My interest in yoga started in 2010 when I was working as a personal assistant. My boss took me to my first yoga class, it was hot yoga class on top of that. The class felt like it lasted forever. As a first timer to yoga, doing a hot class was intense. It wasn't until 2018 that yoga came back into my life when my partner purchased me a gift card to my local yoga studio for my birthday. The gift card was for a one-month membership, and if I liked it, I could go back. We know where this is going... It's obvious that I enjoyed my experience back in 2018. For me, yoga is more than just moving my body. Yoga is an energy releasing, mind clearing, beautiful display of expression and discipline.
As an anxious person who continues to go to see a professional, I know that there are things that I need to work on. I started meditating regularly in 2017 and loved the clarity and light that I felt. I fell in love with yoga and practice daily. After attending over 140 classes at my local studio, I craved more. In 2019 I decided to take the leap and participate in the Fall Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) cohort. Our monthly, once a weekend session brought on new relationships - not just with one another, but also with the space we shared, our bodies, our minds and all of ourselves. Our good days and bad days brought us different perspectives into each other's worlds. Our bad days brought encouragement. Our instructors shared their journeys and inspired us to be our own teacher.
The global crisis hit in February 2020, not only affecting our 8-month training, but it put a stop to the world. This "pause" shut down our hearts, our minds and our bodies. We humans forgot how to function. As time slowly passed, we lost track of days and time, yet were able to settle slightly into our new life. We became dependent upon online classes as they became more common and found new ways to hold ourselves accountable. Fast-forward to the end of our training where we prepared for the completion of our certification. Deeper conversations and virtual classes consumed my time. It was a great way to see our favorite teachers and take our favorite classes. Inspiration hit when my local yoga studio did a 14-day challenge, encouraging people to participate on social media. I felt compelled to create a photo diary of my experiences.
The week of our demos is what I have referred to as "finals week." As we all completed our final assignments, showcase our demos and prepare to enter the yoga world as RYTs, I felt such a sense of great accomplishments. The connections and (hopefully) lifelong friendships we have made, will be carried with me. It's been an amazing experience, a valuable journey and a beautiful start to something great.
~ Namaste ~
Afton Palmer is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance, which acknowledges the completion of a yoga teacher training with a Registered Yoga School (RYS).