A 'Big Easy' Change
We just finished our seventh Soul School training. My dearest friend, Sean Johnson and I co-learn (as he has taught me) this 200-hour teacher training every year. It is hard to put into words what Soul School really is. Yes, it is a yoga teacher training, but it is infused with a spirit and creativity that I am not sure exists anywhere else. Partly it is New Orleans and the students who make it home. Definitely it is Sean and the brilliant ways he brings ritual, art, dance, storytelling, and of course music and yoga together. He is so spacious, loving, smart, considerate, and real. I admire him as a contemporary and as a friend. He holds together all the “sides” one might think about in yoga: the masculine/feminine, the emotional/rational, the arts/sciences, the strong/soft, the quiet/comedian, and those are just a few. I learn how to be a better person just by listening and watching him. Soul School has helped shaped the way I teach, as I’ve come to integrate the soulfulness of both New Orleans and Sean into my yoga.
I am a constantly evolving and seeking. Every year it seems like I amass a whole new canon of practices, studies, information on the body, mind, creativity, and more. I love to share it and I’m quick to share whatever I'm fascinated with. I’ve always been fast to get something and my eagerness to share "my latest and greatest" has sometimes been impulsive. I wouldn’t say that I’m one to sit back and wait to see what happens. I jump right in without hesitation. Its been a great asset, and it has also been my greatest liability.
As we sat in a big circle sharing our last meal together and satsang (a Soul School tradition where the students have a chance to guide the conversation and share in a safe space what’s in their hearts and going on in life. It inevitably becomes a favorite and powerful time in Soul School.), I listened to the student's profound life changes. Soul School has been one of the most important things they have ever done. I was moved. The gratitude and the appreciation struck my heart. What a gift to witness and be there for people in this way. It is the most fulfilling benefit of teaching. And as each person was moved to share and tears flooded our circle, I had the same feeling — Soul School has been the most profound part of my life over these last 8 years.
Soul School sticks to me in every thing I do. I teach and lead trainings differently. I have learned to be a better listener and I give students a lot more space to discover and be. This year, in particular, I felt a completeness. Maybe it is just me and how I feel about myself right now. Soul School is a time when I am churning and transforming just like the students who are taking it. It’s a feature that happens every year and some more than others, but something happened for me during this Soul School where after years of feeling fragmented, I felt put back together.
It has taken me some time to grow into this change, more than just this year’s Soul School. I gave it time and space to allow the maturation, not even knowing what it was I was cooking for all these years. A new aspect of myself has slowly and organically developed in how I teach and take care of myself. But for all these years, I couldn’t share it. I didn’t even know what it was. It wasn’t ready yet, and because I didn’t even know, I didn’t disturb it.
Maybe it’s all the years of being in the “Big Easy” that has Divinely intervened and slowed me down. This shift for me is like the ancient waters deep inside the earth. They move slowly and take their time to mature, to filter out impurities and find coherence. These waters, the waters we call feminine move for thousands of years before they become visible on the surface. I like to think I’m just starting to be like these waters: concealed until ready, but when they break through they nourish — infinitely.
Or Join Tracy and I and our special guest co-learners for a 5 day module in Chicago (or online) and experience the nourishing and fresh teachings pouring out of me.