Graduation Ceremony and Feast!

Sundays graduation has finally come after 6 months, countless asanas, meditation, note taking, studying, overwhelm…

After everyone completes the final test, we start to prepare the room for the graduation ceremony. We have invited guests and are expecting 20 plus people! My dear friend Maya is coming to celebrate this day with me, yea!  There are husbands and friends, sons and daughters present to usher in this amazing wave of new yoga teachers into the world.

With Ananda Devikka’ Ma’, Maetreyii Nolan and Gayatri Dawson we come full circle again as we all sit on the floor together. Candles and flowers adorn the room and some of us put on special clothing or jewelry to honor our accomplishments. The smell of Indian spices waft into the room that is now holding nearly 50 people! My mouth waters as it does everytime Shashi cooks for us.

We sing together and give our thanks before we are each presented with a gorgeous “Certified Yoga Teacher” certificate. Some of my classmates have taken on their spiritual name and that is reflected on the certificate. At Gayatri’s feet are glowing necklaces and we each chose one. The Ohm of every Ohm I have Ohm’d reasonates in my body as I chose, yes, an Ohm necklace. I wear it for a week before it finds it’s home hanging in my rear view mirror. I find out later that Gayatri spent the last 2 nights, while we were all cramming for the test, sitting at her stove, dipping paper into beeswax to create a “last minute” treat for each of us. Thank you Gayatri!

I am touched as people share what the training has meant to them, the leap of faith, the challenge, the satisfaction of completing something, the changes they have experienced. And to my delight, the guests are asked to share how this program has changed or affected their lives. One man says how he got great joy in seeing his girlfriend be able to finally become a yoga teacher, something she had talked about for so long, and how he really supports and loves her for following her dream. Lovely

I realize for the first time that I am part of a spiritual community, something I have been *highly* resistant to. My strict Catholic upbringing is the source of much of this. The fears about having to give my power away to a guru or be someone I am not were just that, False Evidence Appearing Real. The tendency, the habit, compulsion or addiction to putting our power in something or someone outside of ourselves seems to infiltrate our very DNA.  But not here.  I have uncovered even more of who I am and given the space to have more compassion than I ever thought possible. To me, this is the essence of yoga, on and off the mat. That same compassion has been given to us and modeled for us by the teachers here at the ashram, and I am forever grateful.

Maya and I sit at the big table to taste the flavors of India. I’m distracted by the number of sweets on several large platters and vow to save room for them. I visit with people, make plans, laugh and feel a little sad, little giddy. The revelations of the last 3 days will be distilled over the coming weeks but not before I head back to the job that pays my bills, but doesn’t feed my soul’s purpose at all. So many of us are at this juncture and each of us have steps to take to move our work out into the world.

I have made several life long friends, even future creative collaborators, as well as a loving kind spiritual community. The parting is temporary, as we have planned a hike together and have other ideas on the table, including a retreat. I’m also called to continue to write about how I will take “yoga” out into the world and hope to inspire and support other people to share their gifts with the world.

To continue reading the next incarnation of my blog, go to: http: ___________.  And thank you for reading! I would love to know who you are, so please leave a comment and introduce yourself!

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