Taylor Marshall – Peru 2019

taylor's review of SYI's 200 hour yoga alliance approved ytt teacher training with shamanism and rituals in sacred valley, Peru

To begin, in 2015 I entered my four years at Utica College. I’ve always been curious about yoga but grew up in a small town where yoga wasn’t very known. As I was picking out my classes I noticed they offered a yoga class for a gym credit, so I signed up right away. During my first semester of taking yoga, I ended up having a good connection with my instructor Sarah and continued having her.

I originally began college pursuing nursing. The first semester began my junior year in the fall. When this semester in the nursing program ended, I realized I didn’t love what I was doing. I was at a loss and had to find a new path for my future. That winter break and following spring I fell off track with yoga and my health. I knew there was one other option I wanted for my future- nutrition. As if fate heard my calling, my college opened a registered dietician program for the fall semester. All my core classes transferred in and I was starting my new journey.

Coming into the fall, I had a fresh start to my career. I was flourishing in my classes, and my happiness was restored. I began practicing more seriously again, but wanted to further my practice. My instructor Sarah who I’ve known for three years at this point messaged me one day asking if I wanted to get my yoga certification through the School of Yoga institute in Peru! I said yes, I would love too! I struggle with anxiety, depression and mood-swings; coping for the past three years in unhealthy addictions in college any time I entered a sad mind state. I hit my rock bottom, my lowest of lows, and knew I needed to save myself before I kept getting pulled into the darkness of addiction.

Yoga and meditation helped me to relieve my stress, anger and regain my healthy mentality. I knew if I could help heal myself, I could become an instructor and help others find a healthy life style change. This is the future I wanted and I wasn’t making excuses any longer. When Sarah told me about SYI, I researched it and loved it. I could’ve paid the same amount of money to do a yoga program in Utica, or I could go to another country to a program that offered way more. I wanted to be surrounded by mountains, learn about the medicine wheel and Peruvian shamanism. The food was included, I could choose to live in a Tipi, and be in a retreat center away from society. Other programs where I am from meet once a month for a weekend over a course of 6 months typically. I wanted to be in a place surrounded by like-minded people every day.

From this training, I wanted to to find myself again. I needed to learn more sequences and poses. The anatomy intrigued me since I love science and wanted to be able to learn what’s truly happening to each muscle in my body while in a pose. As well as making deeper connections with the people I was going to be with, along with surrounding myself with others who were after the same goal.

Peru’s training gifted me with more than I ever anticipated. Not only was I surrounded by like-minded individuals, these individuals became my family. Krystalyn had us do a lot of process work to focus on our inner problems that brought us into yoga. I wasn’t expecting any kind of therapy/process work but I realized I needed it more than I knew I did. She also showed us her henna and gave a few of us our own unique henna tattoo. Ganapati gifted us with shamanism knowledge, musical instruments, ceremonies, coca leaf offerings, kirtan ceremonies with cacao, etc. Both instructors left us with knowledge that included how to cleanse, mantras, circle songs, cacao, Sanskrit, different yoga class experiences, feedback on our teaching skills, constant support, and took us to new places on our off days. One of the places I traveled to with Ganapati, Krystalyn and Cameron was to these hot springs that were two hours away in the mountains. I learned the importance of silence, which we had hours or days of often. This time to reflect within your own mind is important and brought me back to using my journal every day. We had a shaman come in to bless us with a ceremony, as well as bless some of our personal items. Isa introduced massage therapy to us all that we practiced on one another so we could learn how to apply the correct amount of pressure. They all gave us more than I ever imagine through this yoga training.

I plan to incorporate more process work so I can continue to work on myself and become okay with being vulnerable. I aspire to get stronger, workout more, and do yoga every single day. I will continue to use the Peruvian medicine wheel in my daily practice because the belief behind it helped me appreciate everything within nature. My 5-year plan is to have my own studio and work with clients to create meal plans. All that I have learned has helped me prepare for my future of being a yoga instructor.

I want to connect with others in a deeper way; I want to connect with humans beyond just saying hello. No judgement allowed at all, we are all equal. I want to empower people with my story so they can see that it is possible to get better. It doesn’t mean getting better has a set time limit, it means that it takes time. I want to heal so I can be there for others to heal every step of the way and share with them techniques that have helped me.

I did my training in Peru at Sacha Munay. My favorite part about this location was being surrounded by the mountains.

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