Dearest Satchi and Devi,
It has been almost five months since I said good-bye in the airport in Crete. There are several bits of writing that I owe you and that will come your way eventually. I am in transition between my touring job and my theatre camp. Now that I am done with the tour I have had a few minutes to reflect on what I brought away with me from Greece. (Please feel free to use this as a testimonial.)
When I went looking for an intensive yoga or dance training program one year ago I hoped that I would be able to direct my life down a more positive path, learn to focus my emotions in a positive way, learn to use my empathy as a tool and not as a crutch, improve my physical health, and refine my yoga teaching skills.
I accomplished all of those things with you! While I feel a little half baked on some points I can safely say that the test drive of 5 months on the road has proved the difference in my interaction with the world.
I can only imagine that, had I been able to spend the entire 9 months with you this year I would feel even more solid in the skills I have learned.
When I decided to fly half way around the world to study for 9 months with people I had never met before, or even talked to on the phone, my friends said I was a little crazy but encouraged me to follow my heart. (Thank goodness I have open-minded friends.)
My gut instinct told me that you were both good people and that you would help me with my goals. Here is my advice to anyone who is unsure if it is wise to fly half way around the world to join you:
You are two of the most compassionate and supportive people I know. You challenged me exactly the way I needed to be challenged.
When I look back on my time with you I often tell people that I flew half way around the world to be with my parents.
While I mean this factiously because of your similarities to my parents in your effect on me I also mean that.....
You stirred as much change in me as someone a close as a parent can.
So, back to what I walked away with. From 3 months I took a deeper understanding of most aspects of yoga, the knowledge that I can now offer my students a greater range of exercises and a more complete picture of yoga.
Many physical and spiritual techniques for keeping my mind, body and spirit in alignment, a feel for reiki, and, most importantly, all of the things I hoped I would take away.
To begin on a more superficial level, physically I lost some weight, gain muscle mass, strengthened my lungs and straightened my back.
These changes are still evident 5 months later, despite my job prohibiting me from eating as well or getting as much movement as I would like.
My friends all tell me that I have bloomed, that I seem more confident and that I look healthier. I feel healthier and I feel good about the way that I look. I am not in as good of shape as I was when I left you but I still can feel the benefits of my time with you.
Now, on a deeper level, I have gone through some difficult times this spring and found that I am more emotionally quipped to handle them then ever. As you know, I am prone to tears and can let small things overwhelm me at times.
While I was still studying with you I knew that I was shaking the foundation of those behaviors but, since they were rearing their ugly heads in the shaking, they didn't seem to be vanishing.
They are still with me but have diminished into something that I can notice and deal with well before they get out of control.
During this tour I had a large angry man scream in my face, a member of my cast tell me that he didn't feel I was capable of being his boss and many a little frustration that would have sent me into the depths of a panic attack or other emotional tumult if it had happened a year ago.
While I did go through a period of depression about a month ago I also discovered that I truly have the skills to control my own mental health. When the mirror was slammed up to my face to make me realize that I was descending into an emotionally unhealthy space I took a step back, renewed my meditation practices, put up a circle of protection, practiced yoga, did self-reiki and remembered to breathe every day.
Almost like magic I was back to feeling healthy, confident and together.
The best part about this experience was that it showed me that the training I received from you can both be a preventative and a Band-Aid.
If I practice regularly I feel great.
If I don't make the time to do that and I start to feel a little out of sorts, a short meditation session can generally put me back on the right track. While I would never want to trade my ability to cry when I need to, it really does do wonders for my stress relief, I am thrilled to announce that I haven't had a moment of even the desire to cry for 3 weeks! I have to wrap this up as duty calls.
I just want to emphasize that my goals for my training with your, despite it being shorter than expected, were met. I know that there is more work to be done but I am thrilled with the results.
I am in the process of putting together the next year for myself. Where will you be January through May?
Much love, light and learning,