Many friends have shared that they would love to hear about my Yoga Teacher Training, like perhaps over tea someday. Knowing where to start and what to share is difficult as the journey was intimate and delicate. It was also massive and expanding. It was “all the things”, as one of my cohorts would often say. I do think it’s more of a conversation for over a bottle of wine that flows into the wee hours, than a morning cup of tea conversation. It could go so many ways – maybe I’m still a touch afraid of the ways it will flow.
I’ve made a list. Brainstormed a few single words that describe different aspects of the journey. They are huge words with so much attached to them, meaning far more than the first glance possibilities. They, however, are a start to the sharing process.
Let’s begin with the general basics. I attended a 200-hour Alignment-based Yoga Teacher Training program at Grow a Lotus in Halifax. Grow a Lotus is physically located in a sweet little outbuilding-made-studio in the backyard of owner, Leanne Whiting. The Lotus Pad is cozy and bright with large windows and a high ceiling that hosts exposed beams. Leanne’s signature color of plum creates an accent wall, while the view outside the windows changed with the months as the trees grew along side us.
The 200-hours were spread over a 6-month period from January to June. We would meet about every second weekend except for the month of March, which was a self study month. The weekends were 3 or 4 days and filled from start to finish. Beyond the contact time at the Lotus Pad, there were hours of independent reading, practice teaching with friends and family, and time to let everything land.
This training group contained nine beautiful, brave souls with diverse but also sometimes similar, life stories. As I think about this group of complete strangers, which became like family in such a short period of time, I realize how much I miss being in their company. They each have stamped themselves on my heart forever.
Our training was offered primarily by Leanne Whiting and Julie Coleman. Two guiding hearts that complement each other perfectly. They somehow are completely different but so alike at the same time. Throughout the training, there were also phenomenal guest presenters who shared their expertise. Chris Wilmot provided our fun filled anatomy lessons. The human body is freaking amazing and meant to move people! Terra Brockett, from Awaken Vibrational Sound Therapy, shared the magic of her singing bowl team and I’m still trying to process all that was revealed during the one session in the Lotus Pad. Finally, Jillana Burgess lead us through lessons and a practice of pranayama. That, my dear friends, was an intense afternoon!
When asked about the training while it was in process, I gave a quick and somewhat funny-toned answer of something along the lines of: “Well, we learn concrete things like what the structure of the body is, how it functions and how to cue someone else’s body to move safely. We also explore little topics like the meaning of life, who we are, why we are and kinda everything in between those two points. Oh, and throw in a new language to boot!”. I suspect the humour was a way to avoid diving into the larger answers because while in training, I felt raw. Raw, tender, and fragile. Exhausted, overwhelmed and exposed. Discussing anything beyond the layer of humour, in a random conversation, would most likely have opened the flood gates of tears.
Speaking of tears, I cried. A lot! From the first hour to the last minute, tears flowed easily and often. It became part of what was. I’ve learned that crying is cathartic and exhausting. It is necessary, sometimes unexplained in origin, and not something to be embarrassed by but rather a beautiful sign from your heart.
All this covers the very basic who, what, when, where, but not the why. Why would anyone go on this journey that makes you cry, leaves you raw and tender, challenges you with hard work physically, emotionally and energetically? Well, my original answer was because I wanted to share yoga with others. Yoga provided for me in ways I never imagined when I first stepped on the mat.
I originally turned to the practice for physical reasons of complementing my running. It wasn’t long before easing tired muscles was a bonus and the practice was sought out and continued to ease my mind and heart. Sharing this amazing practice with others seemed like a dream job. The answer to this why question changed during the challenges of the training because it was also beautiful, amazing, magical and one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
It’s been a little over a month since completion of the program and in some ways things are just beginning to settle, yet in other ways the massive journey yet to come has just been revealed.
‘Let it land’ was a phrase Leanne often used and it’s the advice I’m following now. I will share more as all stops swirling in my mind and heart, finding it’s place to land. I also suspect that the stories which cultivated some of those words on my list will need to remain still and quiet. For now, I will continue to practice daily, sit in stillness (especially on the noisy days), enjoy my return to running and race prep, continue venturing into the world of yoga teaching and find the beauty everywhere I can.