This post originally appeared via one of our Teacher Training participant’s blog:

Why I’m doing my Street Yoga training

Posted: October 18, 2012 via

Yoga has changed my life many times over.

The first time yoga changed my life it was unexpected. I had only been practicing for a few weeks and had a lot going on in my life. I had been going to a class in a gym twice a week and had heard the benefits yoga can bring, but I really had thought it was just that all the stretching made you feel less stressed. This is not what I experienced.

I wasn’t dealing with my life. My marriage was abusive and extremely unsatisfying, I wasn’t happy in my profession and I was generally not happy in my life. I admitted none of this to myself. I happily walked into the yoga room one day thinking I was just going to get a good stretch, but I pushed myself through the practice, as I often do. Towards the end of the practice, the instructor guided us into pigeon pose. I went deeply into the hip stretch and relaxed my forehead on the floor, stretching my arms out in front of me. As I lay there relaxing I suddenly realized just how wrong my life was. I realized what I needed to do to change it and that I needed to let go of my attachments to what I thought life should be. I began to sob.

I sat on the floor in the yoga room long after the class was over. I cried. I let it all out. My teacher was supportive and stayed with me, not asking questions but just offering support. She had seen this before.

I thought this experience was an isolated incident, but what I found over the years is when I practice regularly I learned more about myself and my true needs. I began making choices that ultimately pushed me forward and also seemed to be for the greater good of everyone.

While I have faltered many times with the discipline of my practice, I always come back to it and I always find myself along the way. The mat is a place to learn about yourself and challenge yourself with physical and mental exercises. It’s time to go inward and let go of ideas of perfection and beauty. It’s time to open your heart and devote yourself to something higher.

One of my teachers is a recovering addict. He often mentions his struggles and that yoga helped him to get through it. He is one of the healthiest people I know, now. I found his story an inspiration and when I am in his class I find myself not looking for excuses, but pushing my boundaries. Yoga has transformed him, too.

One day, about two years ago, I stumbled across an article about a company called Street Yoga. The article told how Street Yoga has developed programs to train teachers to work with at-risk youth and survivors of abuse. When I found this article, I knew I had found my life’s work. If yoga can have such a profound effect on my own life, imagine what it will do for kids and adults who have a much more difficult life than mine. The way I see it, if I can help one kid find the a path that helps them make their life better then it is worth every minute I have in my own.

I have spent the past two years working towards learning yoga, getting certified and now learning to work with this population. This weekend I will finally participate in the Street Yoga training. I am so full of joy to experience this teaching and work with this wonderful group to make this dream a reality.

I am so thankful to have done my yoga training with Sri Dharma Mittra. His expertise and love of all things was an inspiration I hope to take with me as I move forward on my path. I only hope I make my teacher proud to have me as his trainee. His training, for those that don’t know, is far more about yoga as a complete system of life change, and not an exercise program. It is the most comprehensive training available in this manner and I highly advise anyone who wants to learn yoga to go visit his studio in New York City.

Expect many blog posts to come telling how the training goes and the experiences I have as I go forward on my path to spread this beautiful practice to those who will accept it’s teaching.