I’m not sure people understand exactly what I do when I say I offer yoga teacher trainings.  I think they have different ideas of what yoga is, what a yoga teacher looks like, and what trainings must feel like.  I also think that when my friends see my photos of us laughing and hugging at the beach or outside under a tree, they think I’m not actually working. And the truth is, I am and I’m not.

Yes, my yoga teacher trainings are rigorous. We do start our days at 5:30 am and generally finish around 8:30 pm. We do cover about 200 hours together over 18 days. That’s a lot of time receiving information, moving in the body, sitting on the floor, and listening a lot to both teachers and colleagues about all sorts of subjects, from History, Philosophy, Anatomy, Physiology, to Teaching Methodology, Ethics, and Business–all the things I LOVE to nerd out about.  Throughout our sessions, we always have some music, singing, and dancing!

But what I think makes this experience magical every time is how like-minded individuals, passionate about yoga, movement, meditation, healthy food, healing the planet, taming the mind, and opening the heart, come together to exchange the essence of who they are. What happens is authentic being.  The retreat setting of the redwoods, the desert, the ocean, or the tropics seem to bring out our true nature. I like to say that Nature, the Land (the ‘aina) is our main teacher, and then the rest of us are teachers for each other, just by our mere experience of being human, because no one person has the same path, body, mind, or spirit.  I happen to be a skilled facilitator at these sorts of retreats/trainings/classes/workshops, but it’s the space and the collective who create the true, indescribable, unforgettable learning for everyone involved, including myself. I learn so much every time.

I always trust that each individual who comes to a training has a soul contract with the rest of the group to be here. After teaching 12 certification programs and about 50 retreats around the world, it’s so clear that every group has their own fingerprint, their unique recipe of togetherness, unlike any other class that came before or after them.  This is the magic I believe in for every teacher training.

So what are these trainings really like? They’re loving. They’re FUN! They invite you to be honest. They invite you to be you. They invite you to listen to your heart’s desires. They push you physically, emotionally, and socially. They ask you to ask hard questions.  They ask you to be kind and compassionate. They ask you to love even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to. They encourage you to keep love, kindness, and joy as the standard in your life. They teach you how to serve and how to give without the need for reward or recognition. They invite you to really see yourself, and to see that all things are one. Nondual. All one. Part and parcel of the one.

If any of that sounds interesting to you, we hope you will join us this Fall! Wear your Halloween costume!

By Gloria Baraquio, Lead Trainer for Shivakali Yoga School

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