Exactly one week from today (9/11/11) I officially start studying with Dharma Mittra, the 72-Brazilian yogi best known for the asana poster he created back in the eighties. Training with him is something I’ve been thinking about for a few years and now in just a matter of days it will be my reality.
Next Sunday is the first day of just one of the 8-day training sessions being held up at the Dharma Yoga Center in NYC. It also marks the first day of a year long process to live the Life of a Yogi (as the training is called) and officially receive my 500-hour teacher training certification.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been asked several times: “Why are you doing this?” “What is your plan once you’re done?” Well, I don’t have a detailed plan per se. Currently, I’m doing this for my own personal growth. If you think I should have a plan, okay here it is: my informal plan is to be as open and present as possible and fully committed to the experience as it unfolds. In the back of my mind, I’m sure this experience will alter my teaching style, the types of classes offered and maybe even where I teach but I’m going to invite the change to unfold organically and here is why…
As I reflect back on “why” I did my very first yoga teacher training 6 years ago at Down Dog Yoga in Georgetown, it was to simply to learn more about yoga. I had no intention of ever becoming a yoga teacher when I committed to that training and look what happened: for 5 years now I’ve been a full-time yoga teacher. In fact, August 2011 abellaYoga celebrated 5 years of being in business. For me this is really surreal when I think back at how I was so not comfortable standing up in front of people and talking when I pursued that first 200-hour training. Yet as life unfolded post-training in 2006, I was laid off from my corporate job (my last one) so I started subbing yoga classes just to get out of the house while I was contemplating my next corporate marketing move. Completely unplanned, I realized as I was subbing I actually liked challenging and helping people discover a better version of themselves on and off the yoga mat. Then what magically happened is this feeling of inspiring people to take charge of themselves overtook my public speaking jitters. Life hasn’t been the same since.
So as I venture into the next year training with Dharma Mittra and 50 other yogis from around the world, I’m going in without a plan. To some this may not sound wise. Yet I’ve truly amazed myself since completing my first teacher training without a plan so I think I’ll keep it simple and follow the same formula: show up, do the work and be open to the possibility of things changing in ways I can’t predict.