Yoga Student Testimonial – Diana
My experience as a Costa Rica Yoga Teacher Training Student
Words don’t often come easily to me. I live the majority of my life in my head – an omnipresent dialogue of conversations never had, should haves, could haves, what ifs, muddled thoughts, feelings and insecurities swirling endlessly. As a late teen moving into adulthood, it all became too much to manage alongside the demands of paying rent, keeping up with my coursework and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.
My mental health declined as a result, sending me into countless therapists’ offices, on and off medications to control my mood and calm the incessant thoughts. It all came to a head after a traumatic event occurred within my family. I decided to seek help with a holistic therapist this time because I knew medication wasn’t my answer. One of her first suggestions was to start going to yoga classes and I’ve used yoga as a means to move out of my head and into my body ever since.
The freedom I was able to experience through this ancient practice afforded me something I hadn’t felt since I was child – peace. Thus began my journey to the yogic path, culminating in my 200-hour YTT in Costa Rica this summer through SYI.
After 10+ years of practicing yoga the thought of diving deeper into it and learning the philosophy and teachings behind the asanas become a recurring loop. After an abrupt shift in my life in July 2020 I knew it was time – time to dig deeper into myself, into my practice, and into what the universe had been leading me towards since I was 19. I knew I could have gotten my certification literally in my backyard, but I also knew the competing priorities of life would have impeded on my ability to really absorb and integrate all that a YTT had to offer. An immersive program was the only option for what I had hoped to get out of it. Enter a Google search and School Yoga Institute and I was off to the races.
I signed up for the July 2021 Costa Rica 200-hour YTT at Indigo Yoga Resort. I knew the experience would break me out of my daily habits, patterns and comfort zone and it terrified me, but also brought excitement and vitality that I don’t remember ever feeling prior. The experience was exactly what I had anticipated and prepared myself for. I lived like a yogi for 21 days – not every day was easy, but every day was worth it. The knowledge, tools to live an embodied life, and daily practices transformed me. I’m just over two weeks post-trip, and still processing the many lessons and figuring out how to integrate it all but I can say without a doubt, I have changed. I have more gratitude for life, I’m in awe of my body and my mind. I can hear my body now; I can weave through the webs in my mind to access what I need in certain moments. I have fought a war against my body and mind my entire life and now I have this keen attunement to them, we work in concert with my breath and soul. This experience has made me a believer in the phrase – movement heals.
I know I’ve learned so much more than movement. I’ve made connections within myself and with others that I didn’t think were possible for me because of how deep within my mind I live. I was able to crack something open to let the light of others and the light of myself in. It’s been a bit of an abrupt shift back to reality so these epiphanies and these moments of awareness of what I’ve gained are still coming to me and I wish I could articulate everything right now to share it with the world, it’s all still coming, though.
While I haven’t fully figured out what my next step in this journey is I can say that I feel more than confident and prepared to share this knowledge and the beautiful practice of yoga with others. I look forward to seeing how that manifests in my life and how I’m called to do that. I would love to share this gift with others like me, beyond just the asanas. My favorite part of the training was peer teaching solely for the intention that we were able to set for our practices. I spent more time on the intention and weaving that into the full practice – certain quotes or things to bring awareness to during specific poses – than I did trying to memorize the flow. I knew the flow would come to me in the moment, I wanted to be sure to leave my students with inspiration, confidence and a feeling of support and love for whatever it was that brought them to the mat that day. There’s a widely used quote from Jigar Gor that reads, “Yoga isn’t about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down.” I didn’t fully comprehend this saying until this year and now I’m fully committed to bringing others to this comprehension. SYI and my experience in Costa Rica had a big part in me fully understanding this lesson.
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