Last night I received my graduation certificate for my 500 hour yoga teacher training. There has been a lot of laughs and a few tears shed in the last couple of months. Saying goodbye to my new yoga friends is bittersweet. While I am excited for the adventures ahead of me, I will miss all these beautiful girls that have made such a huge impact on me. While each girl is unique in their own way, we all had a similar goal in mind when coming here. We wanted to grow and evolve into the best versions of ourselves.
It’s powerful to be around like minded people. It is also super interesting when they tell you how they see you. In our last morning exercise, each person stood in the center of room while the rest of the students said a few words about them. The words people spoke to me were heart warming and slightly overwhelming. I noted that the adjectives they used were often the same aspects I saw in them. One girl said I was loving and kind. In my heart, I said those same words back to her. Another said I was unapolagetically myself and I saw the same authenticity in her. This yoga mirror is sometimes hard to look into but so transformative.
Another exercise that took place right before we were handed our diplomas was to walk around the room and tell each person what we loved about them. Almost every single one told me that my happiness, smile and energy were what they loved most. This made me giggle on the inside. You see, growing up I had tendency towards depression. I battled through it most of my twenties. It wasn’t until I found my spiritual path that my happiness set in. The moment I became authentically joyful was when I realized I didn’t have to fit into some box or stereotype. I didn’t have to be a housewife/mother/lawyer/doctor/(fill in the blank), to be a success in this world. I could be anything I wanted. I live an unconventional life and I no longer feel the need to apologize for it. I now embrace it.
Another thing I realized is that my happiness really shines through when I am in places like Costa Rica and India because in these places I am doing the necessary inner work to become a light in this world. When I am in the US, it is much harder for me to maintain my joy. Issues within my family, the practicalities of life, and disturbing news headlines often lead me to retreat into my inner world until I can find my smile again.
Of course, I am not happy 24/7 even in Costa Rica, but when I am having some irritation or sadness rise up in me, I am quick to head to my room, put on my headphones, and meditate until the internal storms pass. I want to be responsible for my energy. I want to be a person that lifts others up, not someone who brings people down.
I plan to take everything I learned here and share it with others. I know not everyone can fly off to Costa Rica for two months to practice yoga all day long. I also know that I can take every insight I have learned here and share it with others no matter where I am in the world. I want to take the joy I found in Costa Rica and give it to every person I cross paths with. One smile at a time…