The journey of becoming a yoga teacher.
My heart has been touched in so many ways that words can only scratch the surface. This last weekend of our 200-hour teacher training was one of the most powerful, connective, supportive experiences ever.
On Friday night, we learned about advanced pranayama. As Darren was explaining it to us, he described prana in such a beautiful way – that it has wisdom of its own, like the wisdom of the salmon that always return to the same place to spawn or the birds that always fly back to where they were born each Spring – that all we have to do is surrender and just breathe, like the song.
As we all lay down and closed our eyes, Darren guided us through the pranayama, with a meditation on lovingkindness. Soon, it was as if we all had melded into one living, breathing organism. The collective energy in the room was incredible. As some people shared their experiences afterward, it was evident that it brought up different emotions for everyone – some were joyful, some were sad, and everything in between. And, that’s precisely the point. It brings up exactly what needs to be brought up for each of us.
I felt tremendously blessed to experience this pranayama and meditation, under Darren’s calm guidance. When I tried the pranayama the next day at home, it was even more powerful, probably because I knew what to expect, so I could surrender even more deeply. What an amazing technique for our own personal practices.
Over the weekend, we learned deliciously relaxing restorative poses from Darren, as restorative yoga is another of his areas of expertise. We learned how to set up bolsters and blocks to help alleviate conditions like headaches and to help support pregnant women. Then, we took turns setting up restorative poses for each other and gave each other massages, to help melt away all the sore muscles from the past few months.
But the most moving and poignant part of this last weekend was the sharing on Saturday and Sunday about our life experiences and samskaras, and how we intend to use them in how we teach and who we teach. The vulnerability, courage, love and trust among our class just keeps growing. Some shared experiences they had never shared publicly before. One wrote an original song about her experience of going through the program, and recorded herself singing and playing the guitar, so we could all listen from her iPhone. Another got up at the end of the weekend and sang “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele, singing through her tears. We were practically all in tears by that point. The program had such a visceral effect on so many of us, much deeper than most of us probably expected.
Which brings me back to the 200-hour program itself. As my previous blog posts attest, the teachers are phenomenal, the material covered is comprehensive, the classes available showcase an incredible variety of yoga and teaching styles, and the Yoga Tree community is extremely supportive. There are so many merits and compelling reasons to do this program that I’m running out of superlatives to describe them.
So, let’s just say I’m gobsmacked and blown away, grateful and honored to have participated in this particular teacher training program. I cannot imagine having done my 200-hour training anywhere else. Wherever you live, I highly encourage you to make a beeline for San Francisco and do your yoga teacher training at Yoga Tree.
To my classmates and teachers, Thank you all!! You have made an indelible imprint on my heart and I am grateful.
One last thing: After our last class and some socializing at a nearby restaurant, a classmate and I went to Julie Locke’s Beats and Breaths for Boobs Dedication Flow class at Yoga Tree Castro. The class, with music spun by DJ kCal, was in honor of local organizations that offer direct services to survivors and people battling breast cancer or organizations that promote prevention. What a perfect way to end the weekend and honor a great cause. And another testament to Yoga Tree’s depth and breadth in the local community. Julie currently teaches free yoga classes for cancer patients at Yoga Tree Potrero.