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Yoga & The Heart

Just back from 16 experiential, sometimes excruciating, days at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where I graduated from an Advanced Professional 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. I’ve been teaching yoga for over ten years and, during that time, I’ve also attended and hosted countless workshops, trainings, and retreats.

So I decided it was time to complete this extensive certification. The entire training was intense: physically, mentally and emotionally. I go to Kripalu to learn, study, and grow. Each and every time I’m at Kripalu, I experience, integrate and absorb an immeasurable amount of hugely valuable information and knowledge.

Kripalu is not only a Center for Learning, but also a Center for Transformation. As I shared in my graduation speech, “I’m like Pavlov’s dog. Ding, I’m at Kripalu: what personal issue or trauma will I work on this time? Bring it on!” There are always many emotional and spiritual rollercoasters while at Kripalu. In the end, it is invariably a nourishing, healing experience.

In order to learn the practices, one not only has to learn the purpose of, intricacies and effects of each practice, one also has to experience and incorporate all of the practices. This often means exploring and coming to terms with some deep-seated emotional issue.

So I was at Kripalu, dealing with the usual baggage of, “I’m not good enough, this is too much, etc.” Out of the blue, a man I was falling in love with decided to pull away. He and I had embarked on the explorations of a relationship shortly before I left for Kripalu and it felt really good and solid, filled with promise, sustenance and joy. In the midst of a taxing physical, emotional and spiritual experience, the rug, which felt so solid under my feet and so nourishing, was yanked out from beneath me.

I was plunged into despair and struggled to keep from being pulled under. It took every one of my practices to help me maintain and carry on in my certification.

In the light of this unexpected heartbreak, I was able to pull myself together, to finish my program, to sail through the final exam of teaching to my peers and to graduate. One of the things which sustained me is a quote from one of my teachers, Jillian Pransky. She says, “If you’re not following your thoughts, you would be amazed at what you can be with.” In other words, if I choose not to believe those thoughts of, “This is too much, I can’t possibly handle this now,” I am able to carry on despite obstacles, despite feeling devastated and intensely sad. It feels empowering to have been able to pull myself through, to not have succumbed to despair.

I’m sure to spend the rest of the summer absorbing and incorporating everything which I have learned on the journey to my certification. I happened to be one of the older people in the program, so it feels particularly good to have been able to keep up with the physical rigors of the program. Of course, the emotional and mental side of the experience was every bit as demanding as the physical side. And I know my heart will heal in time.

Now I need a vacation….

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