Five Things Yoga Teacher Training Has Taught Me So Far. ~ Carolyn Gilligan

Via elephant journal
on Jul 30, 2012
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I am so thankful for my yoga teacher training experience.

It is with an overwhelming amount of gratitude that I write this. Gratitude for my teacher training, for my teacher training leader, for all of my truly amazing fellow trainees, for all that I have learned, for the studio, for my practice and for that brief God sent moment of complete courage to send the e-mail and apply for the training despite my self-doubt that I wasn’t good enough or ready or any of that other—excuse my language—bullshit.

I signed up for yoga teacher training expecting to learn all of the technicals of how to lead a yoga class. I was prepared to study sequencing, theming, alignment, adjustments, pranayama and memorizing Sanskrit names for the asanas. Surely enough, we have dedicated entire weekends to doing just that.

What I was not expecting was a much needed attitude adjustment and a miraculous shift in my perception. On an existential level, I have come away with so much more and that is:

1. Let it go. We hold on to so much, but we don’t have to. Let go of the fear and doubt and worry. Let go of expectation. Let go of what happened yesterday, this morning or five minutes ago. Stop pushing, pulling, doubting, analyzing and thinking so much. When we let go, we can fill up. Fill up with breath, love, friendliness, compassion and gratitude.

2. Stay. When you’ve been holding Warrior II for what feels like days and your front quad is starting to shake and bake and the salt from your sweat that is uncontrollably cascading down your forehead into your eye sockets, temporarily blinds you, and surely your shoulders are going to collapse and your arms are going to fall off completely, stay. The same goes for our relationships with ourselves, our significant others, our lovers, our friends. When difficulty and discomfort arises, stay committed. Be patient. Be compassionate. You are immensely stronger than you think you are.

3. “You stop trying to fix yourself and start being yourself.” ~ Baron Baptiste.

This one speaks for itself.

4. Our happiness is not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to it. Life is full of broken hearts and broken bones—that is just part of this beautifully wild ride. Everywhere, everyday we are confronted with our fate. You can try to resist—kick it in the face and scream at it at the tippy top of your pretty little lungs—but you can not stop the universe from unraveling as it should.

While we can’t choose our fate, we can chose our reaction to fate. We can choose our attitude and and we can choose our thoughts. We can remain steadfast in our commitment to hope. We can have unyielding, fiercely ferocious courage to shoulder our suffering with grace. We can keep our hearts wide open and love more. We can choose to smile. We can choose to be happy. The universe, your God, whatever higher power you choose to place your faith in, it supports you. So put your feet up on the dash, lean back and let the universe do her sweet thang.

5. You are ready now. I never feel ready. I always feel like I need more preparation. More studying, more research, more practice, more, more, more. I didn’t feel like I was ready enough to take my training, but I took the leap of faith and that has turned out marvelously. Sometimes you just have to stop preparing and procrastinating, put on your big girl shoes and fake it til you make it.


Carolyn Gilligan is a daughter, sister, best friend, listener, lover, ice cream eater, sometimes writer, easily excitable, embarrassingly gullible yoga teacher in training who drinks too much coffee, makes a lot of mistakes and has too much fun for her own good.



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7 Responses to “Five Things Yoga Teacher Training Has Taught Me So Far. ~ Carolyn Gilligan”

  1. Suzanne Check says:

    Some of the learnings seem to be so simple and yet the simpliest things are often the hardest to take in and become a part of who we really are! Stay true to yourself and never, ever, ever give up!

  2. Cristina Hoyt says:

    Thank you for writing so eloquently what the training program has also done for me. We are blessed to share this experience and marvel in watching us all transform into our true self.

  3. CarolynGilligan says:

    You are so very welcome! Thanks you for reading and supporting me, it means so much! xoxo

  4. livingfrombalance says:

    Carolyn.. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!
    I just finished a training in June and felt all that you did!!.. I too think I still need more preparation, training what ever.. that until I master all the poses I cannot do (which are quite a few!!) I shouldn't even be teaching.. but then I wrote to the amazing Kathryn Budig are taking one of her workshops and she said.." are your students having fun is your class making them happy? If so then you should be teaching!". SO I teach.. and every time a class has completed I feel SO grateful that I again trusted and put myself out there even if I was SURE I wasn't ready!!
    thank you for this!!

  5. […] the seasoned yogi that I considered myself to be, I had this four week Intensive TT in the bag. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, knew my strengths, knew my weaknesses. I knew exactly what to […]

  6. RasiRas says:

    thank you for taking the leap and living to tell about it~ 🙂