As my time in Thailand draws to an end, I find myself continuously thinking about why I love practicing yoga and the reason for pursuing a 200-hour yoga teacher training.
As I aimlessly stroll around Chiang Mai, or speed around traffic in a tuk tuk, or stare into the mountains of Thailand while the pickup truck winds upward into the jungle, my mind wanders back through my last 30 days. I spent 10+ hours per day in a shala learning, breathing, and sweating yoga. Every single day was a challenge mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Many yoga teachers fondly recall their 200-hour training, sharing how much it changed their life perspective or opened their eyes to the wounds they were ignoring. I would agree that those things happened for me too. Those weeks were filled with intensive moments of clarity and confusion. It almost feels like I went through 5 years worth of personal growth condensed into one month. I was so tired at the end of every single day.
So what helped me push through and keep going? What motivated me to keep showing up to my mat every morning and fervently creating sankrit, anatomy, or chakra flash cards each day? I remembered my why.
It was probably the second or third day of the training that we split into groups to talk about our personal life experiences and why we practice yoga. To listen to the stories of my fellow trainees share why and how yoga has been life changing was one of the most humbling moments of my life. There were tears, hugs, and many realizations that yoga is first and foremost incredibly personal.
My why, at this moment in my life, is about confidence and self-love. I’ve spent years despising the way my body looks and striving to find ways to be more beautiful on the outside. As my physical yoga practice became more consistent, my attachment to self-deprecating thoughts lessened. Basically, I don’t care how big my thighs are because I can land a crow motherf***ing jump back. (I rode that high for a solid three months.)
Every moment I spend on my mat slowly heals the mental wounds of my chronic malicious thoughts. The physical strength I gained from my power vinyasa practice was simply the tip of the iceberg.
Yoga led me to meditation and mindfulness. Self-awareness and reflection took priority over a new diet or exercise challenge. I read books about spirituality and the Law of Attraction. I focused my time and energy on things that made me feel good, so I could be a better version of myself for the people around me. People like to use the term, “fill up your cup.” I learned that self-love is how YOU choose to fill up YOUR cup.
The asana practice of yoga helped me to love my physical body and to be grateful for what it can accomplish in that moment on the mat. My spiritual practice of yoga guides me to explore and improve my understanding of myself, and to be accepting in what I discover. #yogaoffthemat
As I pursue the path of a yoga teacher, my hope is to be a ripple in the ocean of another’s journey to understanding their why. To be an example of how yoga can heal your past and bring confidence, love and acceptance for the future.
If you’re ever in my area, aka Washington DC or Maine, please connect and join me in the hypothetical studio I will be teaching at sometime soon. Stay tuned for an extra tab with my schedule. Until then, speak to yourself as you would to someone you love.
XO + OM