guest post by Stacey Ebert
Well over a decade ago, my friend Julie and I took a networking yoga class in NYC. We walked in, borrowed a mat, giggled at the ridiculous of it all, managed to stay for about 10 minutes, then ditched to get dinner.
It was a few years later until I took my second, ‘first’ yoga class on the beach in Long Beach, NY and whether I knew it then or not, I was hooked. Fast forward 8 years (after countless mat, hammock and wall classes around the globe) and here we are – I’ve officially survived the first week of yoga teacher training. If you asked me if I ever thought I’d be here – I’d definitely tell you you’re crazy.
Before I stepped through the door on Day 1 of Yoga One Teacher Training, I was petrified, nervous, excited, hesitant, and consumed with more emotions I can’t describe. Even though I had taught both high school and swimming for over two decades, even though Yoga One is my home studio and I adore the owners, Amy and Michael Caldwell – still, I felt that apprehension and angst. I came home from my first day sweaty, happy, exhausted, and not knowing if I could hack it.
By Day 2, I was achy, still happy, and managed to say two words to the husband before passing out by six o’clock for the night. Day 4, I taught for twenty minutes and all participants (including myself) walked away alive and unbroken – I call that a win! By day 5, I began experiencing change and feeling like the universe was literally cracking me open from the inside and never wanting this to end and by Day 6, I found myself dreaming of how to sequence a yoga class – what on earth is happening?
It was almost four years ago that we moved to San Diego and over a year that I’ve called Yoga One, home. These fabulous humans were there for me when my Dad passed away in December, gave me hugs when I needed it (and when I didn’t know I did), supported me through moves, the husband’s broken leg and dried my tears in many a savasana. Teacher training, for me, has taken that all to the next level – something like yoga, unplugged.
For the past week, Amy, Michael, Missy and Nam have taken fourteen strangers and brought them into the Yoga One community. We’ve learned to listen consciously, share our experiences, learn purpose and priorities we didn’t before know, trust and support each other in asanas and adjustments, breathe and be guided through practice by a kind, curious, experienced teacher. Through the medium of the yoga practice, Amy has helped us believe in ourselves.
For over a year now, Amy and the other instructors at Yoga One have been working with my wonky lungs and back on alignment and modifications that work for me. They’ve answered questions, pointed me in directions, guided me through practice, given me knowledge and shared their favorite books with me. Phrases like neutral/anteverted pelvis, natural spinal curve, breathe into the left back body, anchor the ribs and energetically move the thighs to the back plane of the body have been bantered around, improved slightly, yet often seemed unattainable – until this week.
This week, there’s been change. This week I woke up without back pain, actually felt what it means to get my thighs on the floor in full supta tadasana (reclined mountain pose) and even managed a full (supported) backbend. There have been tears of joy shed and magic felt – I can’t explain it, but it’s happening and that’s what matters.
Sure, I’m still nervous to sequence a class, figure out those transitions from standing to sitting and remember to mirror those tricky left and right directions – but I’m here. Fourteen people keep showing up each day with their eco-friendly bottles of water, snacks, desire to learn, and interest in the practice. Led by a patient, knowledgeable leader, we’ve watched each other grow, learn, share, and do. We’ve learned the difference between Yamas and Niyamas, that rooting to rise is helpful to all beings, that being present matters, that we can all benefit from a balance between steadiness and ease, that the practice of yoga is an artful, meditative dance and that all are always welcome on the mat.
I’m not sure what’s coming next, but I know I want to be a part of it all. None of us truly knows where it will all lead, but there’s magic happening in this training and on the mat and I’m already looking forward to experiencing more of it.
Stacey Ebert is a freelance writer, educator, event planner, and volunteer coordinator who has traveled to over 50 of the world’s countries. Writing about adventure, journey and perspective changing life shifts, she encourages travelers to take the leap, use the world as their classroom and get outside their comfort zones. She has lived in Long Beach (New York), Melbourne (Australia) and is presently based in San Diego (California). Connect with her on her blog, The Gift of Travel, Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.