Yesterday, the other members of my yoga teacher training and I came to the end of a cycle. We completed our 300 hour, professional teacher training program. The past six months have been a splendid, steady road to learning, a place for establishing new friendships, and a warm, open circle for healing. Here are 20 things I have learned from the past six months from my mentor, other Yoga Works instructors and my yoga kula:
1. Relax, it's just yoga.
2. The shape of the post makes it pretty; the actions of the pose make it safe.
3. Don't be a sensation junkie; stretch slowly and mindfully.
4. If a student's cell phone rings in class, don't make that person feel bad. Instead, have them bring chocolate for the next class.
5. Throw out 99% of what you've learned about yoga and meditation -- you're not part of an ashram with 300 coming-of-age boys.
6. Never say "never ever" while teaching.
7. When teaching, don't ask students to "think about" an action. Have them "DO" it!
8. Life will be hard until you're in your dharma. It might still feel hard then, but any pain will be sweet and fleeting.
9. It's okay for me to cry. Someone in my kula would always cry with me, or hold space for me to have that process.
10. It's okay to grieve over an injury. As a wise yogi told me, life is like a web. When one thing is lost, the other attachments must also be mourned. Then we must create new meaningful attachments that support our Self as we grow and change.
11. If you do nothing else, pacify your vata.
12. Yogis love zucchini.
13. A 1 1/2 inch wooden rod is useful for a myriad of purposes. Some of them painful.
14. Don't eat soup during teacher training if the instructor is hungry and recovering from a cold. She'll stare at you with desire.
15. Men can practice pre-natal yoga with a balloon up their shirt just as well as the girls.
16. A practice of pure asana will only increase your tendencies.
17. Don't do asana to make yourself more attractive. Do it to make yourself more available to your spirit.
18. We do so much during our asana practice. Pay attention to what you can undo.
19. I will always have a home at Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla.
20. The path to healing is long, but it is made easier by being surrounded by friends willing to hold space and compassion for the process.
Thanks to everyone on this completed journey. Although it is the end of one cycle, it is also the beginning of a new cycle. May our new journeys be safe, and filled with love, compassion and gratitude for ourselves, those around us, and the planet that supports us.