By Ashley Jugo, LTY trainee/2016
I cannot believe the teacher training is about to end. I am continuing to observe, assist, and teach classes. It was has been such a privilege to be part of Lightrail Yoga Teacher Training, to go on this journey discovering myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, and everything in between. I learned a lot about myself and yoga made me become more mindful of myself and my daily habits. I noticed that there are a lot of things I have to improve on, but just as much there are things to work on, there are things that I am super proud of. I never realized how much of a “go-getter” I was, that I am always willing to gain new skills, try a new activity. My philosophy is the more you know, the better! I initially did this training to help the kids feel less anxious and more relaxed while they stay in the hospital, but as it turns out, it has been very beneficial for me personally. It really opened my eyes to my daily thought patterns, my need to be more structured and disciplined, and to practice being egoless moment to moment and not letting situations or people outside of the yoga studio get the best of you. It felt kind of like I was wood, and the yoga was the sandpaper, smoothing away my rough edges. As a person, I always strive to do the right thing, but yoga has taught me it is not about being right or wrong. It is about becoming one with yourself, honest with yourself, looking at yourself and loving the person, or shall I say “being” that you are. So, as far as mental practice goes, or the “raja-yoga” aspect, I feel that I have learned a lot. It was very enlightening.
The physical practice, phew! Where do I begin? There are so many benefits of doing yoga besides the stress reduction and calming/energetic sensation you get after class. You become stronger, more toned, more flexible, your radiate! My skin was even better after yoga class. I even digest food better! That’s also to say you are practicing maintaining a healthy diet free of meats and eating natural, organic foods, not foods that are processed. I never used to eat fruit until I started doing yoga, now I do (though in Smoothie Form using Nutri Bullet) but still it helps a lot. I learned how to be more conscientious of what I was putting into my body. I look at food from an entirely different perspective. I am not 100% vegan, more vegetarian, but my diet has improved leaps and bounds the past few months. Also, I am a lot happier. I used to be easily affected by negativity, and now because my mind and heart are at peace because I practice gratefulness, kindness, compassion when I meditate and remind myself of those things daily whether at work or at home or anywhere! I no longer feel any negativity. It’s the coolest thing! Of course, those thoughts and insecurities creep in, but I have more control of my mind now. I have more self-awareness. I have become an observer of my mind. In turn, this has enhanced my skills in my job. I use mindfulness with the kids I work with and when I tell them that they are in control of their thoughts and to watch their mind and bring it back when it starts to wander or think a negative thought or “bad-feeling” thought, their whole disposition changes. It’s quite amazing!
This yoga experience has been invaluable.Throughout this whole experience, everyone was so supportive of one another. it was so refreshing to be with a group of individuals all interested in cultivating their spirituality through yoga. It was a process of self-discovery whether it was from reading The Bhagavad Gita to learning about the chakras or Eight Limbs of Yoga. Every part of the training was important. So happy I did it! I am excited to see where my yoga training leads to!