That was the first lesson this training taught me - be less judgmental. There’s no certain way a yoga teacher should act, look, talk or feel; yoga is available to everyone. Each student came with his or her own background, culture, questions, ideas and experiences surrounding yoga. We had Germans, Americans, Austrians, Asians and Israelis. Together, we joined as strangers only to leave as friends a short time later.
We laughed together. We cried together. We dove in the ocean to wash away the tears and fears. We chanted (even when I didn’t think I was a chanter). We danced in the rain. We celebrated. We sang. I was surrounded by like-minded people who made me come alive and lifted me up. They embraced me as I was, creating a safe haven to be authentically me.
While intensive, the program was extremely informative. I arrived thinking I knew all there was to know about yoga. Sure, there were poses I’d never be able to access, but I understood the physical, mental and spiritual side of yoga, right? I quickly, and humbly, discovered I didn’t know all I thought I knew - my second lesson!
Yoga is physically tough when you work on the correct alignment and engaging the appropriate muscles. I was amazed by the amount of strength I gained in such short time by doing what I once considered “simple” poses. They weren’t simple; I was just being lazy! That’s what I love most about the YogaWorks method - learning the anatomy to help me engage the appropriate muscles to access the pose and prevent injury.
Our trainers were extremely knowledgeable about yoga history and philosophy, anatomy, teaching methods and the journey to self discovery. They knew just when to push us and when to bridle back. As students, we listened. We learned. We practiced. We studied. We repeated! We lived and breathed yoga, anatomy, sutras and Sanskrit. It became our lifeblood. Along the way, we made breakthroughs and self discoveries as we went inward on our yogic path.
And for my third lesson, I quickly realized that in judging others, as I did at the airport, I was really judging myself. Through the YogaWorks Teacher Training, I learned to show myself a little more compassion. In doing so, I will be able to show the same compassion to my students, friends, family and even strangers at the airport. I walked away with a deepened appreciation for yoga (especially my practice), a love for myself, and lifelong friends.
I’m so grateful I chose to do the immersive program. It gave me the opportunity to disconnect from the world - my fourth and final lesson. I need to hit pause every once in a while. To reflect on where I am in life and where I truly want to go without the distractions of friends, family, works, etc. to influence my choices. I was able to ask myself tough questions and listen for answers. Most importantly, the destination training gave me the chance to reconnect with myself.
The entire YogaWorks Teacher Training was extremely transformational. At times it felt like we just got there. Other times it felt like I’d been at the retreat center and teaching yoga my whole life. Choosing YogaWorks, especially an immersive, destination training, was one of my best decisions to date!
About the Author:
After 13 years in corporate and nonprofit event planning, Mandi Briggs founded Adventures In Bloom where she helps yoga instructors plan retreats by getting clear on their vision, finding creative ways to share their passion, navigating logistics, and leaving guests feeling inspired. When she isn’t planning retreats, she is teaching vinyasa and yin yoga in Oklahoma City.
Mandi Briggs attended and graduated from our Paros, Greece Destination Teacher Training in October 2017.
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