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Another Yoga Training Graduation

This weekend, I graduated a new class of yoga teacher trainees. It is always a poignant and sweet thing to send these lovely people off into the world to share their yoga with others. I get this incredible feeling of bittersweet joy each time I complete a program, and an overwhelming sense that my work is important. I do all I can to give my students the most comprehensive and inspirational yoga training experience possible because through these people my yoga stretches way beyond the boundaries of what I can do in my studio in my little corner of the world. I help each student embrace yoga for themselves, but I also know there is a ripple effect, and I in turn impact the lives of many others as my protege’s heal and learn to heal others through yoga. There is something truly special about being a mentor and a part of another person’s growth.


I lifted this picture from someone’s facebook page. Not everyone is in it, but it shows the kind of students who participate. (and reveals my nifty yoga training shirt they get with their names of their “yoga tribe” blazed across the back. ) The girl in the scarf. Melina Economis, is my assistant, and a finer yogi you’ll never meet. She is a serious buddhist, a strong yogi, and she also has a wicked sense of humor, which is probably why we can spend so much time together and actually smile when others would be grumbling. Boy do I look like I need a nap.. and some makeup and a savvier sweater! Eeesh.

Anyway, I always try to make the ceremony feel important to impress upon the family members who attend the graduation that it is a significant milestone to complete yoga training – a turning point in a person’s life. It certainly was for me. Perhaps all yoga training programs are not so personal or transformational, but I honestly feel my approach to understanding “big yoga” beyond the mat, is altering, if not for all, than certainly for some.

David helps me make every graduation special by producing a slide show for each group which we play on a big projector on the wall of the studio. It is always remarkable seeing this culmination of their journey, because the presentation displays the individual personalities of the students and the variety of experiences in this program.  The students don’t just learn posture focus and philosophy, but they get Reiki trained, aerial yoga certified, I take them on an outdoor retreat, learn journaling and/or zentangle, do chakra presentations, walk a meditative labyrinth, get smudged, and all kinds of yoga related studies. The students form remarkable friendships, gain personal insight, and grow as individuals. If you haven’t seen one of the yoga training slideshows, you really must check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQfVgr5x_1I&feature=youtu.be

I am always harried and rushing to keep up on all the things we do at the studio, but I pause on this day set up the studio like a theater, serve cake, refreshments and wine, and in addition to a beautiful certificate I find a quote for each student that speaks of their unique special qualities or gifts. I talk about each one, and we do this silly symbolic thing of jumping a yoga mat to get to the other side – the side where they are now authentic teachers ready to take on the world.   We end the ceremony doing our last group circle – a tradition in my program. We join hands and each say one word that defines how we are feeling in the moment. The words are often funny, poignant or powerful. My word tends to teeter on the same thing each time. “Pride.”
 I suppose it all sounds corny, but each graduation is memorable for me. I am so fortunate to connect to so many creative, open-minded souls during the course of my work.

This weekend session is finally over, but  I am still working with yoga trainees in a day program and another program meets two evenings a week for 3 1/2 hours each night. On the 18th I’m staring a yoga training intensive  where I will teach 9-5 every day for 4 weeks (Mon through Friday) and while teaching this course I’ll still keep at my full schedule of dance classes and trainings in the week. It’s a crazy overload, but students keep signing up, and I add programs to attend to the need. Everyone of these programs will end by June when my recital is, and then I get a break.  After two weeks off, I’ll begin my summer yoga training program, but that’s all I’ll do this summer other than one dance training course in July . I have to keep my time relatively free because I may move my business – time will tell if I can work  out an opportunity to grow or change venues this season when my lease is up. I’m working on creative possibilities….. new ideas….. and new projects are always exciting.

Until then, now have undays off for 8 weeks or so so I can spend some time kyaking and walking the beach. Yippee!!!!!!!! Boy do I need the down time and a chance to get away from the studio. I would hate working so much if I didn’t absolutely love my work and the people I spend so much time with. If you must be busy, yoga is the thing to be busy with. But I miss nature and quiet and being alone too.

Anyway, another group moves on. I will miss them. but I send them off with a smile and hope for their journey to continue. I wish them every sucess in yoga, in life, and in their continued understanding of the world and their place in it. 
 
I am so humbled that I’ve been an important part of their yoga journey. I wonder if they understand that they too are a part of mine? To teach is to learn. I have learned a lot from my students.  About myself. Yoga. And life in all its complexity, richness, and never ending challenges. One thing is for sure. We are not alone. We are all connected. As they say, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  Believing that puts life into a while new perspective – at least for me!  
   

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

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