Sunday night, I drove home from Lewisburg, Pa. after a beautiful Teacher Training Graduation. Seriously, it was so inspiring, emotional, and uplifting. I swear as I crossed the Rhode Island state line after nearly six hours of travel, that’s when my throat decided to catch and the tears welled. I’m so proud of this group of women who committed to studying yoga these last eight months, and so honored to be a part of their journey.
I wrote this letter to the Teacher Training Graduates of 2019 that I shared with them on Sunday. While you may not have been there to witness the experience, I hope to bring you into some of our moments together. You may have encouraged a fellow student, cheered them on, or perhaps you’ve been through your own immersive yoga experience and this recalls those memories. I hope you enjoy.
To our dearest yoga trainees,
In 100% honesty, I didn’t know if I had it in me to lead another training. And, that was a scary thought because I dreamed of leading yoga programs centered in the elements of yoga you don’t necessarily learn about in a 60 minute class.
So I got still and meditated and imagined what it would feel like to do it again. I leaned into how full my heart might feel, who we might serve. I imagined filling this room with warm, caring, vibrant, curious, kind, challenging, encouraging people. And, here you are. And, there you’ll go. But, not without contributing to the remarkable vibration this space holds. It’s palpable. The respect you have for each other. The love you show. The way you’re learning to leave expectations and judgements at the door and to sit with another, to really hold space for them and also for YOU. It’s all here and I am grateful to be a part of your journey.
Before our time together is through, I hope to leave you with a few thoughts. First, please remember to be a student. Practice everyday. Even if it’s five minutes. Welcome the fact that the more we open ourselves up to yoga, the more we learn, the more we realize we have so much to learn. It never stops. We never arrive, we just keep learning to live more and more from truth and to share that truth with those around us.
Second, allow yourself space to feel. To really feel. Yoga stirs up sensations and feelings and emotions. That’s prana. It’s not to be ignored. Move your body often, but don’t forget to be still. Meditate. Lean into the sensations that arise as you practice, and let those sensations inform how you respond to your own needs and that of the world around you. This is the work of yoga, right? Not letting ourselves react to the emotions or to the stories, but getting more and more intentional as we give those emotions space.
Third, know that whether or not you ever teach yoga from a mat, we need you. The world needs more yogis in the classroom, as parents, in hospitals, as patients, in business, as daughters and partners and artists. Bring all of yourself to these spaces. Know that you’re infinite. You are never too much or too little. You never need to change yourself to conform to somebody else’s expectations.
I’ll share this quote from Martha Graham that I hope summarizes this:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique...and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open.”
You are now holding the light. You will always have the light, and you always did. In your light, others will find their way back to theirs. Follow what is true for you because only you know, and bring your whole self to each experience. I’m so proud and so grateful and truly honored to know you, to teach you. Thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for allowing me to teach you.
With so much love,
Please join me in celebrating the following Graduates:
Sue Ellen Henry