You know how on reality tv shows like Survivor or America’s Next Top Model there’s always this one awful girl with an attitude like “Whatever, I didn’t come here to make friends.”?
That’s kind of the way I’ve always been when I travel. Here for the adventures and sightseeing; the rest of you can do whatever – byeeee! Why waste valuable vacation time trying to make friends with people I’m never going to see again? (Yeah, you’re right to judge me here, both for my shitty attitude, and for the amount of ANTM I’ve watched in my lifetime.)
Heading to Thailand to complete my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, I had the same kind of gameplan. Moreso, even, because on this trip I had shit to do. Priorities! I’m here to do yoga! And get my certification! And maybe even get a little bit of a tan!
As we did introductions on the first day, I only half listened to my fellow trainees. Seventeen new names and faces to match up seemed like a lot, never mind trying to remember all the extra crap like where they were from and why they were here.
A month later, on the day of our graduation, we were all bawling our eyes out saying our final goodbyes.
I cannot believe how much these people came to mean to me. Over the course of a month we became a little family. Spending so much time together, and with the pressure of learning so much material, we had no room for anything but authenticity. Laughter, frustration, joy, confusion, embarrassment, tears (oh, so many tears) – we saw it all. Whereas society tells you from an early age “oh no, don’t cry, it’s okay!!”, here, we shared whatever emotions came up, and that safety to do so felt good. It felt good to be surrounded by such supportive, open, kindhearted humans.
A month of yoga training meant a month of silent breakfasts, daily jala neti (always followed by someone needing a tissue during morning practice), hours of sitting on the hard shala floor for lectures, and the days of stressing out over exams, worrying that the sequence you’ve planned for the final practicum won’t run exactly sixty minutes long. It also meant a month of beautiful sunrises, delicious meals, fun new yoga styles and techniques, and increasingly competitive games of “Hep”. Infinite lame yoga puns and jokes. Singalongs under the full moon. Day-off adventures to the city (taxi confusion and all). Birthday cake, twice! All of it, together.
I had prepared for a month of yoga and sunshine and good food, but I got so much more. I’m sure I’ll write more about the training, the details of what a wonderful month it was. But right now, my heart is still just so full with love and gratitude for the humans that made my YTT so amazing. You’ve given me memories I’ll treasure always, life lessons that I sorely needed, and a dozen or so new travel opportunities (I’m coming to visit, you guys!!).
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.