Today’s blog post is the first in a series to look forward to on Tuesdays. “The 200 Hour Teacher Training Experience” will showcase the experiences of our most recent graduates from the Spring 2013 200 hour teacher training program. 

It’s hard to articulate all of the lessons, feelings, and inspiration that culminated on Sunday, May 19. Our five month, 200+ hour journey of Om On Yoga teacher training officially came to a close. One of my biggest takeaways from teacher training is the idea of yoga as a celebration of creativity and expression. As new instructors, we know that our words, presence, and deeds (which in this case would be asana, or physical posture) spark inspiration and discovery in our students. Teaching each other throughout training gave us the opportunity to share our unique talents and inspiration with one another.

As I planned my final 60 minute practicum sequence, I was astounded at the number of ideas that flooded while brainstorming the theme of “expression.” The word comes from the Latin term expressare, which means “to press out.” We talk often about helping yoga students “find their edge.” Pressing out is like pushing to the edge and seeing what is revealed. Expression can also oppose the obstacle of samskaras, impressions, which are thought to hold us back from reaching our highest state. We are able to soften these impressions each time we come to our mat or practice the non-physical aspects of yoga. Transformation occurs as the samskaras disappear.

On a biological level, expression is ingrained in our DNA. The DNA holds a genetic code that is translated, or “expressed.” At our core, we are expression at each and every moment. Even more powerful is the idea that we can change this expression. Massachusetts General Hospital recently published a study that reveals how genetic expression changes after yoga and meditation practice– for both new and long-term practitioners.

On an energetic level, expression is housed in the vishuddha chakra, located in the throat. David Frawley, author of Yoga and Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization, says “to open the throat chakra is not a matter of heightened expression but of being silent in the expanse… in which our personal voice is lost in a divine world.”

Yoga, as the union of mind and body, allows us to connect to this expanse with practice. As I led the group through my sequence and shared these various ideas of expression, I felt my own creative nature shining and transforming. Helping others find happiness and fulfillment has always fueled my life– through extensive leadership involvement, a career in higher education, and my future as a physician. Teaching yoga now allows me the opportunity to express that service in a different way.

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Photo taken by Kelly Kostecki, Director of Training and Owner of Om On Yoga

As our training ended, we all agreed that our practices are really just beginning. We learned the philosophical and anatomical principles and the best practices for teaching and living hatha yoga. We have grown as individuals and worked together to create more space, more stillness, and more love. Our job now as yoga instructors is to continue this journey as we share our creativity and expression with our students.

-Trina Chakrabortty, Om On Yoga Spring 2013 Teacher Training