By Ben Link
I never thought I’d take the path to yoga teacher training. It was Alee’s path, for sure, and I was 100% committed to making her dream come alive and thrive. But my main focus was improving the local food scene. The way I saw it, she had her thing and I had mine. Together, they merged beautifully in our dual mission to heal and improve the Columbus region. And that was more than satisfactory for the both of us.
Well, at least until last year. Although our wonderful teachers led great classes, and I knew well enough to trust my internal guidance during the sequences and in asana, there was a nagging feeling I needed to refine my yoga foundation. Most of what I knew (or thought I knew) came through years of practice and many long conversations with my wife, Alee, and - trust me - she’s quick to squash bad habits before they have a chance to enter my practice.
However, it dawned on me I never truly approached yoga with serious inquiry or study. Seems kinda weird, considering I have over nine years experience on the mat, but I figured the positive health benefits weren’t worth over analyzing. As long as I felt great after class, there was no cause for concern.
Yet even with the positive health benefits in full effect, doubt crept into my mind. I began questioning my alignment, my movement, and my breath. Was I getting old and failing to adjust my practice? Or had my practice turned into another task as part of running the studio?
My enjoyment on the mat was fading, and my frustrations were growing. A couple months passed before my awareness, out of nowhere, connected with an ancient part of my spirit. “It’s time,” I heard echo from deep within. “You’re ready for teacher training.”
Now, Alee has shared a wealth of amazing insight over the years, but we both knew it’d be asking a lot of our relationship to take me through a 200-hour training. Plus, it was obvious I’d journey out west to the same place she and several other of our teachers trained for their certifications: the White Lotus Foundation.
If you don’t know much about White Lotus, the retreat and training center is situated within forty acres of a steep canyon just outside Santa Barbara, CA. The lead instructors - Ganga White and Tracey Rich - were the early pioneers of a non-dogmatic, Flow Yoga style and approach that greatly influences our yoga studio.
Anyways, last March I vacated my role within my family, businesses, and other community projects and spent 18 days refining and expanding my foundational understanding of yoga. More than anything, the retreat atmosphere replenished my spirit and helped reset my lifestyle.
Although we are all perfectly capable of finding peace in any moment, sometimes it’s helpful to physically remove ourselves from the daily grind, so we can perform an internal check and/or nourish aspects of our lives we’re neglecting, ignoring, or - worse - denying. For me, I needed an immersive experience to enhance the likelihood of absorbing the course material, as well as catch up on rest, commune with like-minds, and re-establish some healthy habits.
One of the big takeaways from my trip is that it’s OK to take a “time out” from our responsibilities and commitments. If our spirit aches for a change or replenishment, well, we need to listen. We can only place personal development on the back burner for so long. As long as our intentions are honest and we truly mean no harm, we have the right to take time away for healing and self improvement, especially if we fully intend to return with a full heart and desire to help others.
Looking for your own self-improvement getaway? Why don’t you join us down in Tulum, Mexico this October 21-25th! Break away from your daily grind and awaken your soul! Click below for more details!