So this is it. I’m officially a yoga instructor.
I can turn people into twisty, bendy positions because I, myself, have contorted into twisty, bendy positions for the duration of my teacher training and learned how to tell students how to do it.
But the two months that I spent in Austin, away from my home in Ohio, weren’t just about learning yoga poses. They were more than that. Those two months were two of the hardest and best months I’ve experienced in my life thus far. Some people say yoga teacher training changed them and that they’re different now. I disagree. No one changed. Changing isn’t something people do.
Instead, we learn.
I was an awesome, amazing person before going to Austin, and I’m the same awesome, amazing person coming out, but I learned how to show it. We grow to understand things whether they be people, relationships, the world or ourselves.
We discover that we are still the same person, regardless of the emotion we’re experiencing or situation we are facing, because the drama, events or obstacles are outside the realm of our Self.
I came out of training stronger, both physically and mentally.
A wise person once told me, “There’s taking yourself out of the comfort zone and there’s being forced out of your comfort zone.”
Living in Austin was an agreement I made with myself. An agreement to leave my comfort zone. Events occurred that forced me even further out of that zone. It was tough. I knew ‘real life’ was waiting for me at home, but I didn’t expect it to hit me head on while I was still away.
To comfort me, my fellow trainees advised me, “When you leap, the net will appear.”
As I drove away from Austin to go home, I thought to myself, I’ve been free-falling from day one. There is no net. The net will never appear.
But guess what else will never appear?
The entirety of life is free-falling. It’s a matter of finding the right way to fall so that we don’t bump into random debris—antarayas, obstacles in our journey—on the way down. They can be life events, people, problems and the ups and downs of existence. Sometimes we get nipped in the shoulder and sometimes we get hit full-force. We might find someone to hold hands with while we fall or there may be a whole group of people below waiting to catch we.
But everyone else is free-falling just as quickly, bumping and dodging on their own way down.
There’s a certain comfort in knowing I am not completely alone. Everyone has their own problems to deal with. As I face more antarayas in my free-fall, I find myself looking past the debris to the clear air. I put myself into that white space in my mind and eventually, my body follows. This was one of my most powerful lessons of training: the incredible sheer grace and power of thought.
But I am still learning. I’m still learning the art of yoga. I’m still learning about flying. I’m still learning the secrets to an exquisite existence.
But the more I learn, I don’t change or become “better.” I do something I could have never imagined, I become more of my Self.
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Assistant Editor: Zenna James/ Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Provided by author