18 Things I Learned about Life During Yoga Teacher Training

My 200 hour yoga teacher training is over. This is bittersweet– I’m burned out on yoga, because I often practiced for up to five consecutive hours each day during this training. But I was also incredibly energized by all the learning, growth and physical activity that happened during my program, so I’m sad it’s over.

The biggest thing I learned is that yoga is about so much more than poses.

Yoga literally means “to yolk” or to connect your mind to your body. There are eight limbs of traditional yoga and asana (the poses) only make up one limb! I feel like I’ve only touched a tiny corner of what the yoga world is made of, and I can’t wait to learn more (and to share all I’ve learned with my future students).

Many of you have asked, so here are some of the (very many) things I learned about life during this training:

  1. Being vulnerable with people is THE thing of life. Saying hard things, spending time in the places of your life where you don’t feel balanced, and asking for tough conversations is rewarding beyond belief.
  2. Being fire-y and type A is a gift, not a flaw.
  3. Perfectionism — trying to do everything right, all the time — is armor. It only blocks us off from other people, from ourselves, and from a life of ease.
  4. Failing doesn’t mean we’re not enough. It just means we get to try again.
  5. When you respond to something differently for the first time in a long time, you’ve changed.
  6. Nothing anyone else says or does is about me.
  7. Food affects my body directly and presently. When I listen to my body and eat food that makes my stomach feel good, I feel more mentally stable.
  8. Play. Sing. Dance. Laugh. Kids laugh 150 times per day, adults only laugh 5 times per day. We don’t need more corporate workers — we need people who are alive and playful!
  9. Remember how much our bodies like to move.
  10. Paying attention is the most radical and basic form of love.
  11. Remember meditation — taking a moment to pause can change your whole day.
  12. Listen to your body. It will tell you when its anxious, passionate, angry, stressed out, exhausted.
  13. Daily routines are the way you change your life.
  14. Karma is not revenge. Karma is the small, intentional steps we make toward our dharma, or greatest purpose. The universe doesn’t give us our destiny, we make it!
  15. A physical yoga practice is designed to replicate a lifespan: you start in child’s pose, roll around on the floor, move through the practice in waves, culminate at a peak, then come back down to your mat for savasana (corpse pose) in which you are literally meant to practice death, leaving everything behind you on your mat. After savasana, you come into fetal position on your right side (which is how most babies are positioned in utero) and you are “reborn.” How cool is that?
  16. When you love people, tell them.
  17. Between stimulus and response, there is always a moment to pause. This is where we get our power, and where we can change habits and old stories.
  18. All yoga is good yoga. Vinyasa and kundalini and hatha and yin and restorative and acro and partner.

ॐ (Om) to all of you!

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