After completing Esther’s 200-hour training, my second training was Yoga Teacher Training. My first experience was profoundly revealing and transformative. Esther offered me the chance to rejoin again and I couldn’t refuse.
This was a chance to consolidate the knowledge I had gained during my first training, gain hands-on experience in assisting, and teach a class (teaching students is one thing; teaching three of my teachers is another. To say that I was nervous is an understatement! You can see it through a new perspective. I was more or less prepared for what lay ahead.
I would do lots of yoga, absorb copious amounts information, and spend time self-reflecting and reaching deeper levels of myself under the guidance of four amazing teachers in a nurturing environment.
Yoga teacher training can have powerful effects that are unique to each individual. It was important to know that I was embarking on another journey of self-inquiry and would have a support network. I expected to improve my physical practice and learn how to teach others. But I did more than that. Unexpectedly, I was able to meet myself again. It was a powerful, liberating experience that was made possible by being in a caring environment.
The journey to self-inquiry
The practices we do can have a subtle effect on our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Esther and Tracey Uber Cook are deeply and insightful in their meditation and pranayama practice. Over-thinking, frustration, and mind chatter can lead to frustration, over-thinking, and eventually, inner space, peace, and connectedness. I can acknowledge my thoughts without getting involved. I can step out of my thoughts and observe them, finding the space between breaths that allows me to see the essence within myself. Each day, I try to be still and tap into it more.
It is amazing to wake up in the morning and be silent. It is often the best part of the day, even though I thought it would be odd. It is a great way to reflect. My body will become more flexible, stronger and open to asana, thanks to daily practice by Esther, Gilda, and Jennilee Toner. My personal practice has helped me to become more open to yoga and to accept it as a journey. I have also learned to let go of the need to be in “that pose”.
The whole practice – Mouna (silence), asana, Dhyana (meditation), pranayama (breath), Esther’s self reflection exercises – creates space in the body, mind, & spirit. Deep-seated stressors, past experiences, and stuck energy begin to release and move to the surface to be processed. Sometimes I feel like running from daily asana practice, the mental turbulence, my past and my feelings of inadequacy, pain, and sadness. I persevere and remember Esther’s advice to “just sit with the process” and trust that it will work. Through this, I can cry, feel, settle down, and connect. It is a journey that I take through and over.
My journey has allowed me to get to know parts of myself that I haven’t met before and those that I am familiar with, but have lost or forgotten over the years. It is a peaceful, isolated, and beautiful place. I can see why Esther chose this wonderful spot. It’s magical to walk under a velvety dark sky with millions of stars every morning in the early morning, to the yoga dome.