HYTT BinderOn April 7th, 2013 I graduated from the Rama Lotus Hatha Yoga Teacher Training. We were the class of Oct. 2012- April 2013 and proud of our accomplishment. The graduates celebrated 6 months of hard work. There was also a sadness to that last day because everyone would miss the community of friends they had formed. Meeting every 2 weekends for the last 6 months was a growing experience and we had done it together.

The very first weekend of the course started with 43 students and 3 teachers sitting in a circle. We each took a turn voicing our reasons for being there. Every person in the circle had their own reasons for committing 6 months to yoga school. Some wanted to teach and others wanted to learn and grow. The thread that we all shared was our passion for yoga and how yoga had changed us in some way.

Yoga school was more than getting an instructors certificate. It was a course in how to live a happy, healthy, sustainable life. The curriculum taught the physical aspects of yoga like: anatomy, asanas (postures), pranayama (breath), injury prevention, meditation, the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali and more. These teachings coupled with the sharing of our teachers individual experiences and knowledge gave us a set of tools for us to use in our everyday lives.

In North America we know yoga as postures to help us stay flexible and healthy. Although this is true, yoga postures is only one layer of the many layers of this ancient practice. The peelings of these layers can help us grow in all aspects of who we are: physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is exactly what we learned in our 200 hour training. Through our practice, reading, writing and sharing we unveiled the essence of what yoga truly is. As we experienced our weekends in the classroom we spent our week days committing to practicing what we learned. We brought our yoga off the mat and set forth bringing positive changes to ourselves and to the world around us. On our return back to the classroom we shared stories of discovering new parts of ourselves, stories of a better understanding of the people in our lives and our community. We started shedding the layers that hid our true selves. Throughout the weeks we built a community of support. We shared, we laughed, and yes we cried.

On that last weekend of yoga school, it felt unanimous. Everyone expressed how the program had changed them in very profound ways. We started the course sitting in a circle and we ended sitting in a circle, sharing our experience of learning everything-yoga. The words ‘transformative’ and ‘empowering’ were used many times. People felt inspired to create positive change at their work, in their homes, in their community and of course in themselves. Throughout the course we had built a community of support and a safety net for internal growth. A community in which we felt safe and free from judgment and received only compassion and understanding. I can only imagine what the world would be like if we were to deliver this kind of knowledge to the majority of the population.

I am so glad I listened to the whisperings I had about taking this teacher training program. It was one of the most valuable decisions I’ve ever made.

Annie Boudreau