Making yoga a part of your life
Integrating your yoga learnings into your way of life. By Louisa Craig
Before you make the commitment to become a yoga teacher, you should have already integrated yoga into your life in some way, otherwise you will be completely overwhelmed when you do begin this journey. I reiterate to my trainees that they must be able to hold their own space before they can hold others. To be able to ‘hold your own space’, daily meditation is imperative. Meditation can still the fluctuations of the mind, which then enables us to practice ‘skill in action’ where we do not react to situations, but instead choose whether to act accordingly or not act at all.
Last year, halfway through running a YTT, we went into lockdown. I made the decision to continue the course, adjusting and adapting. Being a yogi is not all love and light, and if you join a YTT expecting sweetness and magic fairy dust then you’ve come to the wrong place.
It’s an amazing, life-changing experience, but it is also incredibly hard work (this is where tapas comes in). If we put real effort in, then we are able to meet ourselves as we are and the maya (veil of illusion) is lifted. Doing the ‘real’ work is always going to bring ‘stuff’ up for you but learning how to acknowledge it in order to transmute it is where the magic happens. This is an ongoing process as we evolve on our dharmic journey.
Integrating yoga into your life is about learning to step out of your own way and observing life curiously; it’s about not being attached to the fruits of your actions, acting out of love (not fear), and applying yogic philosophy to everything you do.
Before I make any decision, I apply ahimsa, tapas, saucha, and satya, which enables me to make wiser choices (thank you Simon Haas!).
Yoga is about self-realisation or self-knowledge, and it’s a never-ending path, as we see that the more we study, the more there is for us to know. This makes life, and yoga, utterly fascinating.
Try not to beat yourself up if you are unable to perform your daily sadhana. Throughout your teaching life you will be adapting your practices and teachings; it’s far more authentic than to try to stay the same or emulate another yogi. You’ll find that life can throw you curveballs, and instead of finding an excuse to not get on your mat, be curious and find a way of how you can adapt. Whenever we are challenged in life there will always be the opportunity for growth and lessons. Our life experiences and sufferings are our gifts to our students; they teach us compassion and empathy.
To integrate your training into ‘real life’, remember to always remain authentic, keep practicing and studying, listen to your innerteacher and where the lessons lie, practice ‘skill in action’, and always be a curious observer.
Louisa Craig (LouisaYoga) is director of LKY Yoga Teacher Training (yogateachertrainer.co.uk)