It wasn’t until my first breakthrough on the mat, when sweat and tears mixed together in that definitive aha moment, that the real magic of yoga unfolded before my eyes.
The pose was Trikonasana, a pose I had done hundreds of times, always striving for that perfect alignment where the body looks as if it’s stuck between two pieces of glass. The room was hot and after more than a week of getting up at 4 am to make it to class, I was starting to feel the overwhelming effects of being in a strange city and putting myself through the most physically and emotionally strenuous process of my life.
Then Pete approached me to adjust the pose: “It’s ok. Lean on me,” he said while he lengthened my rib cage, stacked my left hip over the right and opened my chest. And there it was, the perfect Trikonasana.
“It’s ok to ask for support, you know,” he said gently, as he stepped out from the adjustment.
I realized I had spent nearly four decades denying myself the help and support I could have received from family and friends if I had only put my pride aside, and just asked… for help.
I understood in that moment that I had come to heal, because healing yourself is directly connected to healing others. The student and the teacher are really just one single cell, working symbiotically. If I wanted to become a great teacher, I had to surrender to my own healing, beginning with my heart.
The cascade of realizations that came from this simple truth and the many that came in the weeks that followed are still pouring through me, opening my eyes to the way that I relate to others and navigate the world around me.
Every day of training on the mat held Trikonasana moments for our group of aspiring teachers. There were tears and laughter at the reflection in the proverbial mirror that only wringing yourself out, physically and emotionally, can bring.
We rush from task to task, from job to job or relationship to relationship, unaware that our unchecked hearts are forming a layer of scar tissue that can numb us from experiencing the nuances and subtleties of being awake and alive.
Healing is having the courage to come completely undone limb by limb. Part of the work is to gently put the pieces back together and reveal your authentic self. To create a space where one is allowed the opportunity to do that is something rare in this world.
Lighting the Path does just that: it lets the light in.
Through thoughtfully created sequences, intentional theming, meditation, and physical adjustments and assists, Pete Guinosso’s training allowed me to dig into the deeply stored memory of my muscles – and my heart to release what I no longer needed.
And now my job is to teach, and live, from that healing space.
Pete Guinosso’s Art of Teaching 5-part series begins on November 14th and continues throughout the new year. Learn more and register.
About the Author:
Maria graduated from Pete Guinosso’s monthlong Lighting the Path teacher training in August 2015. She has been practicing yoga for 15 years. She recently completed the 200-hour Lighting The Path teacher training with Pete Guinosso at Yoga Tree San Francisco. Drawing from strength-based styles of yoga, Maria vows to keep her teachings playful while challenging you to wake up a little more every day so you can fully experience life’s blessings.