And so, it’s over. My year (plus 2 months) of Yoga Teacher Training is officially finished. I’m now a legitimate, ‘credentialed’ yoga instructor. Some people won’t even think twice about trusting me with their bodies, and will do exactly what I say because I presumably ‘know’ what I’m talking about. And, some people will trust me with their fears, and their goals, and their hearts (as these things tend to come to the surface as a person begins to open to and grow in a yoga practice) – and these individuals may not even realize that they are trusting their entire selves to me. Being a yoga teacher is perhaps one of the most intimate (and therefore one of the most responsibility-filled) educator roles I could enter – and I’ve served in the capacity of “teacher” in a multitude of different ways, in a variety of different venues. Professionally in the world of business, academically in the realm of public education (from second grade children all the way through high school students), as a volunteer in the mental health field, informally among various friends…I’m no stranger to being a mentor, a counselor, a guide. But the world of yoga is just, different. It’s truly the deepest, most personal, most profound level of advising and offering and sharing I have engaged in thus far. It’s…indescribable. It’s to be honored, respected, and treated as both an immense responsibility and a beautiful gift. Every time I teach, advise, coach or counsel, I receive as much from the exchange as the other person (if not more); I hope I always retain this sense of appreciation and gratitude for the opportunities I am given to teach, to share, to serve.
At our official Yoga Study graduation ceremony, we were asked to reflect on the past year, and write down what we have learned, how we have changed, who has inspired us, and what we have gained. Here is my response:
To every wise and compassionate teacher who took any amount of time and energy to share their knowledge with me, I thank you.
Over these past twelve months I’ve been frustrated, and amazed, and challenged; I’ve felt elated, and annoyed, and delighted; I’ve learned about ethics and asana, breath and energy.
I’ve gained comfort in my own skin, confidence in my own voice, compassion in my own heart.
I peered into myself, and I met my own soul – and I have been genuinely, deeply surprised by the beautiful heart that returned my curious gaze.
I have learned a lot this past year – about my body, my character, and my heart. And yoga has been a large support in that process. But I know I have so much more to learn. And I know that this ending is actually only a beginning; that life is not linear, but circular. That one ‘completion’ simply leads to another new start; and the new start will expand, grow, peak, decline, and yield to something else new…. and so it goes, on and on, forevermore. Like waves that continue to roll into the shore, unceasing, unending, and unyielding, so too do the events of life.
This journey has arrived at its’ end. The water has reached the sand, and has settled between my toes as I stand on the shore. A little girl rushes past me, scoops a big bucket full of water and sand and shells, and scrambles back some distance to continue building her masterpiece…until her mom calls her for lunch and, once unattended, the ocean tide reclaims the castle, bringing it back out to the vast sea.
And so it goes. Ebb and flow. Start and end and start again. Here’s to whatever the next beginning may be.
Hoping to travel in peace, joy, laughter, and love,