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My experience As a Student – Casey O’Connell

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Casey O'Connell, Guatemala school yoga institute 200 hour teacher training ytt student testimonials

I had found my calling through the necessity of my own self-practice during a confusing time in my life and it has stayed with me since. While embracing the cycles of this muddled world, yoga has grounded me through the ups & downs. As I grow throughout my practice, I am discovering the direction of my purpose. Without a leader, a guru, or a teacher in my presence, yoga has taught me that I serve myself as all of the above. I, and only I, have the power to heal myself. My practice has taught me how to both recognize, as well as, release my repetitive patterns; understanding that I hold the power to create my own reality. The small light of faith I’ve held onto during darker, more confusing moments in my life is what has offered me this truth. To learn, release, and heal the deepest layers of my soul for the benefit of mankind is my destiny. The more often I practice standing in my power and being the change I want to see, I’ve learned that I am holding space for others to do the same. By being this space holder of love and light, I’ve begun to unravel my purpose – to shed light upon others’ darkness and open doors for them to begin their healing process.

This mindset, however, has fluctuated over time. Some days my belief was strong, but others I thought I was crazy. How could I hold the power to heal the world? And how would I do it alone? Often I found myself falling into a pit of self-doubt which completely devoured my motivation to continue. The recurrent experience of uncertainty is what led me to discover the Mystical Yoga Farm at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. I knew I wanted to deepen my practice, but how to do so was the hurdle that was blocking my path. After months of research, I came across SYI and finally found resonance. The depth of the healing process within their trainings, as well as the breath taking scenery of this retreat center, is what drew me into their program. For the first time, I felt heard and validated for. Unknowingly, this leap of faith guided me into the arms of 11 other people who had been on a similar journey – lost, alone, & questioning how to transform their pain into something beneficial for the world. Incentively, my intuition had guided me to the most heavenly landscape imaginable. The energy that resides within that land, those volcanoes, and the purifying water of the lake is a remarkable feature of this location.

21 days of intense shamanic healing integrated into our training was everything I needed to validate the notions of my soul. The shamanic teachings, along with my facilitators, Krystalyn & Josephine, provided a safe space for my vulnerability to flourish. Joining with people from all over the world was a mere perfect display of divine timing. This training allowed me to connect with souls of whom shared my pain, embraced my sorrow, and inspired me to continue on this healing journey. Feelings were exchanged between us within the simplicity of a glance and resonance was often felt within the silences that filled the space between. The compassion that my facilitators displayed for each of us during these sensitive times of transformation was unparalleled. Even in times where I couldn’t find the words to explain what I was healing or feeling, I still felt support & respect from every person around me without judgement.

Our time together opened my eyes to the variety of versions of myself that exist in the world – all working in their own ways, for their own reason, but for the same purpose. This realization helped me understand that life is full of different shapes and colors, but we hold responsibility to weave these distinctions together as the threads of life. This meshing and weaving of contrast reveals an understanding of one another that respects the individual process. Through times of difference or discomfort, we must learn to both offer and hold space for each other; allowing ourselves to see clearer into the souls of one another while using each other’s reflections as ways to plunge deeper within our own being. Embracing integration of characteristics that differ from our own is what ignites the healing process within mankind. And this is exactly what SYI provided for us during our training – guidance and opportunity to unite our differences to generate a greater ability than one man holds alone.

The connections we formed in that jungle have opened so many doors and continue to support, inspire, and motivate me on my yogi journey today. I no longer feel alone when I am by myself. I no longer feel hopeless when I can barely see the light. I no longer want to give up when I feel a lack of motivation. I have gained a much needed sense of independence through the vulnerability of connection I experienced here during my training. I needed these connections to ground my confidence in order to feel comfortable with expressing my purpose. And no matter how lost I may find myself upon the path of figuring out how to do so, the reflections of those beautiful souls I healed with during my training will carry me through. As we enter back into our “normal” lives and search for ways to integrate what we have learned in Guatemala together, the impressions that we have left on each other are all the support we need to carry on alone – because we know now that we are no longer actually alone. We never were. And never will be. So thank you SYI & the Mystical Yoga Farm for providing a space in time for our souls to rekindle the magic within and flourish the hope, faith & love that has carried us this far and will continue to carry us upon this beautiful path for the rest of our lives. Namaste.

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver



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