“What did I receive?” This was the question we were asked to contemplate on our graduation day from Yoga on High 200-hour Teacher Training Program. Without thinking, I took pen to paper and quickly wrote the first word that came to mind.
Wait. What? I wasn’t expecting that. It was a crazy, busy 9 months. I felt pulled in all sorts of directions—balancing teacher training with being a mom, a full time employee, and a wife….I often joke that those 9 months were harder than BOTH of my pregnancies.
But I sat with this word, and just wrote whatever came to my mind without over-thinking (I’m a yoga teacher now; I’m not supposed to “over-think” right?). Thoughts came pouring in, and are still pouring in since graduation 2 months ago.
Every Thursday night for 9 months, I had the space to learn about my favorite thing in the world—yoga: yoga anatomy, yoga adjustments, yoga alignment and yoga class planning. I assisted in classes with the some of the best teachers in Columbus, and learned how to take the 8 limbs of yoga off the mat.
I was like a kid in a candy store, taking in as much as I could, learning that there is so much I didn’t know (and still don’t)! Just when I thought I mastered how to cue downward facing dog, I quickly learned that there are about 50 other cues. This was simply the tip of the iceberg. Yoga is a life-long journey of self-inquiry and I’m in it for the long haul.
I found a space to share with people exactly like me. The kind of people who chant “om” loudly without worrying about what others are thinking. I met people who have been affected by yoga on a deeply personal level, who shared their stories of how yoga changed their lives and their desire to give back to a practice that has given them so much. We laughed hard and some of us (me!), cried hard. It was during these moments that a deep family bond formed, one that will never be broken. Even though we’ve graduated and do not see each other weekly, when I see them, it’s like no time has passed at all. We pick up right where we left off. We have each other’s back and support one another as we embark on this next stage of our lives. We truly are better together.
Teacher training gave me the space to let go and have fun! When will you ever have a chance to blow bubbles in total silence at a weekend silent retreat? Or chant so loud at kirtan that you just have to get up and dance? Or laugh uncontrollably while learning adjustments….I put my hand where??? The fun made the hard work worth it. I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life.
But it wasn’t always easy. I also found space to learn my limits. I was stretched more than I ever thought I could imagine. I am someone who always thrived on being busy and “having it all,” but this was TOUGH. Between teacher training sessions every Thursday, assisting in yoga classes, practice teaching and a weekend silent retreat, it almost pushed me over the edge.
Through all the chaos, I literally thought I was losing it, but really, I was finding it. For the first time ever, I learned to say “no” when I couldn’t take on just one more thing, or to forgive myself if I wanted to skip practice in order to spend time with my husband and daughters. I learned that when I operate from a place of self-love and acceptance, that I am free. THAT, my friends, is the space!
During the program, I often asked myself, “am I am on the right track?” “Do I really want to do this?” “Is it worth it?” “Can I realllly do this?” All I knew is that I loved yoga. I’ll always love yoga. Yoga gives me space; space in my body and in my mind. When I’m on my mat, I feel safe, vulnerable, and at peace. I want to hold space for students to have their own journey. That’s what kept me going through training and keeps me going as I begin my journey as a new yoga teacher.
Finally, and most importantly, teacher training gave me space to love myself. Once I found this love, I was able to start fully receiving love from others; the deep love of my husband and daughters regardless of whether or not I was home to fix dinner every day; the love and support from my friends outside of yoga who came to practice teach sessions, who celebrated with me when I passed my final certification, and who were patient with my when I was just too tired to see them. Even if they didn’t always get it, it didn’t matter. They love me and that is enough.
If I never teach another class, this experience; my teachers, my classmates, this practice, will be etched in my heart forever. If you’ve ever thought of taking this journey, jump in with both feet. No regrets. Be brave with your life. Follow your heart.
Natalie Adams is a recent grad of Yoga on High’s 200 Hour Teacher Training program.
Our next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins September 9th. For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session this Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at email@example.com