More than Poses: Reflections from Yoga Teacher Training

Last night as I was thinking about the time I’ve put into completing my 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training I was reminded of the essay prompt we responded to our first week of training & wanted to share my response.  It seems fitting to share this at the end of the training and reflect back on where I was at the start and where I find myself now.

Prompt: Consider how you made the transition from yoga as postures to more than the asana. What teachers/factors influenced you? What were some memorable insights?

I started my yoga practice when I was in college, I was 20 and a friend asked me to join her for the once-a-week free class in the wrestling room. I found myself nervous to go and worried I wouldn’t do anything right; I was never athletic in the sense of being in any team sports or individual sporting events, but I had been in color guard in high school so I understood on a base level how to use my body during movement and breathe during a performance. I remember after our first class and for every class after the teacher, a full-time English professor would say “Live like the Lotus, at home in the muddy water.” For the first few weeks I didn’t really understand, I did some research on the lotus flower and felt like I could comprehend the statement but I didn’t really get it – just yet.

A year later, I went through a challenging break up with my college boyfriend and was seeking something to bring me out of the depression I was in. My mom’s co-worker invited me to attend a yoga class at a local studio, the teacher that night changed my life forever. It was there the beautiful words my college instructor spoke finally resonated with a part of me deeper than muscle, tissue, and bone, they sunk deep into my being and I felt the most incredible sense of light and vibration. She would say during class to be Boundless, like the ocean to embrace the pure potentiality of every moment.

In these early years I began to weave the physical practice with the energetic, spiritual and mindful practices of yoga – to see myself and my interactions as more than just minutes of life but as moments, important moments, many of which have allowed me to grow more than I ever thought possible. If my 20-year-old-self were sitting here next to me right now I bet she would gasp at everything I have done and wonder where that spark came from. I have had many moments of influence and insight and each has led me to the next phase of this experience.

A more recent reflection was from my last practice at the Shala with my friend David from my first Yoga Teacher Training at Tapas Yoga Shala, I remember each minute of that practice, we had agreed to meet at the Shala and do our practice together, since he would be moving to CA and not returning to the Quad Cities. As we ended our practice Kelly snapped a few pictures, we were perfectly in-sync in those shots, my 5’4 frame in headstand next to his 6ft muscular inverted frame. In Savasana I know I cried and I know David cried as he listened to Kelly welcome a brand new student to the space. What an incredible experience to share with a wonderful friend and to know that our physical practices helped facilitate the creation of some magnificent memories.

I think now how I refer to yoga as my practice – because it’s more than a crazy leg-behind-the-head posture, I know if I can handle balance and breath in challenging postures, postures that seem familiar to me, and flows that are uncertain that I can take those skills off my mat and into my daily life and find the balance and the breath in all the moments life throws at me.

Headshot by Desiree Sandlin - 500 hour yoga teacher training

Headshot by Desiree Sandlin.


If this prompt inspires you I’d love to hear your stories! Please message, comment or email me!!

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