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More To Love teaches plus size women how to learn body-acceptance and end dieting for good. 

My Yoga Teacher Training: Week Three

Rachel Estapa

This moment this love comes to rest in me, many beings in one being. In one wheat grain a thousand loaves. Inside the needles’s eye a turning night of stars.
- Rumi

Week three was by far the most intense, exhaustive and rewarding period in my training so far. Being in yoga teacher training (YTT) feels very insular - there are experiences and awareness that happen in a group and on the individual level that when explained to others outside, would sound crazy.

The theme of this week was balance - of attuning body, mind and spirit into one harmonious chord. 

Early in the week, I was very tired. I overexerted myself on our Saturday day off, didn’t rest as much as I needed, and come Sunday and Monday, I was hurting inside and out.

I had to remember why I came here: to study yoga and be with myself. I spent my free hours a bit more quieter than I had, opting to read and write, eat alone and just chill.

In training, this week we had two practice teach exams. One was to embody and sustain each of the 25 postures in our program while someone witnessed and observed how our body moved in an out of it. It was a very intimate and vulnerable experience, since a few of the poses were new to my body and being larger, I had to adjust them a bit. But what I realized is being seen in motion is honesty, truth, and sweet lord — others got to see that I am REALLY flexible and strong! 

Towards the end of the week, we were encouraged to move into social silence, to not chat on our breaks, refrain from texting/internet and spend time in quiet contemplation and self-care. I was totally on board, but could I not talk for two days? What would I do? 

Initially a little scared, I ended up really enjoying the silence. I spent more time in the whirlpool and sauna, went for walks in the gorgeous natural surroundings, and when I felt like I wanted to talk to my friends here, I looked at photos of my life and family. 

Silence brings up feelings and emotions which normally, we tend to push away with distractions. With distractions not available, I was ready to take a deeper look into what the feelings, thoughts, emotions were about. 

What kept returning to me was how can I keep this type of self-care balance up in my life? I sat with it, scared at first that once I left Kripalu I’d return back to my tendency to over-work myself, pulling between many projects and ideas without giving my self personal time and space. 

But then I realized: I am allowed to put my personal care first. I am allowed to say YES and NO to things, to schedule my self-love before chores, to take rest and downtime when needed, and to remember nothing is urgent and can often wait until after a little breath and break. 

The daily practice of this...well...I look forward to seeing how it can fit in more. I guess the biggest piece would be to use the mornings for self-care and work in a more steady yoga and meditation practice. But let’s wait until I get back for that :) 

There was another amazing experience at the end of this week, but I’m still settling from it and am not ready to write or share it - but it was what I hoped to experience while at Kripalu, sorta like a cosmic “thumbs-up” that I’m on the best path for me in life. 

More on that to come later, when/if I’m ready to share further.

With one week remaining, I’m really trying to stay in the present, to not future plan for life post- YTT, to keep savoring and staying aware of this extraordinary experience. I want to balance this week with spending time with the close friends I’ve made and also, give the space I desire to soak it all in.