I remember the first yoga class I walked into over 23 years ago. It was at the Sheraton Hotel in La Jolla, California at my first Deepak Chopra event. Can you believe my first yoga class was at a hotel? What is even more interesting is that for the next ten years I didn’t even know that other people used yoga mats to practice yoga. You see the style that I learned used big cozy blankets. At 27 years of age, I had already been meditating two hours a day for a couple of years. So when I walked into my first yoga class and it was mostly done on the floor, was deeply profound, core opening and blissful, I fell in love and didn’t have a need to look elsewhere.
I recall my interview for the application process to be accepted into Rama’s one month long intensive yoga teacher training program. I told her I had only taken 5 yoga classes in my life and they were all with her or one of her teachers in the past six months. She said that it was easier to teach someone like me who had a clean slate then someone who had taken many years of yoga. She explained that it was difficult to reconstruct the thinking of long time practitioners since this style was so different.
All I knew was that the first class that Rama led at the Sheraton Hotel oh so many years ago was a pinnacle point in my life. There were 300 people in that class, yes 300! Yet still my experience was profound. That is the power of this yoga. I recall in rotation as I turned from one side to the other on the floor, how incredibly tight my rib cage was at 27 years of age. The yoga felt like a massage from the inside out for my body and it opened me up from the deepest part of my being. I was there in San Diego as part of Deepak Chopra’s meditation teacher training and I knew that my next journey would be to take the Svaroopa Yoga teacher training.
Six months later I landed in San Diego once again but this time it was for Yoga training but it was just a few blocks down the street from my home base, the Chopra Center. I stayed on a friends floor for the next month who just happened to live right across the street from both the Chopra Center and the Yoga Academy in La Jolla. My yoga training was 30 days, 16 hours a day, no day off. We had one hour for lunch and 45 minutes for dinner. We had to arrive in class by 5:30am so that we could practice our morning yoga routine for 30 minutes before class started with Rama at 6am. We were done at 10pm some nights and others we were there until 11pm.
It was an amazing month. For those of you yogi’s out there, I did not even know what asana meant my first day of yoga teacher training. Asana means po
sture and that is why all of the yoga poses all end in asana. It is a sanskrit word. Our training was rich in sanskrit, deep in anatomy and physiology, chanting, meditation, consciousness study and of course yoga postures.
When people ask my advice about which yoga training to take I tell them that yoga is a life long study. I am grateful that my first YTT (yoga teacher training) was so deep and yet not everyone is ready for 30 days, 16 hours a day of yoga.
After graduating from that first deep immersion into Svaroopa Yoga, I opened my first Yoga studio on music row called House of Bliss. I taught 13 yoga classes a week and after three years closed down the studio due to exhaustion. They say you max out at teaching 7 classes a week and so I guess I maxed out at 13 and burned myself out. Yes, even yoga can burn you out if you don’t stay balanced.
Now I am proud to announce the launching of our first Yoga Immersion training over Labor Day weekend. Whether you want to go deeper in your own practice or help teach others, this training will prepare you for both!