Collaboration Blog: Brenda Star Walker 2
My first Yoga Teacher Training was at the lovely campus of the Kripalu Yoga Center nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. It has been said that Yoga is a Technology of Transformation. I had no idea how true that would be for me. It was exactly what I had been seeking although that was not apparent to me until it began to unfold in front of me over the next year.
The first module of the training was three weeks long. We then went home and kept a journal about our practice, made notes of questions and comments for six months then returned for the completion of the training.
The process was entirely different than anything I had experienced before. We lived the yogic lifestyle, rising with the sun, practicing for hours every day, eating a vegetarian diet (bread only on Sundays!), quite a change from my routines up to that point in my life.
It was a welcome change and it felt great! So great, in fact, that I followed my Kripalu training with another month long training in Costa Rica with another seasoned yogini, Amba Stapleton. I can honestly say it was one of the best months of my life.
Even though my goal was more about a personal path, I found myself teaching right away. A good friend was opening a holistic store and healing center and insisted that I offer classes. I believe this was the first yoga studio in town.
It still amazes me that now, some two decades later, we yogis are everywhere! It is such a blessing that today yoga is found in schools, prisons, rehab centers, hospitals, senior centers, day care centers, corporate offices, libraries……we are everywhere and people are beginning to see that this practice is not just exercise but a way of skillful living. As more people experience the practice of yoga and it’s myriad of obvious benefits, modern science has also begun to conduct research which is consistently proving the efficacy of a regular practice focused on individual needs.
It has been my experience both personally and as a teacher that people ‘get it’ pretty quickly. They feel themselves getting stronger, they become more flexible and more balanced in their physical bodies. Of course that would be expected with most any physical practice. Yet it also becomes very clear that they are also more tranquil, peaceful and mindful as the Body-Mind connection begins to come into play.
For a little more than two decades now I have been watching the yoga community grow exponentially. It feels like a conscious evolution.
The first ‘rule’ of life according to Yoga is Ahimsa, Do No Harm.
How interesting is it to consider That in every aspect of your life!
For example, I would have never dreamed that I would become a vegetarian! Me, a girl raised in the South, eating the pigs and cows and chickens! As I continued practicing, this fundamental change occurred naturally. The concept of compassion even changed the way I fueled myself. I also find it very interesting how the marketplace has evolved in the past few decades as grocery stores are making distinctions that offer organic, non-GMO, healthier alternatives to the standard American diet.
I often warn my students to be ready for big change. I’ve seen major career changes, relationship and lifestyle shifts. Some of them even turn off their televisions, or, like I did, throw the TV away!
So, if you are new to Yoga you just might find that the strength, flexibility, balance and focus that you acquire on your yoga mat will seep deep within your being, all the way in to finding your True Self,
your True Nature….. Bliss, Peace, Joy, Love and Light.
Brenda Star Walker
Brenda has been a yoga therapist/massage therapist since 1993. She loves the outdoors, spending time with her grandchildren and exposing the Jacksonville community to yoga!