August 23, 2021
Holistic Yoga Flow Teacher Training: A Life Changing Experience
When I begin to reflect on the chapters of my life, the fall of 2017 would be titled ‘Transformational Commencement.’ Not only would I be partaking in a 3-week international yoga teacher training, I would also be blindsided by what was the beginning of the ending of a three-year relationship and engagement at the halfway point of it.
At this time in my life, I had been teaching movement in the form of strength and conditioning for four years and had played in hundreds of competitive (American) football and basketball games throughout high school and college. Was I a bit scared though? Yes. Any time I have stepped into a new experience there has always been a bit of fear that has arisen due to uncertainty, the unknowing of possibilities, and the person who I may become on the other side.
However, from the moment Lauren and I had an initial conversation about her and Travis’ upcoming international teacher training, I had never felt so sure and curious of any big decision and commitment in my life. My spirit was aligned and my mind was, well, it was doing what the mind usually does, questioning everything and running through every possible scenario of what it would be like and who I was going to be on the other side of it.
Big time commitments take big time courage. Especially when it comes to something like a yoga teacher training. Whether you are interested in deepening your own practice or seeking to guide others through asana, pranayama, or meditations, there is an underlying curiosity and yearning for growth, expansion, and learning.
The fears of not being good enough or wise enough to teach such ancient practices were one of many thoughts to cross my mind. Will students respect me as a teacher? Will students come to my classes? Am I worthy enough to teach? What will people think of me as an instructor? All valid, all present. Though, the more attention I gave those worries the less confident and courageous I felt. Among the many things I learned from competing as an athlete, confidence and courage were two very important companions. No matter who the opponent and no matter if it were a game or practice, stepping onto the court, field, or studio space takes courage. Add a bit of confidence in there and you will be setting yourself up for success.
Thankfully, I found my confidence on the second day of teacher training. Phew. With plenty of time to reflect and be in self-inquiry, I was reminded that I have already been a teacher of movement for years. Although yoga is a different type of movement than strength and conditioning, the foundations are the same. Keeping students safe and supported while creating a container for growth and reflection.
No matter whether you have taught movement or played sports before, can you think of an area in your life where you have felt confidence? Maybe it is the way you communicate? Or techniques you use to prepare for meetings or interviews? Maybe it is in your storytelling abilities or visualization practices? Whatever it may be, use it as a tool to set yourself up to be the best version of yourself, for yourself, and for your students. I can say from experience that the more confidence I have stepping into any room, the better I perform and conduct with a greater capacity for others to feel the same. I am not saying that teaching is acting, those are two different skills, but the act of teaching is one that requires great awareness, presence, and focus, all that are amplified by self-confidence.
Throughout the first half of the teacher training, I found myself being in a constant state of flow and overwhelmed with joy. How could it be otherwise? I was surrounded by over a dozen other students who shared similar values, vulnerability, and a curiosity for self-growth, all while having the support from two of the most loving human beings I know, Travis and Lauren. Mentally, I had never felt better, and spiritually, I had never felt closer to home and on my path.
Enter my first test and challenge. Right at the midway point of the training, with my pendulum on its greatest upswing of all time, 5,855 miles away, my then-partner communicated to me that she saw us growing apart and in different directions. I was devastated and heartbroken to say the least, but with the loving support of Travis, Lauren, and my dear roommate Manish, I was able to stay equanimous and face this situation one breath at a time with presence, awareness, gratitude, and kindness. Barely halfway through the training and I was already being asked to put these ancient practices into play. Equipped and supported, I was able to finish the training strong with my head high above water and a genuine smile on my face. Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!
Worst timing ever? Or best possible timing? I believe so strongly that if it was not for the experience of teacher training and for the love and support from Travis and Lauren, I would not have been able to handle my relationship situation with such grace and understanding. It was the life-changing experience that catapulted me into a new trajectory of self-acceptance and self-love. Two areas that I had struggled with my whole life. Accepting who I am at my truest essence, and loving every aspect of myself, the light and the dark. When I share this story of my teacher training experience, I cannot help but be filled with so much joy and speak so highly of it. For many reasons, including the life-long friendships and memories, but mostly because I could feel that as soon as I got on that plane home to Los Angeles my life was forever changed for the better. Everything in my spirit knew it and could feel it. The timing was impeccable.
When we take the time and space to dive inwards for extended periods of time, what lies on the other side is transformation. Think of a young caterpillar who finds a home upon a branch, creates a chrysalis where he/she spends time in the darkness, to then shed old layers and emerge more beautiful and expansive than ever before. Listen to your soul, follow your heart, and know that you are loved and supported.
Inspired to awaken your inner teacher within? Explore online Holistic Yoga Flow Teacher Training with Travis and Lauren here!