by Serena Aquino
I joined teacher training out of a feeling of detachment from myself. As a working professional, I often found myself feeling over-worked, stressed, exhausted and needing to force myself to stop thinking and processing work when I’d get home at the end of the day. I knew there was more than a need to escape and felt I needed a kind and supportive community around me. I’ve studied yoga inconsistently for over a decade always felt right in class at Bread & Yoga. The schedule matched perfectly with work schedule so I took it as a sign!
In teacher training, we develop our Sadhana, a personal practice we do everyday in the morning after we wake up and before our first meal. Thus far, our Sadhana is a special concoction of yogic practices, including, mantra, meditation, asana, pranayama and relaxation. During this daily practice, we are encouraged to simply observe and notice what comes up, to not follow or invoke it thoughts or emotions, but rather to let them go and to resist the urge to place judgement on our selves in the process. It’s through this daily practice of listening, observing and non-judgement, that over time we realize self and work towards achieving Samadhi, bliss, enlightenment.
In the first few weeks of doing my Sadhana, I struggled with a storm of thoughts and my emotions. In my Sadhana, I realized how much my past is still with me and how much I allow it to play a part in my current situation. I realized I struggle to let myself be alone in my mind. I tend to think about tumultuous and burdening interactions with others, what I wanted and needed from them and how they make me feel, either positively or negatively. I noticed interesting patterns of victimization and an ongoing and relentless processing, scrutinizing and over analyzing of past situations and conversations with family members, bosses, my team. I’d remember what was encouraged in teacher training, to notice it and let it go, without judgement, without judgement, without judgement. I’d continued to observe flurries of guilt, worry and defensiveness. My emotions would run and I remind myself to leave them alone, to not follow them, just to detach and let it go, again and again. I noticed an intense and constant need for validation and reconciliation of my own actions to my self. It was often a loud and chaotic rattling of voices, feelings, thoughts. I’d continue to let it go, let it go, and let it go again. I’d often wonder if I was doing this right or if I was just day dreaming or what was this supposed to look like anyway? On certain days, it would be too difficult to sit with myself and listen and I’d have to stop- stop sitting and allowing space and quiet? It felt I couldn’t allow myself to be involved in the madness and felt at times that I was actually going crazy. Still I was reminded in teacher training that it was normal and to keep going so I did. For certain periods, I felt emotional, confused, sensitive and on edge.
Keep doing your Sadhana, our teachers say, and what once had seemed like a storm, was a fading silence. Over a few days the noise became softer and softer. Stillness and quite remained like I’d never experienced before. It seemed sort of miraculous and mysterious. The storm had come before the calm this time, as my thoughts, feelings and pleading with myself had to be seen in order to be let go of. I continue to do my Sadhana as I welcome the next storm.