One of the ongoing concerns dealt with by our entire class was, “How do we bring our new and deeper understanding of yoga in everyday life?” It took only four days before each of us started silently pondering this issue. Also it took only five days before we began asking one another our thoughts on the matter. During the time at our Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training our lives were, for the most part, structured. We were enveloped in yoga, acceptance, peace, love. We were sheltered from the usual stressors of day to day life, even those minor things like cleaning and fixing meals.
My Teachers on Yoga in Everyday Life
Knowing that we were the “rookies” when it came to this sort of thing, we turned to our teachers. We asked both Liz and Molly, and each of our guest instructors, Ayurveda specialist Dr. Sharon Karayianis, MD and Chuck Miller, E-RYT 500, founder of Yoga Works, what their thoughts were on the issue.
Liz essentially told us that to have yoga in everyday life you just make it work. If “making it work” means you need to get up at 4:00 in the morning to squeeze your practice in, then you do it. If it means leaving your significant other to parent for an hour and a half, then so be it.
Molly took a similar view on yoga in everyday life. Molly had recently become the proud mom to one of the most adorable babies I have ever seen, Reef. A long time yogi, Molly can now be found practicing with a nine-month old sprawled beneath her downward facing dogs. Although your practice may change with the different stages of your life, it should still be there. Additionally, it will still be your practice, regardless of the different shapes it might take.
Chuck and Sherry each expressed similar viewpoints on yoga in everyday life. Initially those around you may not understand, or may try and label the commitment to your practice as “selfish.” However, those who really know you will soon learn that those few hours taken to yourself open your heart and mind. They will see it is allowing you to give so much more than those few hours to everyone else throughout the day.
From YTT to Yoga in Everyday Life
On the final night of training our class celebrated with a beautiful dinner, desserts, and a recap. We shared our best and worst parts of the experience. Our “hi-lo”, or “pits and peaks” as one of my classmates called it, à la the Kardashians. One of my highs during the entire time, was the chance to develop our own personal practices. During our final week of training we were given time to combine all we had learned into a personalized practice. This was to take home and use on our own as we weave yoga in everyday life.
For me it was both completely therapeutic and self-indulgent at the same time. I took what I had learned about my doshas and my chakra imbalances. From there, I combined it with my own knowledge of my personal issues with anxiety. I combined that with my favorite poses, to create a unique “perfect” practice. I developed a routine that incorporated poses designed to awaken the areas of my body shown to correct my imbalances; I chose mudras to stimulate and restore balance to my body and mind during meditation, and I picked corresponding chants and mantras to complement my personal goals. In my case, my mantra read, “I express loving kindness towards myself and others”, therefore, my asana practice, meditation and mudras, were all geared towards achieving this goal and correcting my own unique imbalances.
The ability to create such a uniquely tailored practice was one of the best takeaways from the training. These skills have not only allowed me to create my own practice of yoga in everyday life, but have also given me the ability to help others in creating practices designed specifically for them.
My Personal Journey with Yoga in Everyday Life
In my past life I had dreamed of becoming a clinical psychologist. I did so in order to help others deal with their demons. Years ago, I abandoned this goal believing that there had to be another way. I thought there might even be a better way, to alleviate suffering. I feel so thankful that I have found that alternate way, the middle way. Yoga in everyday life has nourished my body, mind and soul. It has done so in countless ways, and gaining the skills to share this nourishment with others is the greatest high, the greatest gift, that I ever could have hoped to acquire during my training.
To say thank-you to Liz and to Molly for their teaching, their guidance, their leadership, would be like trying to fill the Grand Canyon using only one pail. It would be nearly impossible and a means entirely inadequate for the job. However, since thank-you is all that I have. It’s all that my classmates have. We will say thank you, and take our teachings of yoga in everyday life and share them with others, always knowing that it was the two of you who gave us the confidence to leave our training not as fearful students, but rather as confident and capable yoga teachers both on the mat and when bringing yoga in everyday lives.