Yesterday after a week of meditation and breathing practices, along with an extended silence, I graduated with my 500 Hr Yoga Teacher certification. Although I have completed many certifications and degrees, this was by far the most challenging. It was not the most time consuming or the most intellectually challenging, nor was it the most labor intensive or assignment heavy. The certification was difficult because it was emotionally and mentally rigorous. After completing the certification (five years after beginning) and giving my graduation speech yesterday, I do not believe that one can complete this training without an extensive amount of internal investigation and evaluation.
Throughout my 500 Hr certification, I was never the yogi in the group that had the best asana (posture) practice. In fact, there were many times I glanced around the room and noticed that my posture practice was significantly lacking in flexibility and strength compared to my classmates. There were many moments I wished that I was waif thin so I could bend myself into the pretzel I witnessed throughout the classrooms. There were other moments where I yearned for stronger arms and legs to hold the postures longer than others. But as I looked around the rooms, I was confidant that I compared sufficiently in emotional assessment ability, insight, intuition, dedication, motivation, compassion, and acceptance, all of which are just as important in the practice of living a yogic lifestyle as physical flexibility and strength.
As graduation approached I realized how deeply I had committed to this path of learning to be aware, how much time and energy I had invested in practicing loving kindness toward others, and how greatly I have desired to learn to still the mind. It has been a long and difficult journey, but I have met countless loving and brave people along the way, many of which I still stay in touch with as they have become my Sangha. I am deeply proud of the Kripalu lineage, I am humbled by the wisdom and instruction provided by my teachers, and I am eternally in debt for the amount I have learned about myself throughout the process.
Yoga is undoubtedly a very powerful tool toward becoming more of the person we desire to be. It has changed my life, consistently adding gifts and blessings and yoga has made me consistently reach to be a more compassionate, loving person.
I am grateful for my yoga practice and humbled by the people I have had the opportunity to connect with through yoga. I am blessed to have received the certification and I fully intend to yogically give back as I know that is my responsibility and privilege.