As I sat in meditation practice, morning after morning with those what’s it like to go to a yoga teacher training thoughts, I wasn’t thinking about just any ol’ yoga teacher training.
Not the one you take at your local studio on a weekend each month for a year. Not a weekend workshop in a studio nearby taught by YogaFit. (No offense but the Level 1 and Prenatal trainings I did with this franchise left me seriously wanting for more.)
I’m talking about an intensive—leave your real life for a month—kind of yoga training.
The 200-hour one. The one where you travel to an exotic locale and leave everything behind. No cell phone. No laptop. No artificial lighting. I was dreaming up a place where you could immerse yourself in a yoga lifestyle set in a totally raw and beautiful natural setting.
Where your meditation practice was supported by ocean breezes and swaying palms.
It didn’t take place in a sterile, modern studio in a big, modern city. It didn’t take place in a studio space in a strip mall in suburbia—even if suburbia was clean and rich and full of SUV’s.
This yoga teacher training that flooded my thoughts was off the grid, so to speak. And, while that vision gave me anxious pause when I thought about not being able to text my potential future husband in rural Italy (more on that later), it also gave me feelings of profound peace and contentment.
Where in the world was the yoga teacher training I had in mind?
Where in the world was that special place?
I knew from experience, I wouldn’t find it in Overland Park, the Kansas suburb of Kansas City where my mom lived. And I knew I wouldn’t find it in a corporate franchise of a yoga studio somewhere in America. The trajectory of commercialized yoga (and mindfulness, for that matter) in the West, is probably a necessary function of capitalism. But, during a yoga teacher training, I had this feeling deep down that finding an experience that mimicked that of the ancient yogis in rural India was the way to go.
After my year of living on the South Kona coast of Hawaii, I learned how living in direct contact with nature was a completely different experience than living in a modern city or suburb. While many of us know this intellectually, as a concept, it’s another thing entirely to know it directly, experientially. Which is why I knew deep down that if I were going to invest in a yoga teacher training, my experience needed to be enhanced (if not led) by the rhythms of nature. For this is one of the primary teachings of yoga—how do we attune ourselves to the natural flow of Mother Nature?
This has become a theme for my life, largely influenced by my year in Hawaii. It’s also one of the reasons my website is called Yoga Natura.