So much to filter through when thinking about summing up my Ma Yoga Certification experience.
First I am so grateful to have had the opportunity and the means to follow this path that has been close to my heart for decades. Secondly, I am grateful even more for finding the courage to step into something new, to be taught and to re-learn how to teach yoga through a deeper connection to myself. It was definitely not easy to enter the seat of the student again after decades of sitting in the teacher’s seat.
It was so challenging and ultimately fulfilling to break down my own barriers (and I did feel the barriers) to some of the things that I learned while honoring where I have been and my experience as a teacher.
Some of the barriers included thinking in a different, layered approach to each yoga pose…for example, incorporating the Five elements of “Pancha Bhutas” into the sequences. Looking back, it seems so obvious how these elements weave into a prenatal yoga practice, and how they are connected to all facets of ayurvedic and yogic life.
Admittedly, this was challenging at first because I was still stuck in the mindset of learning “good poses for pregnancy” and “contraindicated poses for pregnancy”. I was so in my head!! Ugh! Once I allowed myself to be transformed I experienced something much deeper than that.
I realized that what I was learning was about the fire of transformation and the beauty of expansion into that transformation. It’s what the birth process was for me with both kids. I had home births and while they were straightforward, and fairly uncomplicated, I had not had a role model of transformative birth experiences except for the readings of Ina May Gaskin.
It was in her book Spiritual Midwifery that I found that the birth experience could be as powerful and transformative as a storm in the night.
After that storm passed, I emerged battered and yet fortified by my newfound strength. Somehow, my body knew what to do and I had heeded its call for me to get out of my own way.
I have been fascinated with pregnancy and birth since I can remember. I loooooonged to be pregnant and to have my own baby. It was a biological need, not an accident or an oops kind of experience. It was almost an obsession for me.
I worked for many years at the Gap and Baby Gap and often would find the most beautiful baby clothes.
I had a small wardrobe for my future babies before I even was pregnant! It was a natural extension for me to be interested in a doula program certification but as I had a young baby at home, I couldn’t justify leaving for hours at a time.
It wasn’t the right time. And later in life after both of my children were grown, I could no longer fathom leaving in the middle of the night to attend births. Teaching prenatal yoga became an obvious choice to extend into- bridging my love and passion for yoga and the absolute obsession with the transformation of pregnancy and birth.
Now, reflecting on my Ma Yoga Certification experience, I can see the wisdom in the process of the training journey as I was inviting the strength and power of the feminine and the transformation that ensued. I have been teaching for a long time – about 20 years now.
It’s not that I didn’t know how to teach a yoga class or a thoughtful meditation, but the Certification process through Ma Yoga definitely stretched my thinking, my knowledge and my ability as a teacher, and as a person.
Over the last 20 years, I have taken yearly learning opportunities in continuing education to expand my knowledge and get to deeper levels of knowledge of yoga and yogic principles and philosophy. I have not taken another “how to teach” teacher training… that was a challenge. I was consistently provided the room to stretch my teacher’s voice and expression.
While I found it uncomfortable, I also think it was beneficial to force me into the seat of the student and to break into a new space as a teacher and yoga practitioner through my own transformation.