In January 2011, eight beautiful women sat around in a circle, nervously sizing up the other seven. Some of the group knew each other but most were strangers with the same goal–to earn their 500-hour advanced yoga certificate. At the end of the weekend, the group was slowly accepting each other, tentatively understanding the path of the next few months and feeling more excited than nervous.
In February, these still nervous yoginis had to “declare” their focus for a final project. Like college, each participant picks an area of yoga to concentrate on for the remaining six months. NO ONE wanted to share. Perhaps it was lack of confidence, maybe embarrassment or mostly self-doubt, but I think it was the most difficult task for them to set aside their armor and let others see their true dreams and passions. It took a lot of cajoling, but finally out of the blue, one of the women stepped fully into her journey, “I want to open a yoga studio!” The entire room glanced over and the look of terror on her face said she’d really like to it take back. However, that one brave and bold declaration gave everyone else the courage to share–in very quiet tones–their desires.
You cannot reshape metal without first getting it red hot and there were a few months where the intensity of the training was palpable. Not only was each weekend overflowing with anatomy, chakras, sutras and assisted yoga, they always had to keep moving forward on their final projects. There were no official meltdowns but the doubt and uncertainty was evident a couple of weekends, and Maggie and I did our best to keep the fires consistent, yet hot enough to keep reshaping. We never let up though because we understood the stages of the process.
It’s hard to summarize an eight-month walk of faith in only a few paragraphs, so it might be easier to show you the results of what can be accomplished. **Please note the incredible joy and confidence on each participant as they gave their final presentations. There were no quiet tones, no embarrassment and certainly no more self-doubt as each women took her place firmly in the yoga world.