Mental Health, Yoga

Week 6: Yoga Teacher Training Reflection

“You’re exactly where you need to be,” we’re told time and time again throughout our eight-week teacher training, but those seven words didn’t truly resonate with me until our Chakra lecture in Week Six.

I was not about the Chakras when we first started talking about them. Usually, I open myself willingly to other people’s passions and perspectives. I believe I can learn something from everyone, whether good or bad.

Up until this point, I’d been soaking up all the ju-ju that comes along with yoga teacher training, but once the lecturer started talking about energy channels and being out of balance, I thought that was where I’d draw the line. The only time I’d heard the chakras mentioned in yoga class before now was during a class where the theme was “opening our heart chakras.” We focused on chest-opening poses like fish, wild thing, and camel. The instructor told us opening our heart chakra could surface a lot of emotions and maybe even some tears.

I didn’t feel anything of the sort though. My heart’s already open enough, I thought.

What got me too was the lecturer saying that someone who is stuck and rigid in the first chakra (root) needs to flow, while someone who isn’t grounded needs to “ground down.” An anxious person needs standing postures or child’s pose in order to ground down, she said. I argued the opposite, though–as a terribly anxious human being–I still prefer flow over stillness.

But then she said without interference, Samskara (our habits) keep showing up. I have this habit of letting my mind wander off the mat and out the room when I’m in a posture that’s supposed to ground me, such as Tadasana (mountain.) When I’m flowing–inhale lift your right leg high; exhale, low lunge; inhale, Warrior 2–I’m thinking only about breath to movement connection. I don’t have the time to worry about what’s bothering me off the mat when I’m doing that.

Which is probably why I have a hard time sitting down to meditate or turn off my train of thoughts (it feels like I have an actual “thought” train in my brain, blowing full steam ahead at all times) when I’m supposed to be “letting it all go” in let’s say Savasana. Actually, I don’t know how to turn my mind off. Ever. Not even when I sleep!

So maybe I do need to ground down more.

My challenge to myself as I continue to grow in my practice and as a (soon to be) certified yoga teacher, I want to hold space with myself so I can, in turn, hold space with my students. I need to accept what is happening to me in the present moment, acknowledge it, let it be, and then let it go. Am I making any sense? (I know Casey is reading this and I know he’s getting it at least.)

I’ll share one last takeaway with you before I go. We talked about a common narrative many of us share with ourselves, particularly women: “Once I [insert action here], then I’ll accept who I am.” For example, “Once I lose weight, then I’ll accept who I am.” But what we should be doing is loving ourselves just as we are right now.

If you’re interested in tapping into your own Chakras, here’s an exercise the instructor shared with us that she practices with her young daughter: when you’re feeling an emotion, ask yourself these questions to identify what and where it is: Where in your body are you feeling the emotion? What color is it? Is it hot? How heavy is it?

And I made a little guide to breakdown all seven Chakras. Each one has a name, an element, a mantra, and a talent and a shadow.

Screenshot 2019-04-15 at 4.59.29 PM
20190413_1304267663425318788594669.jpgLearning that I don’t need the fullest expression of a pose to receive all the benefits. 

If you have any questions or want to talk more about chakras, leave a comment below. By no means am I an expert, or a “chakra-ologist”, though. Learning as I go, like we all are in this funny little thing we call life. :)

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