One Year Later: Here’s What I Learned During My Yoga Teacher Training

Photo by Michael Melendez

Photo by Michael Melendez

One year ago, I embarked on an incredible journey to Costa Rica to attend my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at Blue Osa in Puerto Jimenez. It was an extremely special experience on so many levels—traveling outside of the country alone for the first time, spending a month in a beautiful, tropical place, making incredible friends from all over the world, and deepening my understanding around the classical teachings of yoga.

The biggest takeaway of all is how it completely transformed me spiritually and inspired me to start my business.

Yoga teacher training wasn’t necessarily in my “plan”…

Looking back, it almost feels like a happy accident as to how I arrived there. Six months prior to the training, I was in the midst of my internship during my master’s program. I was burnt out and depleted. I was also experiencing a lot of challenges in my personal life. I made the decision, “I NEED to getaway after school is over—go somewhere for awhile and completely escape all of this.” I started brainstorming as to how I could accomplish this in an effective way.

Yoga teacher training crossed my mind and I started doing research. I had a fairly consistent yoga practice for about 5 years and had always been interested in the idea of teaching. The practical side of me also felt like I could get this certification that would compliment my work as a therapist very well. I also just crave new, adventurous experiences like this. Experiences that invoke personal growth and transformation.

I had this deeper knowing that doing a yoga teacher training was going to answer some profound questions for me. I didn’t know how or why. I just knew.

I just needed to find the Right one. I knew I wanted to go somewhere tropical. I’m drawn to tropical climates and the ocean. Places like this really speak to me on a spiritual level. I googled Fiji, Hawaii, Thailand…all places I’m dying to visit. But nothing really caught my eye.

A friend then recommended checking out places in Costa Rica. A country I really didn’t know much about or had ever considered visiting. Why the hell not.

I started googling trainings in Costa Rica and I found Blue Osa.

It was exactly what I was looking for, even though I had no idea what that even was. I was captivated by the property, the location, and the structure of the training. Most importantly, I really felt connected to the teacher, Yogi Aaron. It felt like the real deal in that students are taught Classical Yoga. It felt like it was designed for those who wanted a serious education of what yoga really is. Not the westernized version we see today. And that’s what I was seeking.

I had to trust the unknown, despite my fear.

I anxiously waited for those six months to go by. By the time it arrived I felt a mixture of excitement and “what the hell am I doing?!”

Prior to leaving, I finished my internship and my master’s program. And I was now faced with the big question of, “what am I going to do next?” All I truly knew was that I wanted to have a career that would allow me to be a therapist, teach yoga, travel, and run my own business. At the time I was asked myself, “how is that even possible?”

I chose to put all of the questioning aside and allow the answers to come to me. I knew I needed to be fully present in this training and allow the rest to work itself out.

My teacher training was unexpectedly profound and life-changing.

My yoga teacher training certainly answered those questions. In ways I can’t even fully describe.

During those 28 days, we woke up every morning at 4 AM to meditate. For me this was one of the most transformational parts of the training. For the first time ever, I allowed my mind to quiet. I turned down the volume and listened to the calling of my higher self. We also spent a good portion of each morning in silence together. Having that quiet reflective space was exactly what I was in need of. I was able to get clear on who I am and what I was meant to do in this life.

Learning the teachings of yoga was much different than expected in the best way possible. I was shocked by the parallels between these ancient teachings and psychotherapy. It made complete sense as to why these teachings are so powerful and transformational when practiced. It showed me new ways in which I can incorporate practice into my day-to-day as a way to access my potential.

Lastly, certainly not least, was the experience of making friends from all over the world. I feel extremely grateful for the group of people I was with. I think the training would have looked a lot different otherwise. I learned so much from these incredible individuals. Through these relationships, I learned a lot about myself—the ways in which I have grown and the ways in which I still need to heal. And I walked away with many life long friendships.

The top three takeaways from my training :

I could probably write a book about everything I learned during this yoga teacher training. SO much happened in just 28 days. But for now, here were my biggest takeaways:

 1.)  I learned how to be more confident. This was a huge personal theme. I was able to drop into how worthy and deserving I am. I always knew that but finally believed it. I was able to see that I have unique gifts to offer the world. This awareness surfaced from the practices we did and the teachings I learned.

2.) I discovered what I was meant to do with my life and started my business guiding holistic healing retreats. I get butterflies writing this one out. One year later, I have a fairly successful new business and have booked 20 retreats so far. It hasn’t been all rainbows and kittens but it’s everything I’ve wanted and worth every moment. And guess what—I get to be a therapist, yoga teacher, travel, AND run my own business.

3.) I learned that living in paradise doesn’t guarantee happiness. For a long time, I believed “I need to live by the ocean or beach to feel truly happy. That’s the only way I can thrive.” Trust me, living at Blue Osa was pretty magical. Being in the same place for 28 days comes with plenty of highs and lows. And that’s just the reality of it. There were days I wanted desperately to go home. Days I thought, “maybe I won’t ever go home.” My point is, I learned that you are the creator of your own happiness. No matter where you are. You can be in the most beautiful place in the world—it doesn’t change whatever is happening for you on the inside.

I’m in no way affiliated with Blue Osa outside of my receiving my certification there, nor am I being paid to promote this program. I just had an incredible experience that I wanted to share with you all, especially for those who have considered doing a training. Since my yoga teacher training, I’ve found that group teaching isn’t my top priority. I really found the training valuable in my own personal development and teaching privately, one-on-one.

I know I will continue to learn from my training for many, many years. And I’m excited to see how this unfolds and evolves. Sometimes we need to trust in something that maybe seems “random” or a complete “whim”. Diving into something like this blindly and even unsure, may surprise us in ways we can’t even imagine. It certainly did for me and I am forever grateful for that.

Kelsey UllrichComment