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Yoga teacher trainings create shifts in our lives. Some big, some small and all worth reflecting on. Here are the shifts I have experienced since my Level One Teacher Training w/Baptiste Yoga.
The Shift of Presence
The ability to be present and give presence. Before Teacher Training I only remember being present during exciting or fearful moments; falling in love, preforming challenging moves on the river, finishing a race, flying downhill on my mountain bike, presenting a new topic to my math students. Where I was not present was in the “ordinary” moments. I would listen to friends and family and constantly think about what I could say next. If I was with someone I felt the need to talk, sitting in silence just felt awkward. The lack of silence and stillness made it hard for me to connect with another on an energetic level. Sending love through my heart was a foreign concept to me.
Yoga has taught me how to take one breathe at a time, relax with what is and how to share love and connection through heart energy.
This past January I had the opportunity to put these lessons into action in a BIG way. Jared and I took a trip on the Colorado River with 15 friends. We were in the Grand Canyon for 21 days camping below the rim. Once we entered the canyon we had no contact with the outside world, we made all of our own food, and lived with whatever we could carry in our six boats. It was freeing to realize we could live for 21 days without a shower, bathroom, phone, TV, internet. I felt humbled and alive within the canyon walls. Each day I would take in the canyon with awe and wonder. From the Nankoweap Granaries to Elves Chasm to Deer Valley Falls to Havasu Creek I felt the soul of the canyon. I began to store memories through presence. Today I can still see the spotlight the moon created while we slept at Upper Ledges and the view I absorbed at the Unkar Peninsula while Jared took the picture below.
They say if you do something for 21 days it will become a habit. After 21 days of practicing presence I feel it in my everyday life most of the time. Through my yoga practice I know how to come back to presence when I step into past/future. Practicing presence with my friends and family has shifted my relationships. I now feel more connection, acceptance and love than ever before. For me, these tools/gifts entered my life through my yoga practice, through teacher training, and through sharing yoga with others. These gifts have given me limitless gratitude and trust for the path I am walking.
With Love and Light, Amanda
This past weekend, Power Yoga Morgantown hosted the Warrior Workshops – a three-day event designed to open you up, ground you down to the present moment, and create space for new possibilities in your lives. It might just sound like a lot of yogi buzz words, but that’s exactly what we did.
Day 1 of the workshops really set the stage for what was to come over the rest of the weekend. After a wonderful yoga practice full of open twists and core work sprinkled with laughter (no joke – there were 14 Mogis laughing during what is typically a very tense part of the practice), the discussions began. This is where we learned just how real we were about to get with ourselves, and for most of us, how uncomfortable that realness might get. With a room full of light, positive energy and journals in hand, we looked inside to see what our yoga practice brings out in us and where in our lives we may not be giving 100%. Challenged to work toward becoming more authentic in those areas of our lives, we walked out of the studio wondering what Day 2 would bring.
Day 2, we focused on tadasana – both in our physical practice and in the rest of our lives. Throughout our practice, we were reminded to start with our feet. “Ground down through your feet, then work your way up.” This was repeated through every posture – from downward facing dog to crescent lunge twist to twisted half moon. Partner work focused on maintaining tadasana, even when we lost the support of the one holding us, and our discussions once again forced us to look inside. What do we feel when we lose tadasana? What takes us out, and what brings us back? Armed with a whole arsenal of positive values, we were challenged to commit to a new way of being, and to stop telling ourselves harmful lies.
Day 3 focused on heart opening. By the last day, every woman in the room felt how safe of a space they were in. Sharing hard truths got a little easier, and partner work requiring extreme trust for some was accessible to all. After a practice full of backbending, partner work, and a little bit of silly strutting, the studio seemed to shine from within. There were tears and laughter and breakthroughs and thank yous. People lingered after class. New friends were made.
It’s taken me a few days to get my thoughts reigned in for this post. I wanted to be able to describe my experience in the Warrior Workshops in a few, succinct words. I think I speak for all of us, though, when I tell you I couldn’t narrow the list down because the experience was anything but succinct.
They were crying and laughter. Self-confrontation and breakthroughs. “I want to be perfect,” and “I don’t even want to try.” They were breaking down and building up. They were shame and vulnerability and love and truth and respect. They were “I am scared,” and “Hey, I am, too.” They were grounding down and shaking it out. They were hugs – both literally and figuratively. The Warrior Workshops were exactly what one might expect, and they were so, so much more.