As I near Day 13 of my 24-day journey through Lighting the Path Yoga Teacher Training with Pete Guinosso, this Forrest Yoga chant echoes through my body, filling me with the sense that I am beautiful right here, right now, and so are you.
Day 1 was a different story.
Sitting on my yoga mat, I anxiously clutched the lyrics handout. Pete began drumming and chanting. As I joined in, stumbling over the words, my mind wandered. Am I singing it right? Am I too loud or too soft? Am I too into it or not enough? How should I be? I sang along in the studio, but my mind was somewhere else.
Over the course of 12 days, Pete’s morning intensives and afternoon training sessions kicked the word “should” off my yoga mat and out of my life. I have come to embrace a life-changing truth: I am a part of the beauty I seek in the world. I am enough. I am beautiful when my body shakes during Pete’s challenging asana sequences. I am enough when I meet my community of LTP trainees in a circle of yoga mats and share from my heart. I am beautiful when I teach, and I am enough when I leave the studio each day.
The Lighting the Path program allies with our spirit, not our dysfunction. If we forget a pose name or proper assist, Pete asks us to replace “I’m sorry” with “I’m sassy” because he knows having fun and embracing our imperfections is the path to self-love and growth. Now I know that, too.
The first two weeks of Lighting the Path have helped me align with my authentic voice, even when I feel challenged. This can mean trying a new arm balance, practice teaching to an advanced student, or just getting up in the morning to come to class. This program teaches me that my breath and the LTP community are resources I can call on to stay present and connect with my heart.
Tomorrow morning I will peel myself out of bed at 4:30 am, gather my yoga materials, and BART to meet Pete and my fellow trainees at Yoga Tree Hayes in San Francisco by 6 am. Pete will call in the four directions, and inspire us with his seemingly infinite library of soulful quotations. We will meditate, drum, and sing together, beginning another day of intense and rewarding yoga practice and study. Every day I meet my mat differently, but the results are the same—a deeper connection with my heart. Now when we chant together, my heart opens and connects to the voices around me. I feel supported by the sound of my community in the studio and beyond.
“May all people walk in Beauty a way oh hay…”
I am enough. I walk in Beauty.
About the Author:
Sands O’Leary is a writer and healer, offering holistic yoga and dreamwork sessions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and online. Learn more and schedule a free consultation at Sands Dream Yoga.