How my yoga teacher training shifted what happiness means for me

In life things are constantly changing, but one of the biggest shifts I have experienced has come from my yoga teacher training. I am the kind of person who has always tried to find happiness through achievements. For example, I had hoped for being able to get a PhD degree since I was in college getting my first bachelors degree. Back then, as a single mother who was a full time college student that had a full time job, that wish seemed unachievable. However, I imagined that this piece of paper on my wall, this title would fulfill me. I guess my ego strived for the title, for the admiration, for the status. Fast forward ten years, and a PhD diploma on my wall, and this achievement now seems empty. In the end, I realized that a Ph.D. is nothing more than a piece of paper. Its appeal has vanished. Over the years, I noticed that the one thing that drew me to academia, helping others, was not what Academia was ultimately about. It seemed that in Academia, doing things for others was an excuse for people to draw attention to themselves, their work, their intelligence, their solutions.... All of a sudden, my whole life’s goal seemed... Silly and meaningless.

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I started teacher training because I felt that yoga had changed me, and if yoga could reach everyone we could have a whole lot of change in the world. Therefore, teaching yoga, which also happens to be a passion of mine, could also be a vehicle to helping others and transforming the world.Through teaching yoga, I could do my tiny part. Trying to understand what is it about yoga practice that brings about this transformation, I learned about the koshas, Koshas are basically sheaths that make up who we are. At the last sheath, is Ananda Maya Kosha, which is closest to what we truly are.  I know it is probably a bit too esoteric, but bear with me for a minute... My teacher taught me that this kosha is experienced in the form of bliss. Trying to understand what moved me beyond achievements, I started to focus on what bliss meant to me whenever I practiced meditation. It turned out that Bliss resided in simple things. I experienced bliss in meditation by recalling memories with my kids and husband. I thought of laughing really hard with my husband, or traveling with my son, Gabriel. At times, I could remember his laughter, his cute mannerisms, and his little voice. Whenever I tried to experience bliss in meditation, I thought of other intense moments where life seemed to vibrate rather than just happen. I thought of moments of intense happiness, simple moments like the laughter of my 6 month baby girl. Interestingly, my achievements, titles, or degrees were never remembered. As I reflected upon my meditation practice, I realized that my happiness is linked to simple moments when I managed to be present, when I managed to connect to other individuals in a deeper level, and unknowingly I became one with them. This taught me to seek presence, to be present, to make an effort to turn off distractions and tune in that what truly matters: now

Posted on October 6, 2015 and filed under Articles about Yoga.