Becoming a Yoga Teacher

When I was eighteen I went to my first yoga class in Baltimore at The Punj Piare Ashram on St. Paul St. I studied Kundalini Yoga and became a Sikh and ended up living in the ashram for 25 years.

One of the sacred oak trees on the land

Rose on graduation morning at Kripalu

The magical nature spirits at the laberynth

That was in the 70’s and then yoga was considered really out there. Now, it’s a part of most peoples lives in some way.

Even though I have studied and practiced yoga for over 40 years, I was did not have a certification.

This year I decided to go for it and was guided by spirit to study Kripalu Yoga which means Yoga of Compassion.

Little did I know that going there would open doors for me into a new life and so many other amazing adventures…mostly, deeper into my Self.

Yoga is so much more than the postures, which most folks think of as yoga.

Love and lots of joy and laughter!

It is a way of life. Learning that we are not alone, but connected to something so much deeper and primal. It really reminds me of the Native American teachings of All My Relations which means, we are all connected. And then I learned the Eight Limbs of Yoga and could see how it really is so much more.

Kripalu is were I was guided to go to study. I had had a dream a few times where I saw myself teaching 100 people. Then I heard my guides whispering in my ear…Yoga of Compassion.

When I arrived for the first 12 days I was blown away by the energy there.

There was so much support, love and a grounded space of safety. It felt like the Mother energy and I soon started to feel I was there for a deeper reason than getting my certification.

I told one of the main teachers ( Sudha) about Guru Meher’s passing. I showed her his picture and she wanted it placed right in front of the Shiva statue.

The third night we were there we had an amazing ceremony where we we all ( 51 of us) were given the gift of a mala ( prayer beads) and an initiation into the linage with the mantra, “Om Nama Bhagavati Vasudevaya.” When they were blessing us all with the malas and then we began to pray with them as a group, saying the prayer 108 times, all of a sudden, the lights started blinking like crazy.

I knew the spirits of the linage had come to be with us and later my friend , Robin, said she saw Guru Meher walking in the circle with all the other Masters.

All I know is that I was so humbled by the energy coming into my crown chakra and the love I felt I could not stop weeping.

At one point, I saw Swami Kripalu in front of me. He was laughing as he had a hammer in his hand and he said he was trying to break the pain body around my heart chakra.

He did a pretty good job, as the rest of the training I went so deep in more releasing of grief and sorrow in my heart around Gu’s death.

Overall, the experience left me feeling blown wide open in a good way. Open to new possibilities and open to letting go even more.

Every day at lunch I would go exploring the land. The land pulled me in with such magic and it felt like the spirits knew I was coming and delighted I was there.

One day Sudha took the class down to meet The Grandmother Tree. The first time was in April and she was just getting her leaves back. I wept as I touched her ancient limbs and could feel her wisdom seeping through my skin. The oak trees are my relatives, as I have had memories of being an oak tree before.

Later, when I came back in June for the second half, I hardly recognized her as she was covered in leaves. She looked like she had a cloak of green velvet over her. But then, when I walked underneath, she was still the same, beautiful, twisted and winding old grandmother. Just THERE. Holding the space for gratitude.

I learned so much at Kripalu.

I learned that I could get up really early every day, and be in class either doing yoga or studying for ten hrs a day.

I couldn’t figure out how my brain would memorize all the Sanskrit names for the postures. I got every one correct on my exam.

I mostly learned that I am a total DharmaWoman.

I am deeply devoted to God, the Mother and the way of life known as a spiritual path based on teachings on prayer, chanting, and service to others.

It is in my bones and has been for a long time.

Even though it has been there for a long time, I somehow transformed as I conquered challenge after challenge. I faced deep fears of the unknown and came out shining. It was all about the NEW energy of Rebirth. A NEW sangha and a NEW way of seeing and practicing yoga, pranayam and meditation.

This is part of the rebirthing after total devastation.

And, I met the most amazing people there. Some will be my close friends for the rest of my life.

I am now teaching yoga. Weekly I teach a class here in my studio and I also teach private classes.

I am deeply humbled every time I teach as the message of love, compassion and inner inquirery flows and I see layers of tension and pain melt from my students as they breath and move on the mat.

It is my deepest prayer, that all beings experience happiness and the light of love in their lives.

Thank you Kripalu and all the teachers living and past.

I bow to You.

Jai Bhagwan!