I have always been a crier. Cute puppy? Crying. Holiday-time jewelry commercial? Crying. Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears – my expression of any emotion pretty much involves crying. So of course on Day 1 of yoga teacher training, I was inevitably going to let loose with a good old ugly cry.
Sure enough, we were sitting around the studio, and the dreaded moment where we were told to introduce ourselves to the group caused knots in my stomach. From the moment the first yogi introduced herself, I felt this overwhelming rush of energy. I figured it was my nerves as I loathe public speaking. I took a few deep breaths and mentally prepared what I was going to say. “Hi, I’m Katie, psychotherapist by trade, healer by birth, here to do profound healing work, yada, yada, yada.” And since I was about the 15th person to go, you would think I would have effortlessly delivered my speech.
NOPE. As each yogi spoke, my body became more and more charged. It felt as if someone was simultaneously turning up the heat and the air conditioning at the same time. I was literally buzzing and could feel tears stinging the back of my eyes. When it came to be my turn, I swallowed the lump in my throat and sat on my shaking hands. I took a deep breath and said, “Hi, my name is Katie, and I swear I will not cry.”
I have no idea what I actually ended up saying. I know I shared my profession as a therapist and my desire to deepen my healing work. I blubbered that I was so grateful and excited to have found my way to the training. Everything else is a blur. And I earned sympathetic chuckles from my classmates.
I pulled myself together for the rest of the day, and YTT was every bit of amazing as I thought it would be. The theory, concepts and mission of real yoga (not just the Westernized version of a work out, but the true spiritual nature of yoga,) felt like home. It was another bit of bread crumb that I reflected on last week prior to beginning my training. Sitting in class felt as if a sleeping part of my soul woke up and said “Oh yeah, I remember this”. I knew my tearful reaction was more than just stage fright.
In the days following my first class, I enjoyed the high of a new adventure, and tried to go about my life as usual. But already I felt as if I was seeing the world through new eyes. I remember distinctly in grad school feeling a dramatic shift as I learned systems theory, and back then a professor validated our growth by acknowledging we would never look at the world the same after becoming a therapist. When people learn what I do as a profession, they often assume I am “analyzing” them. While this is not entirely true, it is accurate that my brain is always processing within the frameworks of my trade. Like with anything worth doing, you will never be the same after having gone through it.
Then the weekend right after training, I had two separate oracle card readings (because that’s just how I roll) that blew me away. Both confirmed that YTT will change my life. The clear message was that the journey I’m about to take will not only deepen my skills as a healer, but will create the meaningful and widespread change I know deep in my heart I am being driven towards facilitating. One of the talented healers I regularly seek guidance from looked at me with a sparkle in her eyes and asked, “Are you ready? The overwhelming energy you felt on your first day is just a glimpse into the amazing expansiveness that is about to come. Your soul knew it was home. This will be far greater than you can envision for yourself right now.” I get goosebumps even just writing those words now.
Such a strange feeling to be experiencing growth and observing it while it’s happening.
One of the questions I get most often in my work is how to trust your intuition. Many of my favorite types of clients to work with have had some sort of trauma, and I have come to specialize in relational traumas. Trauma history's can make it very difficult for people to tune into their body and trust their gut, because many times that is incredibly unsafe. Yet, our intuition is the compass we are born with that keeps us on our soul's journey. Without it, we can flounder, never quite feeling fulfilled. To tune back into our deep inner wisdom, we must often heal wounds before we discover the voice that was always within. But if we pay attention, our body and heart will give us very clear signs - as in my case, crying! Other signs include goosebumps, dreams, deja vu, butterflies in your stomach, and on and on!
Most hours of my day are filled with holding space for others, a role that I honor and whole-heartedly accept. In reflection I also came to understand that a large part of the emotions I felt there in the studio that first day was the realization that the next six months were just about me. I was in place where 20 other souls were genuinely and selflessly open to supporting me without judgment or expectation. It was one of the first spaces in a long time no one needed anything from me; nothing was asked of me, other than to just be lovingly present. If you have never experienced that kind of support in your life, I urge you to seek out that space. That is a moment I will never forget. And it reminded me of how important my job is every single day.
The duality of my role as a student and teacher in this moment is deeply profound. I know as I learn from the amazing women around me, I will also be teaching them every time I show up on my mat. And already I am bringing the wisdom of the long lineage of yogi’s who came before me into my healing work with clients. This week I had the gift of being fully immersed in the wonder of being completely aligned with my soul’s purpose. And despite the days of soreness that came from endless amounts of practicing chair pose, I can not wait for every last second of what this training holds.
And I know every tear will be beautifully life-changing.