Dharma Series: Examining Self Through a Yogi Lense
By: Tahlia Rubin
My visualization of the Human Experience is an ever swinging pendulum. It is a dance between opposites, between extremes. This dance reminds us of the universal law of constant change. As this is my apparent REALity, I’m improving my presence and ability to witness the swing and go with the flow.
My current motto: “anitya ”, impermanence and reminding me that “this too shall change”. During the three week 200 hour Kula Collective Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) and Beachside Cleansing in Mexico, I experienced a myriad of painful and pleasant emotions in my swing through life, leading me to profound growth. It felt painful. It felt pleasant. I am Grateful.
When I registered for the training I took a leap of faith. Although I was unsure if I wanted to teach yoga, I felt called to attend believing it would somehow transform me. Abundance abounds; the experience was more powerful than I conceived.
This was much more than a yoga teacher training.
This was a soul training.
This was a life training.
The three beautiful guides who led: Ananda, Holly, and Mollie, are inspirational goddesses who modeled integrity, confidence, individuality, and connection to Spirit daily. They each move through the universe powerfully, bringing with them their unique gifts to guide the yoga asanas and course material in impactful ways.
By expressing themselves authentically, I grew in clarity, self-expression, and compassion; realizing, perhaps for the first time, the power, strength, and gift of being born Woman. Growing up a tomboy and living in a patriarchal society, I spent years denying my womanhood and learning to behave like a man. This soul training inspired me to redefine and reclaim Woman.
The shamanic focus of the YTT was guided by Ananda, who has studied intensely with shamans and led many souls towards their light. She is a wise and powerful healer. She holds space beautifully making it safe to cry, shout, dance, sing, laugh; to experience with vulnerability. Throughout the training we spent approximately one week understanding and exploring each of the three shamanic “Worlds”, the Lower, Middle, and Upper Worlds our beings reside in. We did this through scholastic study, ritual, sound, silence, dance, cleanses, yoga asanas, meditation, journaling, creating, devoting, etc.
I was called to examine the depths of “Self” (as I understood it then) to face and release arising patterns that no longer served me and to grow into my Truth. The beautiful Kula guides led us through releasing “that which no longer serves”, to allow space for the new to emerge.
This process was PAINFUL at times and was also gently guided with no pressure or judgment. I spent most of the first week in bliss and awe and love. As we entered the middle world, the world of human physical existence, of our shadows, illusions, societal programming and conditioning, I found myself embroiled in turmoil, fear and discomfort. I didn’t like how I showed up some days; struggling to understand how to be, how to release, and identifying who the authentic me really was. It was not comfortable but was exactly what I wanted.
Through self-examination, I discovered fears unconsciously running my life and keeping me trapped in patterns of misery and victimization. I began seeing the real ME hidden under these layers. Through this process, I embraced my deep connection with Spirit, God, the Divine. I felt the support, guidance and abundant love that is woven into the tapestry of life and that is always accessible to me that IS me that is ALL.
This experience was not a one time, clean-out-the-whole-shop, deal. I continue to peel back layer upon layer each day with the ongoing guidance and support of my many mentors and growing confidence in Self, in the guru within. I learned skills that prepared me to continue journeying “alone” (though I am discovering we are never really alone) and to guide others walking their paths.
My ability to “drop in” and feel comfortable doing this work was greatly aided by the retreat center. The venue, Present Moment, is one of Ananda’s amazing creations that she spent decades dreaming, manifesting, and building. The healing vibrations of the endlessly rolling waves calms the nervous system, aiding in the cleansing of the impure, and reminding us of our power, insignificance and connection to all that is. The accommodations are luxurious and artistic, peppered with lotus and frog filled ponds and bronze statues. The food was incredible: fresh pressed juices, smoothies and coconuts; raw/vegan options that could convert any carnivore; coconut yogurt with homemade granola; and a plethora of heart opening cacao treats. I am salivating as I recall these lovely feasts.
The other trainees who were vibrationally drawn to this YTT were exceptionally magical; I’m convinced that all Kula trainings attract remarkable humans. Participants came from Canada, the US, England, Australia, and Russia. Most stated they felt strongly drawn to this training, not knowing exactly why but had to attend. Although there was the occasional conflict, friendships blossomed in this environment. As a group, collaboration and cohesion was supported through hikes, visiting a dog rescue center, releasing baby turtles, and visiting other relaxing and fun locations. Although the three weeks was loaded with learning, pleasure and joy were equal focuses of this adventure.
I have experienced and grown so enormously with the assistance of this training. I cannot separate what impact the Kula YTT had on the incredible woman emerging behind this keyboard, from the contributions of my other teachers and inner guide. What I do know is that the Kula training was beyond PROFOUND and has helped me access my truth, living more fully in THE Truth (as I am beginning to know it) and connecting to my world through Joy and Love.
In addition to peeling away layers of distortion and guiding me in my esoteric journey, this Yoga Teacher Training greatly inspired my asana (yoga poses) practice and drive to teach. I left stoked to guide humans in transformational yoga sessions. The Kula style of teaching helped me to live and move through heart, soul, and spirituality; elements prior yoga classes lacked for me. The training’s morning practices were interwoven beautifully with the themes of our soul development and the shamanic work. Through these means I experienced the power of Yoga and its deep, therapeutic nature when led effectively.
Returning to the states after training, I found that the yoga scene had grown enormously since my departure two years prior. Options abound from traditional Ashtanga, Iyangar, Hatha, Kundalini to Buti (dance/aerobic fusion), Tantra, and Beer Yoga etc. etc. Yet most of the yoga studios and teachers fail to truly inspire me through their guidance.
To lead lost, or found, humans to Yoga (to UNION) is not the aim of every teacher; frankly I don’t believe most “yogis” have experienced the full power or meaning of Yoga: The union of body, mind, Spirit; the art of BEING IN Love and IN Peace; the beauty of living in the PRESENT MOMENT through devotion and gratitude to Self and Spirit.
Abundant gratitude, Kula Collective, for illuminating the power of Yoga and inspiring a gentler way of gliding through life! I am in awe of where my training led me and to where it IS leading me…..which is the next chapter of my story.
Tahlia Joy Rubin is a seeker of joy, connection, love, truth, and purpose. She enjoys dance, yoga, meditation, nature, people, animals, travel and challenges. She is passionate about learning and finding her unique path through healing herself and others. Tahlia received a Dharma Grant Scholarship to support her yoga journey and graduated from the 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training at Present Moment in Mexico this fall.