Taking Flight

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

My first night of yoga teacher training has come and gone. Anxiously awaited for months, the butterflies grew to a crescendo yesterday – their little wings moving from a faint flutter to a rapid, pulsing beat. Those butterflies have been with me on many journeys, particularly the most important ones. They were there as I toiled through university as an undergraduate and graduate student, joining me well before the acceptance letters finally came. They were there for my wedding day and all the days before and after, reminding me of the sweetness of love in my life. And they are now joining me for this adventure.

Our little group started the night with the chant of Om, calling in response to our teacher, sealing the sacred space that surrounded us. We then turned to our neighbors to find out a bit about them (their name, their preferred style of asana practice, the reason they love yoga and why they were participating in the training) and then shared their story with the rest of the room. It was an interesting exercise, allowing us to break the ice with one of our cohort and to learn a bit about each of the members of our group. We discovered we are a diverse group, practicing Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Tantra and Vinyasa – very different, yet connected, styles of asana. Our years of experience ranges from 2 years to 20 plus and though we had miscellaneous reasons for starting, we all share a love for the way yoga makes us feel – mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

After going through the logistics and expectations for the next 12 weeks, we shared in an asana practice. The style of choice for the night was Vinyasa, a flow of poses linked together with the breath and, for me, a form of moving meditation. During the first part of the practice, we were observed by the program director – moving around the room, he took notes on what I can only imagine was our form. The pressure was on, at least in my head. It took me a few minutes to realize I was doing yoga. “Breathe!” I told myself. “This is fun. This is your release. This is not a test.” I mellowed out and got into the moment and all was good. We practiced a series of postures that we will focus on for the next 3 weeks. At the end, we got to work on some fun asana that  are not in the curriculum, but added an element of play to our practice. An hour and half zipped by like a bullet train.

To conclude our practice, we sat in a circle, holding hands, and said one word each – our intention, our feeling coming out of the practice, our state of being. Many people gravitated toward gratitude as their expression of the night. I can wholly agree with them. I am grateful to be in their presence, thankful to be alighting on this path with them, exploring our practice together.

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