Yoga Teacher Training Transformation

I just cashed a check… and I’m PUMPED.  I realize that, for most of you, this doesn’t necessitate writing a blog post, but just hear me out. No, it wasn’t for a million dollars, or even enough for a serious shopping spree at Anthropologie. Yes, I did use the wonders of modern technology and my mobile app to deposit it, but that’s not why I’m excited. This check is about more than just the dollar amount. It’s about possibility. It’s about personal growth. It’s about truth, and happiness—and freedom. I don’t want this to sound exaggerated or hyperbolic, so let me give you a little back story. 

About a year ago I started taking classes at Up Yoga in Minneapolis. I’ve practiced yoga off and on for almost 13 years. I hopped between a bunch of different studios until I found Up. It only took one class and I was hooked. This place was different. These people were different. I'd been to a bunch of great studios, but there was something happening at Up that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. At the time, I didn’t know why this place felt so special. But I do now. 

Up Yoga was started by the one-and-only, Lindsay Grabb. She and her rockstar husband, John Sinna, put in an incredible amount of work behind the scenes so that everyone who walks through their studio doors feels that same indescribable, magical, difference. It’s the reason for the check I've been rambling about. 

Lindsay and her staff are a treasure trove of knowledge and talent. They put on an impressive number of workshops and events. After a few months attending classes at Up, I heard rumblings of a new Teacher Training ( TT ) program being launched. A TT program was always a Bucket List item of mine—but on the part of the list that you never actually expect to do. Those programs are a sizable investment and, frankly, I’d never practiced anywhere that I liked enough to want to spend that much. I never really wanted to be a yoga teacher, either.

Still, I was interested in deepening my practice, so I went to an informational meeting. To make a long story slightly less long, I liked what I heard and I signed *UP* for the program. 

And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Just kidding. I want to tell you all about it. 

For the next 5 months, I attended 7 weekend-long trainings. Throughout this time I learned what made this studio so special. I learned about creating community, discipline, creating deep connections, and empowerment. I learned about leadership, the history of yoga, and even about the nitty gritty anatomy of my practice. But most of all I learned about myself. 

People always say, “be yourself, everyone else is taken.” And I agree. Wholeheartedly. But no one ever tells you HOW to do that. And on top of that, no one ever tells you how to figure out who “yourself” even is. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we know who we want to be. But then that decision gets set in stone forever and the dogma of “this is who I am and I can’t change” sets in. Seeking the truth—your unique and individual truth—is a strong undercurrent at the studio. It makes up a piece of that “magic” puzzle. 

Part of this has to do with Up Yoga being a Baptiste Affiliate studio. The TT program was created and taught by Baptiste certified instructors. The Baptiste methodology isn’t just about creating a strong physical practice. It’s also about taking what you learn on your mat into the real world and applying it to who you are, as a human being, in your daily life. The TT program gave me real and tangible tools to begin a practice of self inquiry and growth. I read ( soooooo many amazing books), I meditated, I breathed, I got on my mat and I sweat. 

Part of figuring out who you are, is figuring out who you are not. There are “stories” we tell ourselves about the way things are, about the way we are. These stories we paint for ourselves with only one perspective and they are built by the lies we tell ourselves. These stories stop us short from achieving goals, hide the truth from us, and keep us from what is truly available to us. I’ll give you an example: 

For my whole life I lived in the story that, “I am a night owl” and, “I am not a morning person”. Seriously, my family’s nicknames for me were “The Bulldog” and “Mrs. Grumpola” because I’ve always had a tough time waking up. I’ve always wanted to be a morning person, but I truly believed that it just wasn’t “for me’. It took me until this program to realize that this story is just that—a story—and that story no longer serves me. I’m not a better person because I wake up earlier, I’m a better person because I can finally listen to what is best for my body and not just do what I’ve always done. Turns out, I AM a morning person because I choose to be. Turns out, I can choose to be whatever I want. My TRUTH doesn’t have anything to do with what my family always told me I was, or what my friends always thought of me. 

Most of the time, personal growth is hard. It hurts and it’s messy and scary and it’s easier to just avoid it. During Teacher Training I was given a safe space to look those things dead on and move toward them. I had an entire community standing beside me. 

Fast forward 5 months. I now TEACH the 6am class at Up Yoga on Monday mornings. I have a regular 6am practice, in fact. I never intended to teach when I signed up for the program (and many people just do it to deepen their own practice). But the more my practice transformed and the more I depended on my understanding of the methodology, I realized I HAD to share this with everyone. Instead of staying where I was comfortable, I opened myself up to new possibilities and followed my truth. It lead me to teaching. I get paid to teach this amazing, life-transforming magic—where they write me checks that I cash on my mobile app that represent more value than any number of dollars could ever amount to.

Because of Up Yoga’s TT program, I’ve scratched out a few “stories” from my life that no longer serve me. I learned that my job wasn’t servicing me and so I got myself one that does. I’ve strengthened my communication and decision making with my partner. I’ve made lifelong connections with other TT graduates. I’ve learned that vulnerability is the key to deep connection. I’ve learned that there is, in fact, a difference between being “kind” and being “nice”. I’ve learned that I am kind, and vulnerable, and necessary, and badass. I’ve learned that I am lovable, and strong, and brave, and enough.

And this is just the beginning. 

Natalie