Going into the first weekend of my In-Depth Yoga Studies & Teacher Training program with Shanon Buffington, I really didn’t know what to expect. In my mind, I thought there would be about 10-15 people because the yoga studio that we were meeting at, Rescue Yoga in Carrollton, was fairly a small studio (I took a Zumba class there last year). I also thought I would see some seriously enlightened, advanced Yogis (you know, the kind of folks that seem to ooze “Yoga” out of every pore on their bodies). I was wrong in every semi-expectation that I had.
I got to Rescue Yoga at 5:15 PM to meet my husband at the front (we were doing a pick-up/drop-off of Jade, our 8 year-old daughter; his office is closer to the studio than it is to our house). Once I kissed my family good-bye, I walked in to find that the studio had expanded! The studio was as inviting as before, but it was much more spacious! After I put my boots away in a cubby just outside of the room that we were going to be meeting in, I grabbed my mat and headed toward the room. As I walked in, I met Shanon, the woman who was about to change my life. She was warm and genuine as she greeted me. “You must be Jheni,” she said. There’s just something great about meeting someone in person after following her on Facebook and her website… but when she actually recognizes your face, it just makes it so much greater.
Once everyone showed up (at 5:30 PM), we started the evening with introductions followed by a short meditation (or the other way around… I forgot). Some of the students – 24 in all – seemed to be in the same boat as I am; previous injuries, dancers, fitness instructors… Some have been practicing yoga for years; others were fairly new in their yoga practice. But one thing we all had in common is that we were beginning this wonderful journey together as students of yoga being taught by the same guru, Shanon Buffington.
We dove right into the topic of this weekend, Anatomy and Physiology. Being that I have a slight medical background (I was a Certified Nurse’s Assistant when I was 18, and my dance classes in college required us to learn the human kinetics related to dance), I was loving the breakdown of the muscular and the skeletal system! It was a lot of information to take in, but Shanon taught in such a way that was practical and exciting (okay, I may be bit of a geek…).
We got out on Friday at 8:30 PM, and then were back at the studio on Saturday and Sunday from 1 PM to 6 PM, which included three hours of lecture each day, followed by an asana practice (the physical practice of yoga) on Saturday and Yoga Nidra on Sunday.
“What is Yoga Nidra,” you ask? Great question! I didn’t know what it was when Shanon announced it on Sunday. Yoga Nidra (also known as “yogic-sleep”) is a meditation practice that induces a full-body relaxation. A quote from Rod Stryker, my guru’s guru:
“We live in a chronically exhausted, over stimulated world. “Yoga Nidra is a systematic method of complete relaxation, holistically addressing our physiological, neurological, and subconscious needs.”
I found myself in such a relaxed state that I kept thinking I was asleep, yet I was fully aware of myself. When our 30-minute Yoga Nidra practice ended, I was bummed out that it was over because it was such a peaceful, carefree, relaxing 30 minutes that I’ve had in a very long time. 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is believed to be the equivalent of 2 hours of sleep!
The weekend concluded with some homework assignments (reading one of our required-textbooks, Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries, answering the 31 review questions, and documenting our practice in the Practice Journal) as I smiled at my new classmates who, I have a feeling, will become important people in my journey of self-realization that is Yoga.