We named our tribe The Ganapati Tribe, after the elephant god Ganesha- the mover and placer of obstacles. It seemed as if destiny brought us together, somehow in the perfect place at the perfect time. It's no wonder we might believe in something larger than ourselves. On our first day we were so shy and timid and anxious to find out which rabbit hole we'd jumped into to. How lucky we were to have landed where we did at Happy-U with a team of teachers that is incredibly talented and compassionate. Its funny that Ganesha is the placer of obstacles, as our group seemed to have plenty of them. It all seemed as if each of us was going through a transition or some kind of struggle but the beauty of this process proved to me that we are not alone in the great struggle that is life. As much as we want it to be all happy shining rainbows all the time, it is not and yoga helps us to see that its only temporary and it, like the good moments too, will pass and make room for more experiences.
When you have that many people in the midst of transformation spending every Friday, Saturday and Sunday together, you get close. You get closer than close...you become family. Its been a long journey, and I cannot lie and say that I am not elated to think about the fact that I have my weekends back but today is our graduation day. Its bittersweet because it is the end, but as our theme for our final class notes, the end is only the beginning of something more incredible than we could ever imagine. I could not be more proud of the hard work my tribe mates have put into the countless hours studying asana, reading textbooks and sitting on a hard floor for hours. (If we didn't know how to sit up straight, cross legged, we sure do now). We all did this while balancing real life, we didn't get to go away to a retreat in some tropical island where we are bothered with nothing but yoga, healthy food prepared for us, and uninterrupted meditation. No, we had school, work, some lost their jobs, some changed their jobs, we had mom's with kids, wives with husbands on deployment, and some who had no family close at all after just having moved here before training. We did this 200 hour certification in the midst of chaos and thanks to our friend Ganesha, we had plenty of opportunities to prove to our selves that we were strong enough to survive it.
Through this experiences I have learned many things, I wish I could say that I learned to be happy all the time or that I some how managed to become void of reaction to my daily strife and that I could solve my problems by contorting myself into a pretzel ball. But what I did learn is that we are all uniquely beautiful, everyone of us on this planet walks our own path and along that path we hit crossroads and bumps in the road but if we stay dedicated to our practice and to our true self we can overcome any obstacle and come out of it better than we were before. I also learned that this is a life long PRACTICE! It will never be a final performance, we grow and learn every day through yoga and we can never truly say that we are a master of it all. I think it's pretty neat that we have room to grow. But more importantly- to the best of my ability I will no longer judge myself for being unable to do certain poses- I just can't do them yet, I will no longer think something is impossible (Paulina pointed out to me that that word simply says "I'm Possible" so the word itself is a contradiction), I will no longer strive to be the "perfect yogi" because that doesn't exist. We are imperfectly perfect and being human is what makes us wonderful. I learned to love myself, unconditionally.
To my teachers, Karson, Mitch, Tierney, Nam, & Jan: there is not enough space on one page to explain how grateful I am, how grateful we all are, that you were the ones to lead us down this path. You believed in us 100%, never doubting what we could become. You offered us an authentic experience that not only taught us about yoga but about life and how to really kick ass at it. To Josie, Julia, Carrie, Stephanie, and other's from the Anahata tribe- we thank you for your guidance. To all of our amazing mentors at Happy-U; Thank you for your guiding light, we are so blessed. You are about to send 16 incredible, compassionate, talented teachers out into the world- so the world thanks you too.
So here we go Ganapati. After today, we enter a world of endless possibilities and who knows where we will go from here. Remember these last 10 weeks, remember the mala- each bead on the string of "happiness", as you add more beads (new friends, students, mentors, and teachers), remember the first 21 beads; that is where it all began, with us, and the idea that we could change the world.
Om Gam Ganapateye Namaha
Let us take our first step on our next adventure