For the past nine months, anytime someone asked where I was or where I was going, my response was yoga. Whether it was filling my weekends with yoga teacher training, energy exchange, or taking classes, I was soaking up all the information I could, putting all the pieces of the yoga world together and growing on my mat. One of my favourite parts of yoga is “what happens on the mat……” doesn’t just stay there- it makes you a better person, you begin to take up more space in your community and you find the courage to teach & inspire.
My practice has evolved substantially since I began to learn more about the structure of each pose, how the anatomical body works, and the many modifications. I even took my practice off the mat to unlock more of the mental benefits of yoga; like finding value in The Four Agreements and bringing more mindfulness into my life. I took extra time to converse with my body and make decisions throughout my practice in alignment with what I needed each day. I found myself in more gentle classes and exploring other types of yoga I hadn’t yet tried. I was interested in teacher’s styles and where they drew their inspiration from each day. Every class is different! Before I started yoga teacher training, I didn’t really grasp how many possibilities there was to explore and the training only got me more curious to learn.
The more I learned, the more I shared. So many traditional philosophies, creative yoga poses and meditation techniques were introduced to me within the four modules. I started inviting my family and friends to join me in yoga classes and I made greater connections even with them. The community of students I spent time with each weekend were inspiring and like our instructors said, we’d feel like a little yogi family by graduation. Saturdays and Sundays were spent surrounded by bolsters, blocks and notebooks, sharing snacks and sipping endless cups of tea and coffee. It was basically 200 hours of unforgettable yoga camp! I learned the importance of surrounding myself with like-minded individuals and conversing about topics we cared deeply about.
One of the most rewarding experiences, was finding the courage to teach my first flow class. By that time we had built a very safe and encouraging space. We took turns stepping out of our comfort zone, using the opportunity to grow and develop while also identifying what type of teacher we wanted to be. Each of us had a different story and reason for committing to each module. Not all of us aspired to be teachers, some of us wanted to deepen our practice, learn about the body’s anatomy to be safer in practice, develop techniques for meditation, string together our own yoga sequences for a home practice or understand where yoga emerged and how its evolved. But we all shared one common reason for showing up each week, a passion for the practice and a hope to bring the benefits of yoga into a larger community.
So my advice this summer is to go explore, go find your people, go try something new that requires courage, and share your love for yoga with the community. If you feel a calling to deepen your yoga practice and do a little soul searching, yoga camp is where I suggest you start. The adventure begins this September and I’ll be there again volunteering because of my pure passion for this course!