I was completely passionless toward, had become stagnant in my relationships, and had a complete lack of connection to anything meaningful... but worst of all, felt that my own happiness was completely out of my control, that I was so far from myself that I might never get back, and that all of this was due to some cosmic force that regarded me with animosity and was punishing me for past mistakes I had made. Essentially, my unhappiness was the direct result of the exodus I had made away from my own heart.

I now understand that I live in a state of happiness always, because I am always in the now, whether I realize it or not. All I need to do is bring my attention back to my breath and I can remind myself of this fact. Everything after that is just an extra bonus. Whatever harsh opinion or idea I may have about the world around me, about others, and especially about myself, pale in comparison to the light that lives within me and within those I encounter. It's a simple fact, not a belief. In fact, beliefs would get in the way. This doesn't mean I can't discern that there are things that are good and bad for me; quite the contrary. Knowing who I am and what I'm made of make me even more able to choose among options from a place of centeredness and presence, not fear or a conditioned mind. I can't wait to see all the possibilities!

Yesterday we had a challenging two hour practice and a long day of reading and discussing The Power of Now and Your Body Speaks Your Mind. It was a challenging day for me personally, but the end of the day made it all worthwhile... Meredith, Melissa, Jennifer and I (and a few others)all attended a Kirtan in Atlanta led by Bhakti Messenger and the experience was so sublime... we chanted, laughed, swayed, cried and rejoiced along with the four musicians and singers... what an experience. Some events have the sparkle of absolute beauty and have the power to inspire... and this was one of those times.

I had a great conversation just prior to the Kirtan with Melissa about a situation I am dealing with in my professional life that has left me blocked and anxious... and the overarching message was, Let Go. What a way to end the day.

Today was a chance to go a bit deeper. I also witnessed an uncomfortable exchange between some fellow trainees that helped me realize in even greater detail the ways in which our egos only serve to feed themselves and divide us from what's real and true and also from the knowledge of the goodness within each other. What a valuable lesson for me.

At the end of the day, Meredith, Jennifer and I received our certificates for Level 5... 'paperwork pending,' as I like to say, we're RYT200.

Meredith and I went out for margaritas and tacos and then to visit friends in Atlanta to celebrate. I am drained emotionally and physically, but ready to return to life with a renewed sense of purpose and a strong inclination to teach from a deeper place spiritually.

* A note about some other issues I am having... I have been suffering injuries lately as a result of the physical demands I have been placing on myself and I have come to realize this is not sustainable for me. I am exploring ways that I can teach that honor my body and still provide my students with what they need... it will require getting out of my comfort zone, but completely necessary. I will expand on this further in future entries.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Finishing line?

I am nearing the end of my RYT200 training. It's hard to just enjoy the moment and not look forward to the next step. I'm constantly reminding myself to be present, to just enjoy where I am at the moment and not think about the journey I've made and its highs and lows or look ahead to what might be.

Yesterday I completed the Senior Yoga specialty course. We learned how to effectively modify poses for folks in advancing years or those with special conditions of any age. In the past I have been somewhat hesitant to teach that population because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to give them what they needed for a safe practice. I often have seniors and other folks with unusual conditions in my mixed level classes and I usually remind them to listen to their bodies and take lower options whenever available... but in this course I learned ways that poses can be taught to support poses and let people truly feel that they are okay working with where they are... such an important lesson as we age and begin to realize that in order to practice we don't necessarily have to move into advanced poses to truly reap the benefits... and as a teacher, being able to help someone with functional mobility can be so rewarding in itself. And it's okay that sometimes people don't have the goal of eventual samadhi or enlightenment. They just want to be healthy and happy.

Today was Pre and Post Natal. We focused on achieving a safe practice that truly honors women at this special time... honoring the process, nurturing, feeling supported. I realize that, having never been pregnant (and not planning it anytime soon) I might have fallen short in the empathy department... being here today helped me realize ways that I can help women maintain their flexibility, endurance, strength, and inner peace, even... during this time. I loved the partner poses...

Tomorrow and Sunday are Level 5. I'll talk in more detail about that experience as it's being led by Beth Shaw, the President of our company. I'll admit I'm a little intimidated by this!

I am so fortunate to have Meredith who has hosted me so graciously, shared her space, her bathroom, her car, her time with me as her guest. What a great way for the both of us to finish this part of our journeys together. I eagerly anticipate Sunday afternoon when we can finally say that we're finished with our certification. At least, this stage of it! We're already talking about India...

For me personally to finish in Atlanta, the city where my mom lived her final years and passed away just over ten years ago, is especially poignant. It's sad that, once again, she won't be here to celebrate with me, just as she wasn't here for my engagement, my wedding, the purchase of my first house, or any other milestones from the past decade. But she is with me in spirit, reminding me that I am strong and have the resolve to be both comfortable in my own skin and brave enough to reach ahead for things I never thought possible.