2011 Teacher Training with Marie Jean
Here our some of our yoga teacher trainees essays on what yoga means to me. This was their final reflective assignment. Congratulations! Our Ceremonial was Saturday Aug 27th 2011.
Yoga is a lifestyle to me. It is being aware of what I eat, how I feel, and how I am thinking and taking care of my whole self. It is a “fine tune” button. A tool that helps me tune into my mind, my physical body, my spirituality and fine tune or adjust aspects of them that are out of balance. It is balance. It is metaphysical. It is devotion and trust and faith. It is love. It is change and evolution and growth. It is unique and individual and personal. It is caring and sharing and giving and forgiving. It is acceptance and surrender and questioning and knowing. It is confidence and calm and radiant. It is health and happiness. It is being. It is life. It is you and me.
What yoga means to me. A choice Life style Community Health - internal and external Practice Awareness Surrendering Beauty Love All these thoughts quickly come to my mind when I ponder what yoga means to me. It has been an 8year journey thus far. So as of right now, with a warm breeze surrounding my body, the sounds of leaves in the trees and birds, I trust what thoughts I describe now are only that, thoughts right now. Making a choice to practice yoga means making a choice to practice off and on the mat. Each moment, each breath of awareness can guide each movement, action and thought. Success at a physical practice and a life practice varies. Yoga provides me with a physical power and flexibility for health and mental power and flexibility also for health. It gives me the pause, the breath, when my physical and mental strength or flexibility need focus. The community of individuals that comes together to practice is energizing for me. The bonds of friendship is a special gift. This group can laugh with me and support me as I can do for the group - a very circular experience. The community can help with exploring and processing various elements of yoga. The discussion, dialogue, is another gift. Beauty and love found in the practice, within myself and within the community is what this life is about. Kindness towards self and others comes with the practice of yoga. I do not believe I am always at top form but know to come back to the breath and start where I am currently. Whatever yoga brings to me today is simply that, it brings something to me today and tomorrow - the next today - brings be what I can receive. Staying present in all aspects, staying focused, grounded, and in tune with the breath is yoga. This awareness of the beauty of life provides me the opportunity to know God. Meditation and praying provides me the opportunity for stillness which brings me closer to God. Yoga has many levels of awareness to access from the simplicity of a smile to the profoundness of life.
Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of yoga to me.
(day before my certification ceremony)
Yoga has always been a haven for me. Whether it was in the form of community or even in my own mind and practice.
It’s a haven because it’s a place, be it, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual where I can go to and feel calm, safe,
and happy and try to reach for something higher than myself. And when I practice with others, we are all reaching
together, learning from each other, sustaining each other, and pushing forward together. My definition of yoga
involves, first and foremost, awareness. To be able to fully grasp something, a person has to be aware and use all of
their senses and not come to a conclusion too soon. Yoga is unique to me in it’s ability to make a seemingly easy
concept complex, and take very simple ideas and make them mind-boggling. Yoga can be a mystery and is always a
challenge. Even a very wise and intelligent person will not always know everything. I think yoga is a great tool to use
for learning. Many yoga concepts can be applied to all aspects of life. Yoga to me promotes diversity, acceptance, and
love. I think everyone just wants to be loved and accepted the way they are. Yoga welcomes all people. Young and
old. Rich and poor. Male and female. At the same time yoga accepts all, it unifies people with one another as well.
Everyone does not have the same goals for their yoga practice. Not everyone does yoga for the same reason, but
everyone in the yoga community does the best they can to support each other and their pursuits in yoga and life.
Whether you are straight or gay, black or white, religious or not, yoga will welcome you with a smile and maybe even
a wink because although yoga is a serious pursuit, it is also very fun and light. It rejuvenates people at whatever level
they may need. Another thing I like about it, is how it teaches people how to give and receive with love. It lets people
truly shine as they share themselves with one another in a way that is uplifting for everyone involved. It makes
everyones inner light shine a little bit brighter. Now I wonder, who wouldn’t want that? =)
The light in me acknowledges the light in you,
What yoga means to me.
This summer yoga has become is becoming of significance for me for a variety of reasons. There is so much to say. I will begin outwardly and work my way inwardly to explain what yoga means to me and some final thoughts.
Outwardly, I have never been very athletic or interested in any particular sport. I worked out occasionally and reluctantly, not really enjoying the mundaneness of repetitive exercise and not feeling secure enough to try joining a team or learning. Of course, I know the benefits of physical activity and made all attempts not to be sedentary. I finally decided to try yoga, thinking that that was more my pace and really needed something in my life that worked on more than my body. I don’t believe I have ever felt very comfortable in my own skin and I know that I often forget to breathe. So I believed yoga would help me began to address some of these long-standing issues. I found I enjoyed it and it helped focuses in a positive manner on my body and made me feel just better overall.
Inwardly, I wanted to work on my mind and spirit anyway that was beneficial for me. I knew enough about yoga to know that it is from an ancient tradition and ancient practice that benefit the spirit and the mind. Well, I am a person that lives in my head and has tried to manage the constant talk in my head that isn’t always the most positive; it is mostly self-critical and has a dooms day predilection. So tired of it, I also felt I had trouble focusing, so I hoped the practice of yoga would help me gain some control over the nonsense in my head, turning it to more positive thoughts and more focused thoughts.
Spirituality, I have always felt a sense of curiosity and inquiry knowing and trusting that my life is a journey and I am not alone in it but guided by spirit and connecting to others by our shared humanity and spirituality. However, I have not felt as connected to spirit, to my spirituality as I wished, as I needed, as I desired. This disconnect also brought me to yoga.
In these times it has really supported my well-being, helped me maintain my sanity and helped me shift my focus to spirit, to health, to optimism and to connecting with myself and others. So, it may seem that I came yoga to just to take, seems like a self-centered process but that is not the entire story.
Though this journey began with self-interest as a goal, I see yoga as the manner in which I can support others in their own personal journeys. That I can serve others through yoga to support their health, mind and spirit is exciting and motivating for me. I find joy in being able to share helpful and concrete information and practices that can serve a beneficial purpose in someone’s life. Yoga is powerful tool that anyone can have access to that can address the multitude of issues we each face in our life journeys.
Ultimately, what yoga means to me is a connection to myself, to others and to spirit and universe -to know thyself- so that I can truly be of service to others, practice joy and peace and ideally leave the world a better place than I found it. This is what yoga means to me.
Pati DeRobles –Summer 2011 – Yoga Teacher Training