Are you a yogi considering 500 hour training with the Dharma Yoga Center? I highly recommend this esteemed program. It was challenging and meaningful and truly life-changing. The hardest aspect of the training for me was letting go of my ego.
My ego was bruised in Life of a Yogi (LOAY) teacher training. I recognized immediately in the first group practice that I was surrounded by the 1% of the 1% of yogis practicing Dharma Yoga. Our mentors represented the 1% of the 1% of the 1% of yogis. The beautiful backbends and handstands into scorpion were nonchalant and commonplace on West 23rd.
In Module One of teacher training, I felt despair. I had sunk from being a yoga student in the top tier in my home studio to sediment at the bottom of the Dharma pond. I wondered if I truly belonged in the presence of so many gifted practitioners. The first asana I had to learn in LOAY training was called “NO-tasana EGO-skrikasana.”
In both LOAY trainings in New York, I had to talk my ego down from the quit cliff. I had to remind myself that yoga is mind, body and spirit. Yoga exists importantly off the mat. I may never be able to fold my legs into lotus (padmasana) from a forearm balance (pincha mayurasana) but I can remain calm and present while waiting for a delayed flight at LaGuardia. I could practice 10,000 hours of urdhva dhanurasana and still hesitate walking backwards and pulling up to standing. it does not remotely feel like a pose in my body’s range of motion. I instead watched others practice these beautiful asanas.
More importantly, I am really good at feeling group energy with my yoga classes and planning the most flow for my students.
I am often embarrassed when I lead the Om in class. I would love to OM like an opera singer but instead, I sound like a whining cat.
On a positive note, I remind myself that my teacher LOAY feedback forms usually mention my voice as soothing in Yoga Nidra. Students describe me as calming, whew.
LOAY has been an excellent opportunity to keep my ego in check. Back home I feel proud (code for arrogant) attending yoga classes as a student. I learned in each eight-day module of LOAY to admire with wonder the 1% moving gracefully. I felt like I was seated at the front row of a glamorous circus at times. I have in turn practiced the mental asana of accepting my skills and not comparing myself to others.
I was reminded in LOAY that every yoga teacher has a weak spot in life and that a perfect yoga “performance” does not mean a perfect yogi life off the mat. I am grateful I have maintained a healthy marriage and raised three children. These are not my weak spots.
LOAY training has been demanding on my mind, body and spirit. The inter-module homework takes two hours per day. I was unaware of my commitment when I signed up for 500 hour training and at times I have doubted that I belonged in this rigorous program.
The LOAY program requirements parallel a Dharma class. There is deep work and a holding pattern. The challenging asanas, like the long pranayama, are intense and rewarding. The journaling and mala japa coloring remind me of the Sun Salutations warming up the body.
I have been humbled in LOAY. I respect the intensity of the program. Dharma Yoga inspires me to rise to a higher level of yoga practice. I watch Dharma himself with awe, recognizing that we are all pure potential. All poses are accessible, to some degree, at any age. Dharma’s messages are much more potent than the physical goals of my ego.
If you choose Dharma Yoga LOAY 500 hour training you will work hard. Your commitment will be tested. You will be surprised at the demands on your time off the mat. You will, without a doubt, respect your distinguished diploma.