Acceptance

Granada, Spain. Photo credit to Serena Vandenberg

Granada, Spain. Photo credit to Serena Vandenberg

I just survived my first week of intensive YTT (yoga teacher training) at Yogaworks! Learning tons of materials for 9 hours straight for five days in a row can be both challenging and exhausting. I had to be attentive and focused for many hours a day; to practice yoga asanas for 2-2.5 hours a day; keeping up with the homework; a 3-hour of commute, as well as taking good care of my own body. It’s tough and it requires a tremendous commitment to hard work. But I am LOVING it. I have had nothing but a positive experience so far.

I have fallen in love with Yoga all over again. I love learning about every aspect of yoga. Whether it is history, yoga sutras, meditation, physical practice, anatomy, teaching philosophy, teaching vocabulary or even memorizing the Sanskrit names for different yoga poses. I feel like I was a dry sponge before YTT, ready to absorb as much yoga knowledge as possible. Everything I am learning is fascinating and inspiring.

Lisbon, Portugal. Photo credit to Serena Vandenberg

Lisbon, Portugal. Photo credit to Serena Vandenberg

I now realize that teaching yoga is much harder than I expected. To be able to articulate yoga poses clearly using only words is an art form. I also discovered how much I love learning about anatomy. I have never been naturally flexible and flexibility has been a constant struggle. Although I have been doing yoga on-and-off for 7 years, I am nowhere near as flexible as I would like to be. For some people it comes naturally, but for me it is a struggle. I consider myself structurally stiff, and it’s something I have always been very self-conscious about as a yogini. In the back of my mind I feel like I need to be more flexible if I want to call myself a yoga practitioner let alone yoga teacher! I am very fortunate in terms of my physical strength. Maybe that leads to a lack of mobility, especially in my shoulders, as well as tight hips and hamstrings. Maybe that contributes to my fascination with anatomy--I want to unlock the mystery of my body’s limitations.

During my YTT we learned about how to properly align our yoga poses. Also the course covers yoga as a philosophy of life, a spiritual path and a lifestyle. We learned how to help people master the poses with limited flexibility by using proper alignment. In contrast, how flexible people can be more prone to injuries because of their misaligned yoga poses. Yoga is love. It is not about comparing yourself to others; it is not about how flexible or strong you are in the pose; it is about how you feel in a pose. Yoga is not about the end result, but about the journey. Yoga is not just  physical poses, but its a lifestyle…how you think and act on and off the mat.

Quite often when you take a yoga class, the teacher will ask you to state your intention for the practice or that day. My YTT yoga teacher asked us what is our intentions were for the YTT. My answer popped into my head without effort. ACCEPTANCE. Accept who I am today, accept where I am today in terms of my life, career, and in yoga practice. As a human being, especially as a woman, it’s easy to judge others, to judge ourselves, and to doubt. My intention is to acknowledge those negative feelings and to respond with compassion. Acceptance. I accept who I am in this moment in time and space. My philosophy is to be present; without expectations for the results of this journey, but rather if I focus on the journey itself then the rest will follow.