Last week I took another step in my yoga journey. I spent the week at Kripalu in Lenox, Massachusetts in a Restorative Yoga Therapeutic Teacher Training with Jillian Pransky. Yes, I have added another certification to my list of certifications and degrees but the week was not just adding another certificate. It was a truly transformative week.
It was a week of deep healing for me. I knew I was tired as I traveled to the training. I did not realize that I was completely exhausted until after I arrived. The week provided an oasis, free of computers and nattering about minutiae, where I could step away and experience a deep rest. I reconnected with nature and with my inner sense of direction and purpose for my life. I walked to the lake and through the woods at least twice a day. I experienced sitting in the woods watching the wind bend the tree tops, followed brilliant sunrises to full daylight and watched the sun move across the mountains, walked the paths and trails, and listened to the geese as they flew over the lake.
An inspirational group of people came together for this training. Yoga teachers, body workers, and therapists gathered to learn about the benefits of restorative yoga therapeutics. There were several people in the group who already were teaching restorative yoga and work with people who have trauma or illnesses. Listening to their stories and experiences was so beneficial. There were many good conversations over meals as well. This did not feel like a group of strangers who met a little over a week ago, but a group of compassionate teachers who formed a cohesive community to support one another through the training and beyond.
We worked in the morning, afternoon and some evenings. Jillian is one of those rare teachers who provides so much content in such an easy way and makes it easy to remember and apply. She weaves instruction in meditation, queuing techniques, anatomy and propping together without just lecturing. I absorbed and learned through observing her teaching and leading us through exercises. I feel that I absorbed what Jillian was sharing instead of just taking notes and learning by rote. We learned by observing Jillian and one another as we practiced. There was a distinct moment when I realized that I didn’t have to do it “right” because there isn’t a magic answer. We were learning together and if I didn’t have a prop in a right place or if I needed to see how to make an adjustment in a different way that it was all part of learning. The greatest gift was spending a week looking at all the different bodies in the room and observing, talking about and practicing how to prop each one in various asanas. Every situation will be different, even when working with an ongoing client, because it will depend on the day and the need. I definitely know a lot more about the pelvic floor and the psoas than I knew before. The training provided a confidence about what I know and the reassurance that not knowing is also part of the process.
This practice provides a deep level of relaxation and rest that is badly needed in today’s world. I look forward to finding opportunities to offer restorative therapeutic yoga to people.