After instructing a long slew of yoga teacher training programs, I noticed that most students that sign up for this venture experience a journey that goes beyond the practical physical learning. He are 5 common reflections the graduates shared of their experience…and how they applied it to life after graduating.
1.Feeling human again. From feeling alienated from themselves and others they became better acquainted with themselves and developed a genuine interest in others. The asana practices, breathing exercises, mindful sitting exercises and self observation assignments elevated their power of perception. What changed in their lives? Instead of mechanically reverting to texting or communicating via Facebook and other media, they made the choice to meet friends, co-workers, family members in person. Seeing the person, feeling the person´s energy, and listening intently to what they were saying and often times what they were not saying.
2.Not taking things too seriously. When asked to adjust their fellow students and take turns teaching in groups - many had to exit their comfort zones. What happened next? Laughter…laughing at oneself, and being comfortable with that. Coming to this state takes a high degree of self-acceptance. What changed in their lives? They took things less personally and could better discern useless drama and maintain it at a low level in their personal lives and in work situations. Better yet, they became more likeable because they actually enjoyed their own company.
3.Sharpening one´s focus and attentiveness. The course beckons students to fully immerse themselves in an ancient system that asks you to act, speak, breathe and think more mindfully. The in-class practice of watching their classmates intently to know where to adjust them, where and what advice to provide as to further their yoga practice, or where to modify the practice to suit their body and temperament presented a difficult albeit invaluable tool - that of being internally neutral and calm as to be fully present and aware of others. What changed in their lives? The ability to still oneself as to foresee or anticipate shifts coming.
4. Loving oneself and wanting to be seen. Those who never thought they would embark in the whole social media thing, who stumbled when asked to write their profile or retracted when having to list a dream they wished to pursue, or a challenge they wanted to accomplish – they found their voice.…and within this voice was a clarity and presence that resonated strength and compassion. What changed in their lives? They were now armed with a deep sense of self-respect and worthiness.
5. New lifestyle, refreshed sense of purpose. The study of classic yoga philosophy classes, metaphysical thinking, and research into human physiology grooved new thought patterns into the student´s heart and minds. It ignited an exploration of new aspects of health, environment, culture, critical thinking, productivity and creativity. What changed in their lives? A renewed motivation was born that was not rooted in short-lived goals but a set axiom that life is this moment of awareness – the NOW…that is, in turn, connected to everything and everyone.