It was my first day of Yoga teacher training. I’d come to class starving and overly caffeinated – a total win especially since I am a Dietitian. My first class was about to begin. I was feeling overwhelmed taking on teacher training and blogging about it simultaneously. I feared how it would all unfold. I was also deeply petrified of social crucifixion. But, I reasoned that the only things in life you will regret are the risks you don’t take. So, I figured I’d take a leap of faith.
I walked in to the studio where my first class would be held. The studio had multicolor silks hanging from the ceiling. The room looked as if it had been a commercial garage at one point. The once barren cement floor had now been buffered, glossed, and warmly painted over- expressing a reclaimed, yet elegant, look. Plants now bloomed where boxes might have once been. Himalayan rock crystals took the place of mysterious past paraphernalia. There was a giant window where sunshine let his presence be known. It was a space that expressed such tranquility that even the moon felt welcome to radiate her glow.
I rolled my yoga mat out on the Kintsukuroi floor and then sat atop it. My body was as still as a statue. My mind was as calm as an Italian couple arguing. As I waited for my instructor, I thought about grabbing more coffee. I oddly reasoned that if I couldn’t silence those two, I might as well have more coffee to make the experience more pleasurable. Thankfully my instructor walked in and distracted me from my thoughts.
My instructor’s name is Karen. When she walked in the room, I sensed an uplifting energy. I was put at ease. So was the couple inside my head. Karen began the class by telling us a story of how yoga came to the United States. She told us that it all started with a man named Swami Vivekananda.
Swami lived in India where he studied with a mystic named Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna believed that God dwelt within all religions and therefore religious fanaticism should end. Swami was Hindu but went on to adopt his preceptor’s idea of religious inclusivity. In fact, he became so enamored by these ideas that he took a leap of faith. He left his home to come to the USA in hopes of religious interexchange.
His journey was difficult. His different beliefs made him a target for public scrutiny. They slandered his name and accused him of false allegations. I’m sure there were moments when he thought about quitting, but he didn’t. Swami continued to advocate for religious equanimity while indirectly sharing Hindu customs. One of these customs was Yoga. So, Swami’s leap of faith brought Yoga to us.
What do you think your leap of faith could do?