As we go through Love Yo’Self Week, we’re focusing on lots of ways to show yourself lots of love and kindness, but sometimes, the very thing that aligns you with your soul’s highest purpose isn’t strictly sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, there’s a bit of a dark side.
In today’s guest post from yoga teacher and conscious entrepreneur Adi Shakti, we’ll look at what no one tells you about spiritual awakening and what you need to know before you sign up for yoga teacher training. Adi studied under Yogrishi Vishvketu in Rishikesh, India and now lives in the jungles of Costa Rica full time with her husband. She is the director at Passion Yoga School, which is a Yoga Alliance Certified yoga teacher training and self-empowerment program and is committed to awakening the Divine Feminine. She supports sustainable global projects and works to empower women on and off the mat.
Taking a yoga teacher training is a symbol of your commitment to developing your own spiritual path and being a support system for others as they deepen their own connection to Source. Yes, it is an opportunity for professional development, but this only comes once we have something to offer the world — and we must do the work ourselves first.
I am a yoga teacher, and I have committed my life to expanding my capacity for bliss, to healing the traumas of this life and others, and to supporting others in that same journey.
How My Yoga Journey Changed Me
I’d like to start by sharing my story and where I am in my process of awakening.
I am a traveling woman, and one of my first deeply rooted spiritual conflicts was in the disappearance of “home.” Having lived in Latin America for several years of my life, traveling to India a handful of times, leading groups of Westerners into horrifically heart-wrenching zones of human rights violations and more — I can’t walk into my grandpa’s kitchen in Clermont, Indiana, as the same charming Indiana girl I once was. Things have shifted. I am not the same in my head or heart, and my family, friends, and even husband can’t begin to fully understand my world view anymore. It’s hard. Really hard.
I’m not home out in the world, either. In Costa Rica, I am a Gringa. In India, I am a spiritual tourist. In New York, I am there for a weekend long conference. It is difficult to feel fully seen.
I come home and I sit with my friends and family and listen to them talk of politics and music and their experiences and worries and hopes and fears — and I feel drowned in indifference. It is painful.
Yes, I have been granted this gift in seeing the world and expanding my awareness, but it comes with a heavy burden of responsibility. I must be willing to not only confront my own shadow, but also the global shadow that I have witnessed. It is deep spiritual work.
Going Beyond the Darkness
My husband and I live simply here in the jungles of Costa Rica, and every moment is an invitation for awareness. We have a wellness community here unlike anything I have ever experienced in the world. We keep each other accountable in how we spend our time, the economies that we participate in, how we make our money, and how we treat our bodies. It is incredible.
I believe that there is a time on the journey of expansion and working towards the light where you become consumed by the dark. Your shadow surfaces, and as you shine more light into your soul, you have no choice but to love yourself in your shame. It is not easy work.
So, before you sign up for a Yoga Teacher Training or choose to commit yourself to the life of a spiritual seeker or wellness professional, keep the following in mind.
5 Things to Know Before Beginning Yoga Teacher Training
1. It will change the way you eat. As you become aware of nutrition and the political, social and environmental factors of the food industry, you can’t help but make changes in your diet. You are what you eat, and your body is the first layer of your being. It will change.
2. It will change the way you use your energy. With deep spiritual inquiry, we begin to understand the potential of our own vital life force energy. Are we using this energy to promote our deepest purpose? Are we fulfilling our duties in this life to the best of our ability? Beginning to ask yourselves these questions can lead to a bit of a spiritual crisis, and only those willing to evaluate their life’s journey in a profound way should begin this work.
3. It will change the relationship you have with your mind. You will need to take responsibility for your internal condition, and that can be a scary step for a lot of people. We want to blame our parents, our government, our jobs, our friends, our environment for the state of our unhappiness. As you begin to dive deeply into truth, you recognize in a very real way that only you are responsible for your condition. It may cause you to make some difficult decisions and be honest with yourself about where you are in your life.
4. It may change your connection to God. People often ask me if yoga is in conflict with their religion. The truth is, I believe that yoga can fit harmoniously within any faith — with one exception. If you believe that your dance with God is the only path to peace, you will be forced to surrender this belief as you walk down the path of yoga. If you are prepared to welcome everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — into your heart as a reflection of the divine, then this could be the path for you.
5. It may expand your consciousness and create feelings of isolation once you return home. We do deep work here. During your teacher training, you will likely connect at a soul level with your teachers, your fellow students, and with yourself. There is a shift that happens when like-minded people come together with a goal-like spiritual transformation, and it can be difficult to integrate into your previously normal life once you return home. It is difficult to share the experience that you had with the people you love, and this could create a challenge for you to work through.
The most important thing that you learn as you evolve along your spiritual journey is that we are all one. We live in an existence where we are all a manifestation of the same divinity, and it is only our human confusion and illusion that breeds pain, isolation and suffering.
As you turn towards the light, you will begin to integrate spiritual truths. You will inherently be challenged by this truth, and it can be difficult to integrate new levels of awareness into your previous way of being. This is why it is so very important to have a Sangha, or spiritual community, and a teacher that can guide and support you as you face roadblocks. You are not alone, and signing up for a yoga teacher training may just be the best thing that you will ever do for yourself. Just be aware. Once you turn towards the light, there is no going back!
Have you ever considered a yoga teacher training? —Adi Shakti