As we approach our second meditation teacher training (applications are now being accepted!) we're sharing personal essays and interviews from members of our community who completed the program the first time around.
Below is a beautiful personal essay from Hillary Wright, a NYC-based yoga instructor at Y7 Studio. Read on for Hillary's insightful take on how the program had a profound impact on her personal life and career:
I’ve been studying yoga for over ten years now and teaching for almost as long. I have spent many, many years learning and sharing the practice of yoga. However, I have not spent a lot of time studying meditation. I have worked to build a consistent meditation practice over the years all while still feeling like I am an “extreme beginner” in the practice. For as much as I feel I understand about yoga, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the practice of meditation. I’ve been meditating for several years now, but couldn’t figure out what I should do next (mainly proving the point that I wasn’t quite “getting it" because of my constant need to find what was next).
Last year I turned 30 and decided that I would make it my personal goal to meditate every single day as an attempt to feel more grounded, more stable, to have more clarity and as a symbolic way of bringing in a new decade based around health and happiness. Things were going well on this journey. However, I still felt like I needed to do something else to solidify this practice in my life. I recently had a fairly serious surgery (the second in one year’s time) to help me with a chronic illness I suffer from. During this time my “rocky” meditation practice seemed to be the only thing getting me through some really rough patches. I knew this practice was powerful, and I knew if I were able to truly understand it that it could get me through my recovery, both physically and emotionally. So why shouldn't I try to go deeper? Six months to the day that I made my goal to meditate every day, I signed up for the Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Science and The Path’s Meditation Teacher Training. I hadn’t spent much (read: any) time with the instructors that would be leading the course, but having spent many mornings and evenings in the presence of The Path instructors, I knew I would be in good hands.
The first day I walked into class I was instantly struck by the other students, both the wide range of age and background but also their commitment to the practice of meditation. The teachers, Dr. Joe Loizzo, Gerri Loizzo and Marlie McGovern, were warm, welcoming and instantly reassured my decision for being there (without saying a word about it). Up to this point, I had been questioning myself, wondering if I had made the right decision signing up for a training with people I had never met, but something kept telling me to trust the process. Still in pain from surgery, especially in the first few weeks of training, I realized that this was the exact place that I needed to be.
Week after week we met with our three teachers, and week after week I continued through my deep healing process. I was always struck by the amount of knowledge that was being shared and how it always landed at the exact moment that I needed it. It always amazed me how Dr. Loizzo could possibly know so much about the brain or how Gerri could lead such a beautiful meditation or how Marlie knew the exact yoga asanas to teach us that day to compliment our meditations. As the time passed, and we were “required” to turn in our meditation journals from our daily sits, I came to notice that my sits were no longer forced, that my pain was becoming manageable, and that I was looking forward to meditating each morning. Throughout our journey, we studied the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as well as Loving-Kindness. We spent time breaking each down, taking these techniques home and digesting them, practicing them, and journaling about them. I could feel myself putting these techniques directly to use to deal with both the physical and emotional trauma that I had been dealing with through my surgery and illness. And more importantly, I could see myself creating a habit.
After 12 weeks of a consistent practice along with the encouragement of our sangha, or community, I knew that I had officially made meditation a part of my daily life. My “goal” for this training had been - at minimum - to learn a few techniques to deepen my own practice and possibly share these with my yoga students, however, I gained so much more: a life-long, solid meditation practice and the true and utter healing I had been looking for.
Our 100-hour teacher training is for those who want to master mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation, become a meditation teacher, or for doctors, yoga teachers, therapists and other professionals who seek to skillfully and knowledgeably integrate meditation teaching into their work.
All students who pass this training will receive a certificate for Teaching Mindfulness and Lovingkindness Meditation from the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, The Path and Pure Yoga. This program is compliant with Yoga Alliance programs. Click HERE to apply.