What the yoga teacher training has done for me...

While I haven't posted about it as much this year, I served as a teaching assistant for Shanon Buffington's in-depth yoga studies so I could go through it again. This weekend, a new class of yoga teachers graduated.

One of the things about Shanon's program is that it is extremely holistic, and focuses on anatomy, energetics, breath, meditation and the literature and history of yoga. Shanon trains under Rod Stryker so the training combines his knowledge of vinyasa krama with a curriculum developed through the lens of her discipline as an engineer.  While the curriculum is standout, one of the best parts of Shanon's training is that she empowers her students to use the tools of yoga to grow as people.

I had Jheni—one of the students—ask me, Were you this amazing before Shanon's teacher training, or did your amazing-ness come with the teacher training? Which cracked me up, but also made me start thinking about what it is that the program has done for me.

The biggest thing is that it has taken my personal yoga practice so much deeper than I could have ever done on my own.  Historically, yoga wasn't taught in classrooms.  It was always passed from teacher to student—a mentoring relationship. It is personal and designed to do deep work in you (physically, emotionally, mentally....and as a result of all of the time spent in silence, spiritually). While I don't believe that yoga is a spiritual practice in and of itself (it is not a religion, there are no beliefs about deities, etc.) it can be an incredible spiritual tool.  As your body starts to heal and as you are quiet,  you become aware of parts of yourself that were previously ignored.  This may be heartfelt desires, talents, dreams or the negative aspects of yourself such as selfishness, weakness, posturing. I believe a deep yoga practice can reveal to us our God-given Imago Dei. (Which is hard to put into words for people who haven't experienced it.) It also creates alignment and union of all of the fragmented parts of ourselves. (Again, hard to capture in words.)

God has used it in my life to create more daily space with Him, to be able to understand how my spirit, mind and body connect, to reveal things I needed to let go of, and to give me the courage to follow Him "off road." I believe God is about adventure in this epic endeavor of capturing people's hearts with His love and He has used yoga to connect me so much more to His rhythm and power and to disconnect me from so many of the 'shoulds' that used to frame some pretty joyless parts of my interactions.

Practically, I've also accomplished a lot of personal goals.  Transitioning to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, publishing the cookbook, mentoring young women....I've come to believe that yoga accelerates and empowers personal growth—again, largely through the tools of healing our bodies and minds and being able to become silent. 

And, yeah, I think that is amazing. <grin>

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Maira Gall