Back to SF: Courage & Grace Advanced Teacher Training Preview

me at LLSF three summers ago

me at LLSF three summers ago; photo cred to hannah cressy

Laughing Lotus San Francisco was my safe haven during a very intense summer (my first summer not living at home in NYC or with a specific led program). With a sublet that was inconveniently out of the city, this space truly did become my hOMe away from home. I am simply elated to return there next week (less than a week, actually, Oh My Goddess) for an advanced teacher training with Keith and Jasmine. This training feels like a dream come true and like the perfect transition to adult life in PDX. Time to nourish that spirit before entering a year of AmeriCorps service!

You can be sure that I will blog the sh*** out of this training, but in the meantime, I wanted to provide some meaningful answers to the application questions on this blog.

What inspires you to immerse yourself in this training at this time?

I want to immerse myself in my practice at this time because I am at a crossroads, a transition point. A week ago today, I graduated college where I was the most experienced yoga teacher in a sea of undergraduates (and keep in mind I had only three years of teaching experience). Now, out of college and seeking to continue to pursue teaching, I am reminded of all that I do not know and have yet to learn. Now, this transition time, seems ideal to start learning more and to expand my knowledge base by completing a 300-hour with Laughing Lotus.

What draws you to Laughing Lotus Yoga? What excites you about learning and understanding the architecture and freedom of Lotus Flow Yoga?

This is a fantastic question because I honestly believe that I found freedom on the mat through Lotus Flow and at Laughing Lotus. I began practicing Lotus Flow during my 200-hour training, but I pursued it seriously when I lived in San Francisco for a summer and was a karma there. Lotus Flow busted open what I previously thought of as asana. Through Lotus Flow sequencing, I felt complete with my practice and I learned to use boundaries to inspire even more creativity. I also found that the more creative I was on the mat, the more creative I became off the mat as well, as a teacher, student, and writer.

“Lost in the spirit of the dance I found a path, a dancing path, that took me to the deepest, most alive place I had ever known.” Gabrielle Roth. Have you found a path for yourself? What is it for you?

My path is teaching. I feel alive when I am of service in a classroom or a yoga studio. I am studying to become a public school teacher, but it was through being a yoga teacher first that I learned to feel alive while instructing others to reach their fullest potential. It is exhilarating to know I can make an impact in that way and it forces me to dig down deep.

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What training(s) have you done and/or where have practiced yoga for the last four years?

My 200-hour teacher training was with Three Sisters Yoga at the Yoga Collective in NYC. I also did a Street Yoga training in Portland, OR. For the past year, I have been collecting 50-hour trainings from Laughing Lotus NY in FLY Skool, Hands-On, Bhakti, and Ayurveda. When I wasn’t practicing at Wesleyan University, I practiced at Laughing Lotus and occasionally Yoga Vida.

What aspects of the practice do you want to focus on? How can we serve and support you in this Immersion?

I want to focus on the holes in my own practice and teaching – primarily the bandhas and pranayama. I want to learn how to incorporate these into my practice and teaching so that the poses have more integrity and presence within them. I would also love to focus on how to teach to multiple abilities in one room and the sheer poetry that is Lotus Flow sequencing.

How does yoga allow you to celebrate your life?

In setting an intention when I stand in tadasana at the front of my mat in the morning, I celebrate my life. And by “celebrate my life,” I mean that yoga allows me to close the gap between the type of person that I want to be and who I already am. That, for me, is where the transformation lies. It allows me to celebrate possibility and potential.

What does being a yogi mean to you and share how you carry your yoga into the world?

To me, being a yogi means being a healer. Being a yogi means I heal myself first and then can heal others. It means that I move through the world with integrity and with sacred pauses between thought and action. I am able to be mindful with mind, body, and spirit. I carry that into the world by sharing my own experiences and strength with others. I also help others cultivate it themselves. I try to give my world and actions mindful meaning as I speak, converse, and write. I actively practice ahimsa by being of service in the world around me and most of all, being a yogi means that when I don’t do those things, I don’t beat myself up; I practice sacred gentleness.

Describe an element of the practice (asana, meditation, mantra, etc.) which was difficult for you, but with persistent effort you experienced a shift.

Before and during my teacher training, meditation was challenging for me. Externally and internally, I talk fast. Sitting down and being alone with my thoughts made me feel like a failure in a practice I so wanted to embody. Then, during my 200-hour, I learned Metta – lovingkindness – meditation. That practice enabled me to go inward and outward at the same time and provided me with a service-driven internal drishti that transformed my meditation practice into something deeply nourishing and that moves me away from the realm of “right” and “wrong.”

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