I am finally able to say that I am a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher! In March of 2021 I completed my advanced 300-hour teacher training with the Sage Yoga School. I’ve been in this program for 3 years (since 2018). These studies plus my 200-hour program equates to FIVE HUNDRED HOURS of studying yoga.
I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training the summer of 2015. The journey wasn’t easy. It was extremely challenging and quite emotional. In fact, my yoga adventure ignited a shift in the trajectory of my entire life. When I began this journey, I started noticing many synchronicities– little blips of magic and serendipitous moments that only made sense to me. I knew that I was onto something… It was as if this exploration of self was prewritten in the stars just for me. It changed my life and has trickled down to transform the lives of those around me.
I get emotional thinking about what life would look like if I hadn’t found yoga. In fact, I truly believe that yoga found me. It has been through this practice that I have found home with myself & inside my body. Have had my deepest and most profound insights, healed deep emotional wounds, found my greatest teachers and mystics, and truly found my voice. This practice has been my greatest work of self-discovery… and the journey continues!
In 2016 I was hungry to learn more after I completed my 200-hr YTT. So I proceeded to Costa Rica with my mother to study with my teachers at the Zen Spot Institute on how to “Live in Balance With The Environment”, and later on my own to San Diego to study Ayurveda. I continue to implement and live the lessons learned in each of these incredible courses.
In 2017, Jonah and I went to “What The Festival” here in Oregon—as music and nature lovers, this was by far our favorite music festival to date. It was at this festival where I found my next teacher. As Buddha said, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” And so she did… Jonah and I took a class with Marisa Radha Weppner – we were left wanting more and absolutely touched by the class she offered. I proceeded to ask for her business card after class and noticed myself still curious a few weeks later.
After looking up the Sage Yoga School, I reached out to see what sort of offerings they had in Boise. Naomi Jones , the school’s coordinator, responded immediately; we were on a call in no time. After sharing some of my goals and hearing about their program, I decided that it was the best route for me. I could essentially ‘choose my own path’ by taking 11 different weekend modules (Friday-Sunday) within a five-year period.
I decided my first module would be a yin yoga course in May of 2018. Upon arriving in Boise at the Sage Yoga Studio, I felt warmly welcomed and right at home. The studio felt like a tight-knit community of fun-loving individuals. I was eager to meet Marisa again, and reintroduced myself. Right at the counter, I saw that she had a flier with a musician that I love and have listened to since the beginning of my yoga journey—East Forest. The flier was for a retreat she was hosting with him in Boulder Town, UT. I was shocked and so excited to see this news! Then, she spilled the beans that he’s her partner… My jaw nearly hit the floor. I knew right then I was at the right place at the right time, and everything was in alignment. Chills…
Yin yoga changed my body and my life. In fact, life before practicing yin yoga and life after yin are two very different timelines. Yin yoga slowed my entire pace of life. It offered me a different perspective in finding balance. You see, we tend to see life as opposites, in a dualistic way (yin & yang, black & white, sun & moon, dark & light, soft & hard, good & bad, etc). We can’t have one without the other; however, If we have too much of one thing we tend to shift out of balance. Our society is a perfect example: we are very yang here in the US. We glorify being busy, having a stacked schedule, being on-the-go, consuming fast food, take-out, we travel, drive fast and are on the move. If we don’t slow down every once in a while, this will lead to burn-out, illness, or even worse, death. This is why we have our yin practices. The slow, still, calm, nourishing, practices that work on a deeper, more intrinsic level that our minds want to run away from. Not only do our precious minds benefit from the practice of yin yoga, our joints, ligaments, fascia, and internal organs do too! It’s an unbelievable practice and I LOVE teaching it!
What I love the most about the Sage Yoga School is that Marisa collaborates with countless teachers who are masters at their craft. Her network of teachers are each unique and incredible. I realized this during the Meditation For Life: Presence As a Way of Life module with Dana Menlove. Dana is an incredible meditation teacher and guided me into my own personal practice in a way that was manageable and mindful. Through this course, I left feeling even more confident in guiding others into their own practice of meditation. I now have a regular, daily meditation practice myself.
Mandy Hanby and I with Tony G in 2020 for Pathways of Movement at the Sage Yoga School. The last course I took in person at the Sage Yoga School.
From there I had the honor of learning from Rainbow Eric and Marisa in the Sacred Relations Tantra Yoga module in 2019. There were countless learnings here including a deep co-listening workshop, shadow work, eye gazing and a shamanic breathwork journey where I learned that I had stored trauma from childhood that needed to be released. This is when I fell in love with breathwork and knew that I needed to learn more.
The last course I took in person at the Sage Yoga School was January 2020 with Tony G: Pathways of Movement. This course was not only informational, but so much fun as Tony is quite the character! Think part yogi, part clown. He’s a movement specialist with Kinstretch and Foundation training. We talked so much about the importance of joint mobility and strength, and moved through building the foundation of different asanas (postures) for the most ergonomic benefits! Truly a course that helped me develop a stronger practice and teaching style. I’ll never forget my daily shoulder CARS (controlled articular rotations) and decompression breath to decompress the spine and rib cage!
As we moved into March and COVID lockdowns, the Sage Yoga School cancelled in person classes and moved online. I pivoted from traveling to Boise and instead stayed home and attended the Trauma Sensitive Yoga 1 & 2 with Caitlyn Lanier. These two courses were filled with information based on how we can support trauma survivors through yoga, and how to avoid the continued cycle of trauma through our teachings. In my opinion, every yoga teacher training should be trauma informed. Frankly, so much of our society has experienced trauma. If we could each understand the impact of trauma on the body and mind, we could understand ourselves and each other so much more. Through traumatic experiences, we begin to forget that we have a body. Perhaps our body isn’t a safe space anymore. Yoga helps us to come back and to live more in our bodies and to become in-bodied. We can in fact heal trauma by beginning to develop a relationship to our bodies in a safe way. Rewriting and rewiring the body-mind connection. It is possible. I am so grateful to say that I am a trauma-informed yoga teacher.
Shortly after we went into ‘shelter in place’ here in Oregon, my beloved teacher Rainbow Eric and his partner Stacy Matulis announced their one year program: Alchemy of Self-Realization. This immersion was based on The Hero’s Journey—a transformational experience based on facing conflict and adversity, the hero ultimately triumphs before returning home, transformed, having alchemized pain and suffering into joy and love: a true metamorphosis. Throughout this course we practiced breathwork, deep vulnerability, presence and witnessing. Each class had a theme and we had practices to implement into our daily lives. My favorite was Ground Control—spending at least 20 minutes outside, on the ground, to connect to ourselves and nature. The timing of this course couldn’t have come in better timing with the state of the world and the COVID-19 pandemic. The breathwork practices helped me transmute anger, frustration, deep grief, inner child wounding and more. I discovered parts of myself and my body that I wasn’t aware of and transmuted shame and grief into feeling seen by my peers. It was through these breathwork practices where I felt called to learn this medicine, so I stepped into a course with Anahata Ananda to learn how to offer and hold breathwork ceremonies.
This led me to taking Yoga Psychology with Marisa Radha Weppner December 2020. It paired perfectly my love for psychology and yoga (I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Oregon in 2009). We had some required pre-reading of Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness which was absolutely captivating. The book tied together everything I have learned up to this point with yoga and psychology and took things layers deeper. Yoga has offered what Western therapists seek to provide their clients today: a way to achieve the total health of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The authors provide an in-depth analysis of Western and Eastern models of the mind and their differing perspectives on such functions as ego, instinct, and consciousness. Although very dense, this book had me lit up on how much focusing on the client as a whole (not just working with the mind as many therapists do), the body, mind, emotions and spirit are all important facets to focus on when helping people on the healing path. The course tied together asana practice, mantra, co-listening, reflective listening, using conscious language, the art of feedback, healthy communication, and Yoga Therapy. It is through connecting with the body where transformation is possible.
My last and final course was with Jessica Maitri where we learned about The Yothera Method.
The Yothera Method is a “3-phase inner-transformational journey that will transform old material of the mind into the gold that lies within the body and teaches people to become the driver of the subconscious through the body, for deep and lasting transformation.” – Jessica Maitri
Through this course we were rewriting old stories that we tell ourselves by incorporating the subconscious, our senses (visualization, taste, smell) and emotions. This was a powerful process. Learning that our subconscious resides mostly in our body is so fascinating and it is where our intuition resides.
10% of our mind is the conscious mind: our thinking mind, cognition, logic, and 90% is subconscious
Through the Yothera Method we learned how to access our subconscious, our intuition. This is where deep, lasting change occurs. My favorite part was learning about the heart and why it is so precious. The heart generates the largest electromagnetic (electrical and magnetic) field of the body. Thoughts and the brain can be measured as electric energy. Our electromagnetic energy flows in the shape of a torus as does the shape of the earth, the solar system and the cosmos (an interlocking energy field that relays energy and information)—the largest portion however, comes through the heart.
We learned how to cultivate heart coherence through the breath, emotions, and sound. POWERFUL. Yothera was an incredible course to wrap up my 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training with the Sage Yoga School. Getting to witness how everything ties together in such a powerful and healing way, while also experiencing the healing firsthand by rewriting the old stories I’ve told myself for years has been…. transformational.
Deep, deep bows to all of these incredible teachers I’ve shared here.
There is still so much I want to learn, so for now I will say: see you soon, Sage Yoga School.
Thank you for everything you have provided me, for showing me the value in collaboration, in yoga, in healing. I love you.