I spent the last week in New England as an apprentice in the 200-hr Ashaya Yoga Teacher Training run by my longtime teacher, Todd Norian. I want to end at that sentence because it made my heart, mind, body and spirit so incredibly happy and peaceful to be there, that's all I really have to say.
Only, actually there is more.
It was an incredibly intensive week of long days and enough information to make your mind split open. Todd is masterful in how to guide people and their bodies through such an experience. On the second long day he took us into a deep, transformational asana practice. Mostly he was taking care of our bodies but it also deepened our connections to our hearts. I felt lucky to be there and to be practicing with my teacher again.
As we approached Urdhva Dhanurasana (Full Backbend) many of the students were newer to Todd and he needed someone to demonstrate the pose so that he could make some refinements and offer adjustments. It was a quick moving moment and he needed to get in there and go. "Who can just pop up?" he asked.
Um. ME! I can totally just pop up, and do it safely. I volunteered and before I knew it I demonstrated full Urdhva D with Todd assisting me (ah!) and was in probably one of the deepest backbends of my life. It felt amazing. My body felt good. My heart swelled with joy and I felt fully alive and awake.
I came down to applause and smiles. And suddenly a little tiny voice in the back of my mind perked up: "I shouldn't have done that" it said. All of that light, energy, and good feeling came crashing down. "I shouldn't have done that" And all the reasons came too: I was showing off, I shouldn't go so deeply because the others can't all do that, I shouldn't have volunteered because I am an apprentice but should have let one of the students volunteer, it's not ok to shine so brightly.
Luckily, I don't believe all of my bullshit anymore. I recognize this as just another moment of dimming my own light. We are all made of light. We are all meant to shine and we all have the ability to turn up that light or to turn it down. In much of my home life, I turn down my light. That is not to my credit. But when I step into the studio and start to practice or teach or mentor other teachers I turn up my light a bit. Part of me is afraid of that and thinks I should keep things dim. But the truer essential part of me knows that a big bright light is inside of me and is who I actually am. What a disservice to the world for me to turn it down. It feels so good to be bright, it can't possibly be wrong.
At the end of the training I shared this with the whole group. Todd coached me through my thoughts and feelings, supported me sharing with the group and had me make eye contact with others around the circle as I adopted and spoke a new phrase:
"It's ok for me to shine my bright light".
And so it is. And so it shall be.
And now to LIVE it.