Yoga teacher training (YTT) can be a powerful tool for self-reflection, which can be used to make the world a better place. This is because self-work and community work are always interrelated. When we do the work to heal and make ourselves better, we have a profound impact on our communities far and wide. YTT helped me confront my shadow side, find my inner strength and wisdom, and become a better advocate for a socially just world.
Here are eight ways YTT helped me connect my personal liberation to my community work:
I began to love my body. When you are in hours of asana, you start to realize how strong and capable you are. You learn where to push through, where to rest, where you’re making excuses, and where you’re being a perfectionist in your asana practice. At the same time, you learn about the anatomy and the subtle body energy of the yoga practice. I remember during our anatomy intensive that I had a profound realization that our bodies are magical! Why would I hate my thighs when they can bring so much power to my chair pose?
I learned how to be mindful. Before doing YTT, it was common for me to have the TV on or read when I ate dinner. I often felt lost without my phone and would spend an hour at a time scrolling through social media without a second thought. During YTT, I learned that I was using distractions instead of allowing myself to fully appreciate each moment. I’m not perfectly mindful all the time, but YTT helped me start a lifetime journey to being more mindful.
I realized that every moment is sacred. Before yoga, I always hoped for a profound dramatic moment to show me that there is divinity in the world. During the hours of meditation, deep listening, and asana in YTT, I found out that the divinity lives in the mundane. Each breath we take is a miracle, so each moment on my mat is one where I can experience a miracle. I also started to take this feeling of everyday divinity off my mat. I can take a deep breath in traffic and be grateful.
I learned how to be in my feels. As an average person with an average amount of rejection and heartbreak, being in my feelings is often scary and uncomfortable. Yet, during YTT, I was given a space to explore deep seated fears and uncertainties and come out on the other side feeling hopeful. Working through the energy stored in my body helped me feel lighter and better prepared to face each moment.
I reached a new level of compassion. Studying the yamas and niyamas gave me a clear path to experiencing the world around me from a place of caring, understanding, nonjudgement, and deep compassion. Each restraint and self-discipline outlined in the sutras allowed me to explore how I was showing up for my community both in thought and action.
I realized how connected we all are. Breathing, sweating, learning, exploring, and crying in a room with a group of people made me feel deeply connected to others for the first time in my life. Having the space to get messy and learn a new skill made me not take myself so seriously and let go of my need to always be seen as having my shit together. Even more so, by sharing energy with a group of people on a similar but different path than me, I started to recognize our collective energy.
I became more environmentally conscious. I realized, through the study of yoga as a union, that when we think of the environment as something out there, as separate from people, we care less about it. By taking union and connection into my spiritual/consciousness work, I started to realize that what I do for the environment affects me, other people, animals, water, land, everything.
I got out of my competition mindset and replaced it with an abundance mindset. In YTT, I learned to root for the others around me. Instead of feeling a sense of scarcity—a sense that if someone else gets something, I can’t have it—I started to feel that there’s enough to go around. By not coveting or stealing what others had, I didn’t feel as stressed to have everything right away. I also realized that the more grateful I am for what I have, the universe will send me more to be grateful for.
This summer, I’m leading the Be True Teacher Training at Authentic Yoga Life. My vision for this program is to continue to show and explore how yoga is a path to self-healing and community healing. If you’re looking for a yoga training that shows you how to self-reflect in order to step into your power and how to harness positive energy to make the world better, this program is for you! You’ll learn how to do the tough inner work for yourself, how to show up for your community, and how these two practices are inextricably linked. This training will teach you:
The powerful Baptiste framework
Yoga anatomy, alignment, and functional movement
How to teach inclusively with a trauma-informed lens
Yoga philosophy and ethics and how to use them to empower yourself and those around you
How to give a helpful and consensual hands-on assist
The basics of pranayama, the chakra system, and the potential of subtle energy for healing
How to teach a powerful all-levels power, gentle, and yin class
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about how you can join us on this journey!