I attended Level One training in February 2016 in Sedona, AZ. The location is stunning, and a perfect backdrop to an intensive 7 day yoga training. What I didn’t realize that first day is how much this program would impact me in ways that I never thought it could; mind, body and spirit. And, it touched a part of me that I thought was dead. Let me explain…
I was carrying around a lot of weight. Not physical weight, but mental and emotional weight around parts of my life that I thought I had reconciled. My expectation was that we would be focusing on three things; Asana, Mediation and Inquiry. Leading up to Level One, I focused more so on the physical aspect, with questions swirling around such as, “was my practice good enough,” “could my body hold up for 7 straight days,” “will I be judged because my twists are really bad,” and the list goes on. I figured that after 7 days I’d improve a little. What I did not truly prepare for was how much the self-inquiry would impact me in that moment, and influence me after leaving Sedona.
So that “weight” that I carried around came in the form of two divorces, a career that I walked away from 5 months prior after 18 years in advertising, and family challenges. Needless to say I felt like I was a failure, a disappointment. I was loaded with insecurities and quickly approaching the big 4-0 in a few months with what felt like an ominous demon rearing its ugly head screaming, “epic failure.” My journey into yoga helped alleviate those thoughts a little, and the sweat on my mat was a way to release those vicious, toxic voices in my head. But it was always temporary, and I knew that something had to change. Something that would give me peace of mind to ride out the back half of my life as a more secure, happier and livelier person that I had been up until now.
What I found during those self-inquiry sessions during Level One turned my life around, and I took to heart the concept of being a yes, being ready now and being present in each and every moment. Each session was like peeling back the layers of an onion; with my mind being that onion. The notion of lies, truths, complaints and things that are all truly made up in my mind was like a light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to find a new way of thinking, making peace with my life pre-40, and setting the stage for how I really truly want to be moving forward. I can re-write my story the way that I want, and proceed with a new way of thinking. I needed to “un-junk” my mind, to remove all of the negative thinking to make way for a new path, a new story. The journey through Level One was worth every penny, every journal entry, every tear. I met many fabulous people that shared parts of my story, and we were able to be there to support each other, to cry, to laugh, and mostly importantly, to connect. It was such a fabulous experience, and I can’t wait for Level Two training!
> Melissa Wheeler was a participant in Level One in Sedona, AZ.