Hi Everyone! My name is Erin McElroy, and I just began Yoga Tree’s Spring 2013 (Feb. 2013-July 2013) 200 Hour Teacher Training, led by Darren Main. I am extremely humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to begin what will inevitably become a life-changing experience, and as a way to share some of it, as well as that of my fellow yoga teacher trainees, I will be posting to the Yoga Tree blog periodically. This will begin an ongoing project of documenting Yoga Tree Teacher Trainings. In addition to appearing in the main Yoga Tree Blog, it will also live in the new Yoga Teacher Training Blog. Yay.
As I sit here (more attentively to my posture and spine than I probably every have been before) after our first weekend of anatomy classes with Harvey Deutch, I wonder where to begin. There really could be so many beginnings! Perhaps it makes sense for me to first introduce myself and what led me to want to participate in this training a bit, and then I can tell you more about some experiences from our first weekend of classes.
Let’s see. Well, over the last or so, I’ve been primarily studying and working as an artist, activist, and anthropologist. I’ve been in San Francisco for six years now, and was living in Massachusetts before that. My work mostly focuses on the subjugation of Roma communities in Romania, Muslim communities in Kashmir, and genderqueer and transgender communities here in the Bay Area. I know that’s a mouthful, but I’ll leave it at that for now. (Feel free to check out my website to learn a little bit more if you’d like to.)
Anyway, over a year ago now, the department that I was beginning my PhD in was evicted by my university, and I was thrown into a sort of space of limbo and uncertainty. It was during this time that I began to become more serious about my yoga practice. Although I had been practicing yoga since I was 19 (I’m 30 now), I think in part because I had been steadily focused on intellectual and political work, until then I utilized yoga as a space to retreat to, but not to put much thought into. In part, being freed from school, and in finding myself in a place of not knowing what was next, I found myself in a place to where I could put more thought and intentionality into yoga. I began practicing daily at a variety of studios across the city, doing work-trade at the studio near my house, and even teaching the toddler that I care for a couple days a week Downward Dog. As my practice became quotidian, I began to feel more embodied than I ever had before. I began to question so many things about my life, my body, and the world. It quickly became evident that I needed to study yoga further, and after investigating a number of Teacher Training programs, it became clear that Yoga Tree offered the most comprehensive and dynamic one imaginable.
And that, roughly, brings me to the present. At our introduction session this past Friday night at the Stanyan Studio, Darren poignantly explained to our class that the experience of undertaking this training would change us, that it would be impossible for it not to. The next day, as we studied anatomy at the Castro studio, Harvey told us that this training would most definitely transform our bodies. I am so curious as to what these changes will look like and feel like. I’m sure that my fellow classmates are equally as curious. I imagine that we will all go through such different transformations, struggles, and moments of opening through participating in the training.
While this blog may center a bit on my own observations and stories, I intend for it to include the voices of my classmates as well. We have classes almost every weekend for the next six months, so stay tuned to read more about our experiences! While I know that we all have such different backgrounds and reasons for beginning the training, I can say for sure that we are all excited and eager to begin this journey together!