To be authentic as a yoga teacher, for me, it is important to walk the walk and practice what I preach. After seven years of teaching, I continue to believe strongly in svadhyaya (or self-study) and work to keep myself accountable and learning. Even though I completed my first 200-hour training seven years ago, I jumped at the chance to continue learning when Dina opened up the modules in her teacher training to established teachers.
I met Dina while we were both getting our initial yoga teaching credential. The 200 hours we spent together revealed to me that Dina had a true gift for sharing yoga.
After that training, she went on to complete not one, but two 500-hour teacher trainings with two of the most revered yoga teachers in the country: Dharma Mitra and Tiffany Cruikshank. It was fun to watch her process as she wrote her own teacher training.
The truth is, long before she wrote her training, she was a teacher of teachers. Dina has been my go-to resource for all things yoga or questions about teaching for the past seven years.
I knew her training was going to be much more comprehensive than that initial training we did together. I was able to join her larger group for both the Sacred Text and Anatomy modules, building on my knowledge in these areas.
The anatomy lectures with Janci Butler were an invaluable addition to my teaching repertoire. Even six months after completing the module, concepts and ideas she presented are a part of each and every one of my private yoga sessions.
While many people shy away from the sacred texts (the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita), to me, it was the perfect thing to explore with Dina. Primarily because the lessons and teaching we explored underscore so much of what I’ve been learning from Dina all these years already: service, generosity and love.
Service: With yoga, there are no economics. The knowledge that we gain, the learning from teachers we encounter, the gift of yoga (and I believe physical health) is truly ours to share and to give away. To students and to other teachers, we give away and use our learning for the good with hopes that they will reach someone else who can feel the impact of this great practice.
Generosity: There is no one more generous than Dina Lang. To be around her is to understand that you will learn and see first hand what selfless service really means. We explored at length the important aspect of doing the right thing because it is simply the right thing. Not because of the fruits or positive accolades for our “rightness”. To me, this is the most authentic version of generosity.
Love: Studying the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita we had many long discussions about karma. An idea that really stuck with me was the tenant that each of us has the chance to live a lifetime in (and learn the lessons of) all the various forms or challenges of humanity: homeless person, murder, widow, the list is endless. So no matter where we are today, it’s just today. God or whom or what ever you perceive that to be, lives in each of us. Take notice of this presence when you look in anyone’s eyes. And understand that whatever circumstances are, they are just today’s circumstances. Everyone’s doing the best they can. And a little love can go a long way towards peace and understanding.
Lee Carson teaches private yoga at Hyatt Training, the Portland personal training studio she co-owns and operates with her husband.