It’s hard to put into words how much YTT changed my life. Through the training, I learned poses, proper alignment, how to use visual language to direct another person’s body, how to use guiding touch, and about the history and purpose of yoga. But all of that, however important, pales in comparison to the greatest lessons I learned. For the first time in my life, I learned how to be fully myself.
Before YTT, I felt like I was doing all the things I was supposed to in life, but something always felt like it was missing. There was an underlying uneasiness that said I wasn’t living the life I was supposed to be living. I felt off track and like I might scream at the top of my lungs at any second if that could just shake up my day and change my course. But I couldn’t figure out what my problem was and where I was going so wrong.
I had moments of clarity in my own home yoga practice, which was sporadic and relied on YouTube videos. The call was there in my heart to pursue yoga more, though, and I felt a pull to become a teacher. So, when YTT began, I expected to learn all about yoga so that I could teach. I didn’t expect to learn about me. I didn’t expect to learn all the ways I had sabotaged myself in the past, all the ways I had been unloving towards myself, and all the ways I was blocking my own blessings. I didn’t expect to walk into a room and have a mirror placed directly in front of me where I could no longer hide from the realities of my own life.
One of the biggest realities I had to face up to were the walls in my heart that I had constructed. Before YTT, I thought walls were what made someone strong. I thought if someone’s walls were high enough that someone else could never hurt them, then that was the strongest person of all. I could not have been more wrong. YTT has a way of tearing walls down, and as I saw my own begin to topple one by one, I began to notice that a little more light came in where each wall once stood. I learned that those walls I had built to protect myself did a lot more than keep other people out. They also served to keep me trapped within. I wanted so badly to connect with others, and YTT taught me that connection with others is not possible through walls. It taught me that if I really want to see the light in another person, I had to be willing to let them see my own.
In YTT, I learned how to be vulnerable, I learned how to openly cry and grieve, and I learned how to see and be seen. I learned that, not only is vulnerability beautiful, but it takes strength I never knew I had. Some days, I felt like I might literally fall apart, but still I lowered the walls, each time allowing more light to come in. Perhaps my “what I’ve learned” is on the esoteric side. But that’s really the heart of my experience. The practical matters have helped me immensely as I’ve begun my journey instructing others, but it’s the personal ones that meant the most. It’s the skills that taught me how to be authentic, how to live my truth, and how to love and be loved for the first time in my life. They’re the priceless things that can’t be learned from a book and can’t be faked, and I think they’re the true skills that are going to make me a great teacher.