reflections on yoga teacher training

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This year I had the good fortune to return to Egypt to teach for a month, a 500 hour and 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with my school Namaha Yoga School. I was invited to Egypt last year for the first time to teach, and fell in love with the country and the people.

This year, the training was in Dahab, on the Sinai coast of the Red Sea. Each year I am sure that it will be my last intensive training. The amount of work and planning that is required to facilitate a teacher training in another country is huge! As well as the long days spent teaching and leading the training’s and all that goes with it. And yet….and yet.

And yet I get to be a part of something that is bigger than me. I am a witness to the incredible transformation journey that these students go on. The struggle of the discipline of getting up at 6 am to practice pranayama, meditation and asana. New ways of eating, living in a new place, new philosophies to study, new people to live with and work with, being tired and having to go to class anyways, challenging yourself on all the different levels, self study and reflection and having to face your deepest self again and again and again. Showing up, every day, for yourself. Which these women did, over and over again.

Twenty women came to this training from all over the world. From Milan to Saudi Arabia, from California to Finland and from Victoria B.C to Cairo. All of these brave souls showed up in Dahab in August to brave the heat ( the heat!!!) and to grow into people and yoga teachers that show up for themselves and others. They ranged from students, to dentists to university professors to doctors. One woman came with her mother and 7 month year old daughter to the training and changed her entire families summer plans, just so she could attend. Each of these people came committed and dedicated to practice and learn, many of them graciously sacrificing whatever they needed to, in order to come.

This is why I teach. People keep asking “Why Egypt?” and this is my answer. Egypt is struggling right now. It’s having challenges.  It’s challenging to grow up there, to live there. These are the places where yoga is necessary, where its needed. Yoga is for EVERYBODY. It is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that comes from India and it belongs to the world. It helps us navigate the challenges of life and should be accessible to all, no matter your race, religion, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, body size, flexibility level or where you live in the world. Why not Egypt? These women can now go out and share what they have learned, in a way that best can benefit the people around them.

I could go on for hours about the students and how much I love them, the amazing sea life in the corals I saw snorkeling, the food (mangoes!!!), the warmth and hospitality we experienced,the heat ( THE HEAT!!!!), the sunrise over the sea and the sunset over the mountains, but I won’t. Words don’t have a way to give these memories justice. But I will share a few pictures, so that you can catch a glimpse of the fun and beauty that was there as well as these precious souls who now live in my heart.  – Jonni-Lyn