We recently checked in with Zuna Yoga 300 hour yoga teacher training graduate, Caroline, to hear how she incorporates what she's learned into daily life, and the way she teaches yoga.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have always been in search of truth, and have been willing to follow where that might lead me. I work as a clinician in a busy internal medicine clinic, and teach yoga 2-3 times per week. I have been happily married to my husband Jeffrey for 19 years, and I live in the mid-western part of the US.
What motivated you to do your 300 hour YTT with Zuna Yoga?
I was searching for advanced yoga training and stumbled upon Zuna’s program. I was immediately drawn to the content, curriculum, and the idea of doing an intensive and immersive program. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of yogic philosophy, and to dive deeper into my own practice. When I read what Zuna was offering, I knew that I had found the right program for me.
On a personal level, what is the most important lesson, or lessons, you took away from the training?
That the practice of yoga offers a treasure chest of tools that can help one to find balance, and better navigate the turbulence that is an inevitable part of life and living. That meditation provides the space and the opportunity to connect with our higher selves and the source of all there is. I have gained a better understanding of who I am and what I am capable of. I have found that my meditation practice feeds my soul, informs my life, my decisions, my sense of equanimity and the way I perceive the world.
On a professional level, how did you integrate the knowledge from the training into your work life?
I have been able to utilize my understanding of how the breath can help calm the mind and the body. So many people live in a constant state of stress, which causes a very real physiological hormonal response that, if left unchecked, can cause illness. Conscious breathing in specific patterns can help to calm the body and the mind, turning off this hormonal response. I take it further with those that have an open mind and are willing to look deeper; bringing their awareness to their thoughts and emotions, and how they might be impacting their overall wellbeing.
In my yogic teaching, I am committed to teaching the full practice of yoga: Postures with breath awareness, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. I have found that the real gifts of yoga come only through a complete and regular practice.
What kind of changes have you seen in your professional life since your training?
Because of my personal practice I am more steady, calm, and confident in myself and less likely to be disturbed by the day to day stressors of life. In my professional life, I think that translates into being more empathetic, and more pleasant to be around. I feel that I am able to be more focused and in the present moment with whatever is before me, and less worried about what is waiting for me beyond.
What surprising benefits did you see from the YTT?
I gained a deep understanding and fierce sense of self.
What advice would you give to prospective YTT students?
Be willing to dig in, and do the work that this program requires of you. If you are devoted to your own personal practice, you will have much more than a teaching certificate - you will begin to reap the many gifts of yoga and establish a pathway to self-understanding and happiness.