Who am I? I’m Laura Brown – I’ve just started the 200 hour yoga teacher training (YTT) with Buddha Balance Yoga school (www.buddhabalanceyoga.com), learning from the wonderful Missy Kerner. Why am I writing this? A couple of reasons: I want to journal my experience for personal growth and reflection, I hope to share my experience with potential future YTT students, and I plan to keep a record of where I started and where I ended up to look back on for motivation. Thoughts on Weekend #1: AWESOME! I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this experience, to be quite honest. There is SO much to learn, from theoretical to practical, that I had no idea where we would be starting and no idea how quickly I would be able to digest the material. After the first weekend, I can confidently say any qualms have disappeared completely. We learned a lot so this first post might be a little crazypants-all-over-the-place, but I’m just so excited I can’t help myself! Intro to Meditation After talking logistics and getting to know each other, the 6 of us (Missy and 5 students) began our weekend with a lesson in meditation and a discussion on the expectation that we will build a meditation practice throughout the program. There are no rules, no deadlines, and no expectations for how we would do that. Because it is such a personal practice, Missy explained, it is much more important to have realistic expectations each day than to burn yourself out. With time, the practice will come. It is easy to work on meditation as a group on our training days as Missy verbally guides us through our thoughts. These last few days at home I have been experimenting with my home meditation practice. I have learned a ton so far, but will mostly focus on meditation and learning poses for this blog post: 1. There are many postures to sit (or lay) in during meditation. I ruled out laying down after I fell asleep the first time trying that one. I like to sit and it is SO much easier to stay still and calm when you sit up very straight. I like to sit on a block because of its firmness as opposed to a pillow, but I probably want to get a second block for at home so that I feel supported rather than teetering precariously. 2. I found a super cool free phone app which allows you to customize background noises and sounds to set the mood for the meditation, as well as a singing bell to bring you out of meditation, and the capability to record the length of your sessions and see trends over time. It’s the coolest tool! (just google “meditation” in the app store and you will find plenty of options – the one I got is called Insight Timer) 3. Meditation isn’t hard or scary! It isn’t some lofty unattainable practice that only the most dedicated yogis can attain – in fact, the first day my goal was just to sit for 6 minutes and see if I could focus on the in-and-out sounds and feelings of my breath. I had a sneezing fit halfway through which disrupted me slightly… but hey I made it through the time without thinking about what I had to do all day! 4. I like meditating in the morning since usually I spend my mornings ONLY thinking about the many things I have to do. It’s a nice way to quiet that anxiety and focus on the here and now. 5. Meditation helps me focus in yoga classes in an incredible way. Each day I have meditated even just a few minutes before class starts, I find that my mind is completely focused on that class and how my body feels. After class, I have felt the desire to sit and meditate a little more after savasana and I have really been enjoying that. There is so much more to say about meditation already, but I’ll just continue to touch on that throughout my journaling. Learning about postures SO COOL!!!! I have taken many yoga asana classes and workshops (asana - the physical practice of yoga, which is only 1 of 8 limbs), but I have already learned a lot more about my body and how the poses should feel in just one single weekend. Since in a normal yoga class the goal is to focus on the present moment and not to glance around at other students constantly, I never realized just. how. different. our bodies are. Seriously - it’s crazy. Each pose looks different and feels different to each person and it was neat to go over the poses in our small group and talk about how they feel for each of us. I’ve learned that my natural flexibility means I rarely engage my core and my longer torso makes some poses easier and some harder for me – I thought I had been engaging my core all along! Darn it.. In the classes I’ve been taking since noticing this, I’ve been focusing on my core engagement and I’ve truly gotten a different experience because of it. I feel stabilized, in control, and most of all I have super sore abs… Ha! It’s a relatively new feeling for me, so I’m loving that. Each of us 5 students in the training are going through our own personal journeys to understand our bodies. It’s pretty cool stuff. I have some homework over the next month and I’ll write about that and the Chakra workshop soon! <3 Namaste.