About a year ago, I realized I loved going to yoga class at a studio called Pure Yoga in Stillwater, MN. Yoga class was not only a new form of exercise for me, but also a way for me to reduce my anxiety from being a Type A person. I couldn't get over how amazing I felt when I was in the "zone" during yoga class AKA, forgetting about everything crazy going on in my life. I enjoyed just focusing on what the teacher was telling me to do, taking one pose at a time. I fell in love with this idea of escaping my anxious self and worries of the day through yoga. When I would leave class, I felt like a new person... one who could finally take a deep breath and relax.
In fact, I fell so in love with this feeling that I had to learn more about it, and more importantly I had to learn how instructors were able to get me there. When Pure Yoga opened a Yoga Teacher Training & Study Program, I decided I needed to make an investment for my personal health and education. And boy, has this training paid for itself in more ways than one. When I say my Yoga Teacher Training changed my life, I mean it.
I learned the importance of my breath (Pranayama). Breathing is something we do every second of the day. However, how much do we focus on our breath during the day? I used to never think about how I was breathing, and I didn't even realize I had control of my breath. Before Yoga Teacher Training, I never thought breathing exercises could be tools to help connect me to deep relaxation, reduce the intensity of an anxiety attack, assist me in falling asleep easier, the list goes on and on. In my program, we learned a lot about breathing (Pranayama) and how paying attention to your breath can really affect your yoga practice and life.
I learned to listen to my "inner best friend" and hush my "inner critic" Although this will always be a struggle for me, I definitely have changed my viewing on the words I say to myself in my head. Before my Yoga Teacher Training, my inner critic would be control of my inner dialect for days, or sometimes weeks if I made a mistake, felt unworthy, or just felt like I wasn't doing good enough. Now, I make sure to have my "inner best friend" show up to the conversation, rather than having my "inner critic" control and dominate my thoughts in my head.
I learned to love meditation. If you know me, you know I love sleeping. Not napping, but rather a good eight hours of sleep a night makes me one happy lady. Similar to a good night's rest, I learned meditation can give me the same rejuvenating feeling. I had this idea before Yoga Teacher Training of meditation was...Sitting in silence for a long time and not thinking of anything, just zoning out. However, I have learned multiple ways to meditation through my Yoga Teacher Training that I love, even a practice under five minutes can completely change my mood/day!
I learned yoga is a way of life, not just a class. Yoga used to be a class I went to twice a week. But now, I see yoga as a way of living. The physical practice of yoga (Asana) is only one of the eight limbs of yoga!
I want to thank my program leader, Suzy Schaak for building this Yoga Teacher Training. I also want to thank yoga -- You save me from my chronic back pain. You help me when I am anxious. You guide me to find the peace that is already within me ( I just have a hard time finding it sometimes) Thank you, yoga, for everything you have taught me, on and off the mat.