The process of personal transformation has been the most significant aspect of my life since I was twelve years old. A random classmate gave me a journal on my twelfth birthday. It was even the corniest journal. A polly pocket gone surrealist figure was on the front hand corner of the diary.
The day after the party, I sat on my back porch looking at the evening sky. In a moment of seeing the sunset and putting pen to paper, I became awake to the purpose of my life.
My reflection went something like this: there is a mysterious force in the universe. It is unknown yet responsive to my hopes, fears and projections. If there is something so much greater than just going through the motions of life, then it is absolutely imperative that I dedicate my life to serving that force.
That was 20 years ago. Since then, my concept of the divine has undergone many metamorphosis. I can only hope this metamorphosis continues at an even more rapid pace until the day I die.
By the time I was twenty two, it was clear to me my life’s work is to pass on and embody the teachings of Yoga. I had just graduated from college and I was going to the Yoga Center in California for the third summer in a row. I was assisting the intensive 200 hour yoga training held every summer.
I continued to show up because my involvement with the program helped me to get incrementally closer to being a better person. The third summer I was there, it dawned on me that in the future I too would lead teacher trainings and aid others through the transformational process that had been so paramount for me.
To describe what yoga teacher training has awakened inside me: I was empowered to become more myself. I was able to put a little more distance between my selfish self and my selfless Self. I was more positive about life. Literally everything became more possible and more accessible. I was receiving the necessary tools to handle my life with dignity and grace.
I should pause here and say that everything wasn’t all flowers and rainbows. I actually had an extremely negative mind and experienced a lot of depression. I continued to experience depression and still do to this day.
In the present time I am significantly more objective with my thoughts. I no longer allow myself to be swept into the storm and narrative of my emotions. This very thing is the work that yoga aids a person to accomplish.
In the early days when my emotions were overpowering, just being in the yoga community and in communion with other seekers allowed me enough respite from the monotony of being myself to dream about my life’s possibilities.
Despite my negative mind at age twenty two, I had a happy, healthy childhood. I received a mountain of tools to face life: a scholastic education, a diligent work ethic, athleticism, teamwork, a good sense of my body in space.
I emerged triumphantly through the emotional challenges of middle school. I learned about love and heartbreak in high school. Academically, I read some of the most sophisticated minds of the past two centuries, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. And they made me want to read. In college I flourished in a small liberal arts major that imparted self-awareness, critical thinking and speaking skills.
I received everything a conventional education and loving family could provide. Yet I still felt a gnawing sense of sadness toward my life. There was one major thing that was not in order- my own mind.
The beauty of the science of Yoga is that it is infinitely practical. The tools that Yoga uses are not so challenging or crazy. They are simple and often overlooked. One of yoga’s most powerful tools is the breath. The beginning student starts by learning how to take a full diaphragmatic breath.
Breathing from lower to middle to upper lungs stimulates our two additional nervous systems, the enteric nervous system in the abdomen and the nervous system seated at the heart. That means that breathing alone can integrate the fragmented identity between the body, heart and head. This tool by itself is enough to alter our biology, affect our gene expression and change the course of our destiny.
Yoga also brings a practical approach to devotion and service. It acknowledges the mystery of life and the forces that are beyond our control. It empowers us to develop positive qualities in our lives and reduce the things that don’t serve us. The most significant part is that the student has the ability to develop positive qualities because they first got their body and mind under control through the regular practice of movement, breath, mantra, and meditation.
I believe Yoga is the most fundamental part of a higher education. It is not only a higher education, it is the foundation. I love sharing its tools with other adults and watching the light bulbs go off inside their heads.
I encourage anyone who wants a better relationship with their mind and body to educate themselves in the practice of Yoga. Anyone who enrolls in a yoga teacher training program will receive a method of overcoming the lethargy of being themselves and open the doors to being the Self that lies within every person.
Yoga Teacher Training starts May 30th. Message me for more info. Or copy the link below for more details: https://www.elementalyogatherapy.com/teacher-training-elemental-yoga-the