There comes a time in every Yogi’s life when they start to search for the source of why their whole being is pulled toward this beautiful and sacred practice. Whether you began with the Third Limb, Asana, the Seventh Limb, or Meditation in your practice, it all leads to one magnetic pull. Guidance. Now where, oh where, could you go to find guidance in the Yoga world? I would say first, India would be the most ideal place but, not all of us can make the trip to study with Sharath Jois just yet. So the next best thing? I’d say a Yoga studio. “Why a Yoga studio,” you ask?
A Yoga studio is where you will find teachers; teachers who have devoted their life to this practice. Souls who study and abide by all the Eight Limbs in Yoga and seek students eager to join this lifelong practice of peace and total serenity alongside them.
I know this because that is what I found. After establishing a daily home practice for the last two years I went seeking, as you might be now, for more. What I found was absolutely life changing in every way you could ever possibly think of. I hadn’t ever felt alone in my practice, but those closest to me didn’t have the same devotion and passion as I do to Yoga. After taking classes at almost every Yoga studio in town, I finally felt the connection I didn’t even realize I was searching for at this amazing Ashtanga studio not too far from my house. The Yoga Shala of San Antonio. What you will find there are some of the most devoted, passionate, mindful, and caring Yogis I have ever met.
I chose to attend the Yoga teacher training program at the YogaShala led by my teachers, Ana Hollis and Lisa Long. I had been practicing Yoga for the last two years on my own, taking classes off of YogaGlo with Kathryn Budig and Dice Ida-Klein, which was more of a Vinyasa style. My handstands were pretty solid after a good eight months of practicing and inversions just came sort of natural to me, so it was what I practiced most, my strengths. Now, Ashtanga is something much more than just sticking a handstand or seeing how many transitions you can flow through. It is mindful breathing; a total body purification. After my first Ashtanga class, I literally felt like this was where I was supposed to be. It turned out it was.
Now, you hear all sorts of stories about teacher trainings. It being the absolute best time of your life, creating new lifelong friends, finding the pure, sensible connection to your mind, body, and soul. Well, mine began that way and then threw in a few curve balls at the end. Towards the end of my training I had really lost my grip on what I was doing and felt completely lost in all aspects of my life because my whole world, literally, fell apart. Or better worded, it put me on a different path. One that was going to require all my strength to do on my own. The days literally flew by me and by the time my graduation date came I really couldn’t tell you much about The Bhagavad Gita, or the Yoga Sutras. I hadn’t read my books in the last 8 weeks. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t putting in the proper effort I should’ve been and the one person who knew it all along was my teacher, Ana.
Ana chose not to give me my certificate on the date originally posted because, she felt I had not earned it. She was right. Although it was hard to sit at the graduation and see my Yoga sisters receive their certification, knowing I wasn’t receiving mine just yet, I wanted to be there. I wanted to be a part of that moment with them because they did earn it. Now I’m doing what I should’ve been doing and getting back to the source and allowing the practice to be the teacher. Come the New Year, when my teacher returns, hopefully I have found my ground again, My breath again, My focus again. Because if anyone is going to really see it, it’s her.
We all go through ups and downs in life and not everyone is always going to understand or be able to help you but, let me just say that your Yoga teacher, might just know exactly what to do. All we have to do is surrender.
“The practice is the teacher.”
Written by: Courtney Parnell. Find Courney on Instagram @limitlessyogisoul.