I took yoga as a physical education credit in high school. I've taken a few yoga classes at various gyms. I quit halfway through a breathtaking yoga class in Costa Rica. I tried hot yoga once. But yoga found me, for real, about six months ago. Since I've committed to my practice, I've noticed my strength and flexibility improve dramatically. I went from describing yoga as "stressful" to "calming."
The Funky Om is a studio that I stepped in and instantly knew I belonged at. Two particular instructors resonated with me from day one, and when I found out they were hosting a teacher training, I couldn't stop thinking about it. My friend Lauren invited me to sign up with her. I handed in my deposit, and the rest is history in the making.
10/9, 10/10, 10/11
Weekend One. Exhausting. Amazing.
After an hour of asana, twenty-three of us sat in a circle. Glowing. Excited. Anxious. Vulnerable.
We introduced ourselves and got to know our fellow trainees and teachers. An instant connection captured in our first selfie:
Friday: We learned the Gayatri Mantra (a mantra of physical, emotional and mental healing), got advice from last year's graduates ("Take one weekend at a time. Listen and absorb"), received all of our books for these next eight months, and our new mala beads.
Saturday: Claire came in and led Kirtan. SO MUCH FUN. I love the drum especially. Leslie led us through a 10-minute morning meditation that felt like only 2, we learned the meaning of Om: the original sound that created the universe. Spoken by Brahma. Used to initiate a connection in the East. Sacred syllable comparable to 'Amen'. An impersonal connection to the divine, discussed the deities Brahma (creator of the universe), Vishnu (sustainer of the universe) & Shiva (destroyer of the universe), learned about reincarnation & Somsara (the wheel of life), had a killer heated vinyasa with Milard, learned a bit of Sanskrit, were introduced to the eight limbs of yoga, learned how to cue Virabhadrasana 1, Virabhadrasana 2 and Trikonasana, and gave and received amazing Thai massages.
Amalia got into a small car accident, thank goodness she was fine, so I was her chauffeur for Saturday and Sunday. We decided to go to the Riverhead outlets on Saturday night to get some new lululemon attire (because let's face it, we're going to be YOGA TEACHERS) & on our way back we watched a deer get hit by a car. This was heartbreaking for me especially, but Amalia's a social worker and she helped me get through it. I can tell we're going to be great friends already.
Sunday: We chanted with Milard (Govinda Damodara Madhaveti), meditated with our mala beads, had an amazing heated vinyasa with Leslie, learned about the Bhagaved Gita: a sacred text comparable to the bible with stories about how to be a yogi and the Maha Bahart: the great story of India & largest book ever written, learned about the importance of assisting in your yoga class and how it can change people's lives, learned how to assist in many standing postures & practiced with Virhabhadrasana 1, Virabhadrasana 2 and Trikonasana, and gave and received life-changing Thai massages:
I was a bit reserved when we learned how to assist. You really have to get close to your students and make sure you are properly touching them. I was nervous I was going to hurt my fellow trainees, especially in the assist we learned for Trikonasana, where you balance on one leg and use your other to push into their upper thigh and straighten their leg while pulling their tricep and forearm towards you to create length in the upper body. But I know it's only the first weekend, and I will get more comfortable each time I practice.
We are all getting really close as a group. It's amazing to see, and it's only the beginning. Everyone is extremely giving and friendly. Harry was giving Kim acupuncture during our lunch break, Lauren brought Sandy home to shower, and we are all having withdrawals from this weekend! I just know we will all be lifelong friends. In eight months we will all become registered yoga teachers.
5/3, 5/14, 5/15
Weekend eight. Exhausting. Amazing.
Friday: Leslie led us through a basic class. We learned about chair yoga. We wrote advice cards for last year's graduates. We talked about the business of yoga, because in 48 short hours, we will all become registered yoga teachers. Where did the time go.
Saturday: We chanted Radha Rani. We talked more business. We sweat our asana off with Milard. We giggled. We took our last Sanskrit quiz. We taught our last basic sequence and got our last critiques. We talked about private yoga clients, because in 24 short hours, we will all become registered yoga teachers. Where did the time go.
Sunday: We chanted. We danced. We partied. We cried. Gina was the first trainee to lead us through a chant. I could not hold back my tears. Then Amalia. Then Amanda. Then Caroline. We huddled. Jonathan held my toe. We had our last heated vinyasa class with Leslie as YTTs. So many tears. So much love. We shared our gratitude with our teachers. We partied at Stacy's. We became registered yoga teachers.
These eight months have been absolutely transforming. They have been stressful, beautiful, eye-opening, heart-opening, and absolutely transforming. Each and every one of us has learned so much about ourselves and each other. We have learned so much about this beautiful practice on and off the mat. When I started this training, I had no idea. No idea how much passion I would find in this practice. No idea how I would love teaching yoga more than I love teaching boot camp. No idea that those vulnerable souls that I sat with on night one would become my best friends. I love you all. So much.