by Sammy Garrett, Zuna Yoga 200 hour Yoga teacher training graduate
I’ve been so busy living, breathing and sharing the beautiful message of yoga that I felt it was time to stop, take a moment and appreciate what I have learned. It has been six months since I set foot on the beautiful Indonesian island of Gili Meno, and wow - a lot has happened since then. Upon reflection, I realized how my month there transformed not only my practice, but also my life. Here are the top five life changing lessons the Zuna Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training taught me:
1. There is more in you. Just when you think you’ve had enough, there is always a little more to give. I learned to never ever ever underestimate the power of my being. The body, mind and spirit are miraculous forces capable of achieving great things. Ever look back in wonderment of how you did something so completely amazing? That’s how I felt looking back over the 200 hours of training with Zuna Yoga. 5:30am starts for three weeks, who would’ve thought it possible! With aching bodies and challenged minds, Zuna Yogis learn the ability to dig deep and pull through any emotional and spiritual roadblocks, allowing you to thrive.
2. Sharing is caring. Before coming to the yoga teacher training, much of the group's practices were personal, practicing at home alone behind closed doors. During the training, I discovered the benefit in sharing my practice with others. Just as a problem shared is a problem halved, a joy shared is doubled - and what better joy than yoga. Practicing with a group of keen yoga teacher training students provided more depth to my practice. We had the opportunity to discuss personal challenges and improvements and share in each other’s experiences. Teaching to small groups and to the whole class opened me up to the delight of sharing. The act of giving and receiving feedback was extremely valuable when starting out teaching. Best of all, it was a real honor to see my teaching bringing joy to others.
3. Breath is the key. During the yoga teacher training I learned to use my breath to measure myself in each asana, knowing exactly when I had pushed too far and when I needed to ease off. The discovery of breath awareness was not limited to the mat. I also learned to expand this into daily activities and to observe others during teaching. The connection between our bodily systems continues to amaze me. What an intelligent machine! Realizing how the breath is so interconnected with not just the physical but also the emotional and mental attributes of each individual has helped me immensely.
4. Trust. In myself, in my body, in my capabilities. Through the teachings of Zuna Yoga, Everett and Katherine encouraged me to listen closely to my body, and focus on looking inward, rather than outwardly comparing to others. This required trust, acceptance and self-love. The yoga teacher training provided clarity around my strengths and weaknesses - both on and off the mat. It is often hard to see through the fog of competitiveness and comparisons which follow us in all areas of life, and yoga is no exception. The biggest learning I took home from my 200 hour yoga teacher training is that your practice is yours alone. It must be entirely individualized to you and your body. Once accepting this, it is easy to surrender, and trust in yourself completely.
5. Have fun! No need to be serious and hard on yourself. Your practice will unfold organically if you hold the right intention. Each day during the training we had a two hour lunch break to adventure, explore and socialize. I made some great bonds with other participants, and as the course went on, we had a lot of laughs, both in and out of the classroom. I keep this fun and laughter going by practicing with friends, hanging out in an aerial silk, or taking my practice to the beach or the wilderness. Keep yoga alive. Do whatever it takes to bring joy to your practice. Combining yoga with other things I love (such as nature) is a total win-win. That’s why I chose the location of Gili Meno for my yoga teacher training. What could be more fun than yoga on a tropical island with 21 other liked minded people?
These are just five of many take aways from a magical time spent learning on Gili Meno. Yoga continues to be a source of new lessons and inspiration for me, every time I practice and teach.