Before I left for my LOAY Teacher Training in February 2013, I snapped a quick photo of myself and posted it on Facebook. “I’m about to leave for my yoga teacher training adventure. I took a picture just in case I come back completely changed,” I joked.
Little did I know that the person coming home from the training would be changed in every imaginable way EXCEPT visibly. (Well, okay, I even changed a little outwardly if you count the three pounds I lost.)
It is oddly difficult to describe the experience. I find myself speaking in terms of what it wasn’t. It wasn’t bootcamp for yogis. It wasn’t a cult indoctrination. It wasn’t me and a bunch of Cirque de Soleil performers. My fellow trainees were as varied as our number, all of us there for different reasons. All of us at different stages on our paths. And all of us, every one, there because we had glimpsed something in Sri Dharma Mittra that we hoped to find for ourselves.
What I end up telling people who ask about the training is this: Imagine yourself in a completely positive environment for ten straight days. How many of us get that chance? How many of us are surrounded by nothing but unbroken love and nurture and kindness and the best wishes for our development for even ONE day out of our lives, let alone ten days from before dawn until bedtime?
It was amazing to be surrounded by like-minded people. To be able to ask deeply spiritual questions and be completely understood. To be in the presence of someone whose understanding of true Yoga far surpassed any living being I’d ever met. To find my spiritual home.
Yes, it was hard—but not in the way I thought it would be. Although my body was pushed to its limit (I had to skip an asana practice one day because my back was on the fringes,) it was my mind and my spirit that had the biggest workout. I came home utterly cracked wide open—with a new connection to the Earth, to my fellow humans, to the spirit world.
The biggest challenges for me involved NOT moving—finding a comfortable position to sit and meditate, or finding a comfortable position to lie down in for the deep relaxation sessions. It’s amazing how much I wanted to shift and move as soon as I knew I shouldn’t. I came to recognize this as my mind and body distracting me from my true work.
Many years ago, a friend of mind—a wise-cracking, sarcastic, realist –abruptly converted to Catholicism. I was, frankly, shocked, knowing what I knew of her. I asked her about it and she struggled for words. “It’s…It’s just the TRUTH,” she said. “When I heard it, I had to take action.”
That’s how I feel about the Yoga that Sri Dharma Mittra teaches—all aspects of it. I’m still a neophyte on the path. But it’s just the Truth. And when you hear the Truth, you have to take action.
Barb Cooper, 48, is a mother, a well-socialized introvert, a Texas-to-New York transplant, and a writer by nature and training. She considers herself a grateful observer, a recovering perfectionist, and no longer shy. Barb graduated from the Dharma Yoga Life of a Yogi Teacher Training in June 2013. She is beginning to become the person her pets think she is. Barb@sothethingis.com