Hello from yoga teacher training!
Some amazing things have already been happening at teacher training, so I wanted to share with you!
Backstory: I first tried yoga about a year ago at a Christian yoga retreat and as I continued to practice yoga, Jesus just kept meeting me on my mat. I found that yoga helped me to quiet my mind & draw into the presence of Christ. I read Holy Yoga by Brooke Boon and learned more deeply how I can use yoga as a spiritual discipline to worship God with my heart, soul, strength, and mind.
I hoped to be trained as an instructor through a Christian program, such as Holy Yoga, but money and time constraints made flying to the States an impossibility. After praying, and asking some friends who had done various types of yoga training, I decided to sign up for traditional yoga training in a Bangkok. My teachers are Hindus from India who pride themselves of teaching traditional Hatha yoga.
The first few days I struggled with if this was the right decision. Our mornings started off with a worship service for the gods ganesha and shiva. The first few days, I sat through the service, but just quietly observed. When asked, why I didn’t want to participate, I shared that this was not the god I worshiped and they encouraged me to worship my God in their service. I considered ways I could do this, but I felt a disconnect. Yoga is a practice of bringing your soul, mind, and body into harmony. By participating in this service in the flesh, I felt that my soul and mind were not aligned with what I was doing in the physical.
As I was going through this internal struggle, praying my heart out, and seeking advice from other Christian yogi friends, I was also reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown. In the book she shares about the importance of True Belonging, which she defines as:
“A practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are.” Brene Brown
I really felt like this was a time where I needed to “brave the wilderness” by standing alone and sharing my heart with my teachers. I was nervous and didn’t want to cause conflict, but I spoke with my teachers and told them that I could not participate in their service and I questioned if this was the right school for me.
My teachers encouraged me that yoga is for everyone and I can worship my God through this practice. I knew this was true. After further discussion, my teachers gave me permission to sit out of their morning worship service, but asked that I take that time each morning to worship Jesus instead. How beautiful is that!
“The Wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into the vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.” Brene Brown
Along with this, they continue to ask me about my beliefs and God during classes, so I am able to share with all of them about Jesus and his love and forgiveness. They are even throwing ideas out to me for how I can use yoga to worship Jesus.
All of this to say, if you think of me over the next few weeks, I would appreciate it if you would lift me up in prayer. I’m having lots of brave conversations and I just hope to continue to speak Truth and embody Love. Pray that my light can continue to shine in this training.