The result is something beyond words. It is, as best as I can explain it, the Alchemy of Yoga at its best. Chapter 2 verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras sets forth how the Alchemy of Yoga actually works. "Tapas svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yoga." Translated to mean that yoga helps us transform ourselves on three levels:
1. Physical Alchemy—Tapas: helps us ignite the changes we want to make in our lives. It is about the getting fired up and passionate. Literally it means heating the body through moving and breathing in the vinyasa.
2. Mental Alchemy—Svadhyaya: while we are following the discipline of tapas and engaging in physical practice to help move our stuck energy we are watching ourselves. In yoga we study the self to learn about the self. Here the mental alchemy is through self-observation. We witness what is going on in our thoughts, what are we thinking.
3. Spiritual Alchemy—ishvara pranidahana: as we are doing and watching we let go of the ego of judgment. We move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered to mix together. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it's doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop, and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outside of us. Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural alchemy.
You see, when you get together in a teacher training tribe we are all like the Alchemist in his/her laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredients are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts—and mixing it all together creates a different result every time.
A teacher training program changes your life. You wake up to the power you have to go into the laboratory of your life experience and mix the potions you want to create your best life going forward!
Here are three reasons:
1. Transformation happens faster: Something extraordinary happens while in a yoga teacher training program that breaks the bonds of ordinary awareness and expands the consciousness of each individual to a level that would otherwise would have taken years of ordinary living to attain. This acceleration of evolution is mystical, meaning that the explanation of the change is beyond logic and reason.
The term from quantum physics,“quantum leap”, comes to mind. A quantum leap means: a phenomena where an electron orbiting the nucleus of an atom changes its position without having traversed the space between its old and new orbit and without taking any time to do so. As scientifically verifiable as this phenomena is, it is also on the order of a miracle, for science has no explanation how this effect happens. This experience of waking up to the power of your own transformation fires you up to change the world.
As Sri Swami Satchidananda says, "Yoga believes in transforming the individual before transforming the world. Whatever change we want to happen outside should happen within. If you walk in peace and express that peace in your very life, others will see you and learn something." In a teacher training tribe you are learning at a faster rate exponentially. You feed off of one another's passion and it makes everyone burn brighter. You are constantly being built up to reach higher into your best potentiality.
2. Self relfection leads to self expression: Self study, known as svadhyaya, is really the heart of yoga. A 200‐hour program offers you a unique opportunity to make a deep commitment to learning more about yourself. The entire training community provides you honest, loving support from day one with complete inclusivity. Training programs are a safe haven: a nurturing sanctuary to engage in open‐minded self‐exploration. Teacher trainings are devoted to offering you an atmosphere in which freedom of self-expression, creativity, and passion for life are totally encouraged!
In the eight‐limbed path of yoga, in order to effectively teach using your most authentic voice you can only teach what you know about yourself. Being a dedicated student of yoga for your own self study will help you learn better ways to take care of yourself. And once you know how to self-comfort you are able to express who you are into the world in a dynamic yet unpretentious way.
3. Break old habits: By taking a break from your daily life, unplugging from the pulls and pushes of technology and engaging in healthy activity (tapas) and conversation (self-study), while in the container of a teacher training program, you are in an excellent environment to release unwanted habits. Some of these habits include detoxing the physical body through a lot of moving and breathing. You'll do a lot of yoga poses! The letting go of mental bonds and ego provides an emotional transformation of surrender.
When we surrender and feel safe then healing begins. Once relaxed we can see our old emotional paradigms emerge and the unhealthy mental habits which have formed as samskaras. From there the Spiritual Alchemy resets the internal dialogue to one of trusting the forward flow of grace.
Also there is something very powerful about surrounding yourself with people who don't know the encyclopedia of your past. They see you as you really are and your potential for greatness. This helps to reinforce your willingness to change for the better.
Even upon finishing a teacher training program life long friendships are formed with like minded people who will support your growth and your new lifestyle choices. They will continue to support your spiritual maturity to show up fully and let go completely.