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This spring, I completed my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in the Sacred Valley of Peru with School Yoga Institute. This experience was a cumulative manifestation of mine for many years, and finding SYI and the Peru program was no coincidence. The people, the place, and the theme of our program was divinely led and I was blessed to be surrounded by 11 incredible women, from whom I learned some of the most valuable lessons in my life thus far.
From the moment I arrived at Munay Sonqo, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Any fears or doubts about my decision to pursue my YTT melted away with every step I took around this magical place and every person I met. The property is located in the small town of Arin in Calca, Peru, surrounded by ancient mountains and a captivating waterfall. Words fail to describe what can only be a sort of supernatural beauty, one that transcends this physical world and merges with a spiritual one.
Every flower, plant, and sun-soaked tree beamed with life. This palpable aliveness held our sacred space, each and every one of us always able to come back to a present moment filled with pure light and love. When days were long or challenging, being able to ground myself in this mountain magic was something I never even considered a necessity when choosing my YTT. Looking back, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to complete this chapter of my life without such a space as this.
My yoga education with School Yoga Institute was incredibly well-rounded and blew every expectation I had away. Whether it was the textbook lessons or the ones that arose from within, our group was constantly immersed in thought-provoking conversations. Some of my favorite discussions held were the stories of ancient deities, lessons on the chakras, and incredibly rich deep-dives into the human experience’s existence.
Every lesson was entwined with real-life application and personal reflection. I was so happy to experience a learning environment that wasn’t solely textbook knowledge all of the time. This program really caters to all learning types and keeps education interesting and fresh. The knowledge and passion of my fellow peers and instructors really set the tone for my teachings and allowed me to go beyond anything I’ve known within my spiritual practices. I believe it is a rare gift to find so many talented individuals wok each bring something unique and new to a learning environment. SYI harnesses this environment for a truly unparalleled scholastic experience.
Beyond the everyday teachings and more classroom-esque lessons, our group got to experience some once-in a-lifetime excursions including a temazcal ceremony, Peruvian despacho ceremony, and a live Kirtan night in Pisac. Our temazcal sweat lodge ceremony was a beautiful space centered in shedding what no longer served us. We released the fears and doubts stuck within our physical body to make way for the incredible transformation ahead. This night was an incredible treat filled with music, vulnerability, and sisterhood.
We had the immense pleasure of being visited by a local shaman, Don Augustine, who held a sacred despacho ceremony. This ancient shamanic tradition is used to bring health and wellness, the shaman using their divine connection to heal and protect. This was incredibly humbling and I felt an immediate connection to what we were learning about and the land we were so graciously given the chance to study in.
Finally, and perhaps my favorite experience of the entire program, was our Kirtan night at Sacred Sushi in Pisac. In Pisac, there exists a beautiful spiritual community of people from all walks of life who have been called to the Sacred Valley.
Our group had the opportunity to come to one of their weekly Kirtan sessions, set in a beautiful courtyard nestled under the Pisac mountains. In those 2 and a half hours, I was opened to a whole new realm of spirituality I had never been exposed to.
Surrounded by love and pure intuition, I listened to and participated in beautiful, light- your-soul-on-fire chanting and songs. Now, I know this may be sounding a little out there, but this experience was one that transformed my understanding of community.
Growing up without much religious attachment or strong communal ties, I have never appreciated what it means to have a spiritual experience outside of yourself. Our kirtan night showed me how important it is to find a community to share your path with. One of my favorite moments of the night was closing my eyes and just listening. Listening to the vibration of the music, listening to the way my body responded, and listening to my incredible sisters sing through their souls. This night bonded us in a way I will never forget! This is the power of yoga.
Coming into this training, I understood there would be more than just learning poses and becoming a certified teacher. I did not, however, understand the lengths to which I would learn about myself and the world around me. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I was constantly taken aback by the depth of this training and the beautiful surprises within.
School Yoga Institute has provided me with lifelong friendships and lessons I will cherish forever. The opportunities we had were some of the most transformational times of my life, all because of the door SYI and its incredible team keep open for soul-seekers like myself.
In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said that, “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” Thank you for the journey, and the opportunity to find myself. Shanti, shanti, shanti!
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“TELL ME, WHAT IS IT YOU PLAN TO DO WITH YOUR
ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE?”
- Mary Oliver