Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

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I Dropped Out of Law School for This: What Yoga Teacher Training Taught Me


Grab your mat, a block, and strap. We’re going deeper. In asana practice (the physical practice of yoga), people assume going deeper often means bending further, stretching more, or adding an arm balance pose. But that’s not the only way to deepen your yoga practice. There’s meditation, breathwork, self-study, reflection, and more. Yoga teacher training was the gateway for taking my weekly-practice deeper, and it was a deep, deep dive. I know, a lot of you out there might be thinking, “But I don’t want to teach yoga. I hate public speaking. I don’t want everyone watching me, I can’t even ‘do’ yoga that well.”  Wait for it . . . you don’t have to want to teach yoga to take part in a yoga teacher training.

It’s true, if you complete the yoga teacher training, you have the certification to be a yoga teacher (if you want to), but you have so much more. It provides community, the tools and support to become a confident and heart-felt yoga teacher, it helps you realize you have the tools to navigate major life changes and it awakens your dharma, your purpose.

Yoga teacher training is about coming into a deeper relationship and understanding of what’s happening in your own inner landscape.

Let’s commence naval gazing, shall we?

I know that’s what people sometimes think when it comes to yoga teachers or even yoga in general. It’s so woo woo and out there and at the same time self-centered.

Heart-centered describes yoga, and so can self-centered. Not small “s” self.  Think big “S” Self; the higher, more connected version of you. Your Self-centeredness, that focus on your own microcosm, approached with compassion, curiosity, and awareness, affects the macrocosm. In other words, touching your toes may not save the world, but yoga could. When you go deep into your body and breath, when you work on contentedness and compassion (even when the real world is swirling around you), when you practice other yoga principles that don’t make pretty pictures for the cover of magazines, it’s not just about you.

A yoga teacher may tell you that yoga can change your life. And it can. But you can go deeper. Learn more. Practice and practice and practice. You’ll change your life and change the world beyond you—even if you never stand in front of a class or walk one student through a sun salutation.

And if you’re thinking you need to “know” more or get more flexible or be able to do an unsupported headstand before you start, you don’t. Start where you are with curiosity and intention. Start with your desire to experience yourself more deeply. Start ready to explore parts of yoga you may not have even considered yet. Start on a journey that will change you and the world you touch.

Are you curious about postures and pranayama and meditation? Do you wonder about how different poses affect different parts of your body physically and energetically? Are you ready to go deeper? Do you want to awaken your dharma?

The dharma. Integrative Yoga Teacher Training program starts in October. Check out all the deets here. Sign up starts August 15 and early bird rates end September 15.

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