Once you commit to a decision in life, there really is no stopping you. About 14 years ago I took my first yoga class. I recall it making me feel giddy and light. From that very moment, a little seed of an idea was planted: one day I will get my yoga certification.
From the very beginning, I loved yoga — both the practice itself and the philosophy. But I’ll admit, it was a challenge to keep it in my schedule. After that first class, life would get busy and my yoga practice would dwindle. At times I would practice frequently, and then fall completely out of it for weeks, maybe even months. But it kept calling me back.
At some point I said to myself, “That’s it! I want yoga to be part of my daily life.” That’s when I made the teacher certification training a real possibility. Today I am a certified 200-hour RYT who takes every opportunity to share my experience. This is my story on getting certified.
Dive into yoga!
When my training began I dove in head first with vigor! I was filled with enthusiasm and grateful to be in the class. Our class included yoga practice, meditation and lecture time. We discussed topics like spirituality versus religion, being present in the moment and letting go, among many other life lessons from the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and other works.
And we practiced a lot! Within the first week, my body began to show signs of strain. Which, quite frankly, surprised me. I thought I was flexible and in pretty good shape! As I shared my experience with my fellow students I found out it was quite normal with all the practice we were doing. I took their advice and started taking Epsom salt baths — which I now highly recommend as they were a life saver.
We started teaching fairly quickly too. Early on we were taking turns teaching mini sections of our yoga practice to each other to test our knowledge. It was a good test of the philosophy in practice — learning to let go, be present and just do it.
Rebellion kicks in.
As the program progressed I noticed my body getting tired. I witnessed myself starting to procrastinate my homework. I got tired and bored with making my lunch. Basically, the monkey mind started to whine!
So I said to myself, “snap out of it!” As I begin to notice these feelings, I shared them in class. After some discussion we determine it’s just a natural part of the learning process and human behavior. One of my biggest lessons throughout this training is that of resistance and acceptance. As soon as I accepted it, it was easier to let it go and watch it just float away like a leaf in a stream.
I reminded myself that I chose this path. I WANT to be here pursuing a long-time goal. It’s as if the ego was having a temper tantrum and I had to tap into “source” to set it straight!
Muscles and meditation.
All was moving along nicely… until it wasn’t. One day in meditation I was laying on my back on some props when something moved. Suddenly I had a stiff neck. It was so bad that I had to pick my head off the mat using my hands. My body was reacting to the extra activity and something fell out of whack. I was injured and very disappointed.
During meditation tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably due to both the physical pain and the disappointment. Again, a lesson presented itself: let go of attachment. In our practice I worked through the poses best I could, enjoyed a mini massage from a caring classmate and reminded myself this too, shall pass. And it did… eventually. That’s life after all, we can’t control it, I thought. I caught myself thinking, “hey the teachings are kicking in and I am applying them to overcome one of life’s little challenges!” It made me feel like I was in exactly the right place, at the right time.
Teach and grow.
It’s all about practice. As with any skill we wish to hone, the mastery comes in taking action and actually doing it. As our program continued we took turns teaching the various yoga flows we’d been learning. This helped both solidify our own yoga practice, and gave us experience in teaching others. I was reminded of a quote I read that said, “The best teachers are really just great students.” I made a mental note to continuously learn something about yoga each day so that it becomes a natural part of both my teaching and my way of being.
Not every student in our class has the same goal. Some signed up to deepen their own yoga practice and not necessarily because they are intent on becoming a RYT (registered yoga teacher). It reminds me of what my instructor said to us on the first day of our class: “This will be a spiritual journey for you.”
It was for me. I got so much more out of the 200-hour yoga certification training than just knowing how to construct and instruct a yoga class. I’ve learned life lessons, I’ve applied them and have certainly grown from the overall experience. I’ve gained a new way of being, not to mention strengthening my personal yoga practice better than ever before. I can honestly say the experience of becoming certified has truly enriched my life.
Self improvement of any kind is a practice so by no means have I checked the “done” box. Yoga is a practice. Life is a practice. We get to continue to learn and grow. That’s what makes life so exciting! And as my journey continues, now as a certified RYT, I look forward to sharing my yoga experience with many students in the future. I hope to see you on the mat at Simply Yoga in one of my classes. Until then, Namaste.
by Kery Knutson