Congratulations to TT200-33 Duluth & Des Moines collectives!

The community of Yoga North welcomes another cohort of teacher training students as alumni of Yoga North, and are excited for your certification as yoga teachers very soon! There are several “Live Your Life Awake” students in this cohort as well, and we appreciated your contributions to the groups as you deepened your personal yoga practice with the teacher training students. 

The TT200-33 Duluth (left) and TT200-33 Des Moines (right) had a hybrid experience in their teacher training, coming together on Zoom for some months, and training separately in studios in different states for other months. 

 The first Yoga North Des Moines collective, with Pam Steinick as lead faculty from Atha SomaYoga.

The 7th and final weekend of 200 hour teacher training included a Public Clinic experience in both studio locations, so our students had the opportunity to be supervised in working one-on-one with a community member and create a customized yoga practice specific to that person’s needs. 

The following essay was written by one of the TT200-33 students, Shanna Willie, to help capture the student perspective. Thanks Shanna for sharing your growth with the Yoga North community along your TT journey! 

Letting Go.

By Shanna Willie, TT200-33

Uffda. I didn’t know I was so bad at letting go until recently when my cohort and I gathered for the last time. 

Throughout our weekend of practices and discussions Ann M and Molly lead us through some of the Greatest Hits of our 200-hour SomaYoga teacher training. We explored various somatic movements from the perspective of the spinal strip, we played with down dog and upside-down dog. We tried to get some shit-ta outta tha chitta and some junk outta tha trunk. We talked about how each classic yoga pose can be performed from various starting points including from the ground, a chair, or standing. 

As someone who has some significant mobility loss, I love that these different options were talked about often. Yoga North actively participates in inclusivity and the normalization of differently bodied people, and I appreciate it. I think it’s smart too. Practicing compassion for others is an excellent gateway to finding more compassion for ourselves.  

So many rich ideas and concepts!

We ended the weekend with a closing ceremony. We gathered in a circle and took turns sharing whatever it was we needed to share. 

Usually I’m eager to participate. I’ve had to bite my tongue to let other voices be heard on a regular basis. This time was different though. I didn’t want it to end. It seemed like we were just getting started in some ways. I sat quietly and let others have the floor. Maybe I could stretch time a bit by lagging, maybe if I played my cards right we could be there all day….

Molly and Ann M skillfully taught us that it wasn’t necessarily an ending. Or maybe it was an ending but also a beginning. After months of being together in the training and focusing on introspection and interoception our group was going to be blooming wide open and outward. We’d be moving forward to all the things we have in our futures, but we would be taking so many precious lessons along for the ride. 

The discussion around this transition brought tears to my eyes. I realized then that I’m not good at endings. 

I’m not good at letting go. 

Aparigraha, or non-attachment, teaches us how letting go allows for more freedom in our lives. By letting go we are cleaning house. We are getting rid of that which no longer serves us both in our physical worlds and in our hearts and minds too. 

Krishna Das says that we don’t flex our Letting Go muscles often enough. I found this to be true in my soma. I have my literal gripping muscles up to par after years of holding onto fast moving drumsticks and Olympic sized barbells. My mental grip is just as strong, a quick glance around my messy house or a demonstration of my well cataloged histories are clear windows into how well I can hang onto things. But my Letting Go muscle had been forgotten about, left to shrivel and atrophy. 

Ann M brought forth the most touching gesture and it was all over. My tears burst out of my face, I was no longer able to hold them back. Sensory Motor Amnesia had been plaguing my Letting Go muscle. I had found the smallest movement and it triggered an ugly cry. (Lol) Even if I wanted to stop the emoting, I don’t think I could have. What a release! I’m so grateful to be breathing fresh air and energy into dormant places within my soma. 

Although I’ve released this tightly held Letting Go muscle, I know it’s just the beginning. I’ll have to work with that muscle more often to strengthen it, to mobilize it more easily, and I’ll have to learn how to stabilize it if I don’t want to blubber every time something ends. 

Immense gratitude for all the teachings that were offered and all the teachers that offered them. 

Thank you so much.