I began working with Tari a couple months ago because I knew I believed in her and in what she was doing. My appreciation grew steadily as it became clear how many people y4c endeavors to touch, and how deeply it already does so. Daily communications with y4c students and teachers quickly revealed a rich, dynamic community of people with big hearts and bold minds– students and teachers alike– and it’s been a joy to know that my daily work is supporting the common goals of such phenomenal people.
When Tari suggested that I take the y4c Teacher Training, I didn’t think twice. I’d been witnessing the results of these trainings in all forms for weeks and couldn’t wait to see the program from the inside out. I noticed a sort-of wily excitement in Tari in the days before the training, and on the first morning of class, I realized why: Amazing people are attracted to this work, and each group is like a dynamic living organism from which you never know what you’re going to get! All up, we found ourselves with trainees hailing from the New York area, Boston, Seattle, and even Japan.
It was fascinating to discover the different backgrounds and personalities that converged at Virayoga on that first morning, and I reveled in seeing how everyone was able to be both teacher and student throughout the training process, with so much to learn from ourselves, each other, and Tari. A scientific researcher sat next to an Acro Yogi sat next to a dancer sat next to a lawyer. The common threads: a love of yoga, a compassionate heart, and, so often, wicked intelligence.
Everyone found their way to this training for a different reason– some survivors, some whose families have been closely touched by cancer, some simply yoga teachers whose eyes are open to the wide reach of cancer, who want to help. Each person brought their own strengths and challenges and everyone worked together to focus on the same issue: improving the lives of cancer patients and survivors.
The first day revealed many common fears:
- I’m afraid I’ll hurt somebody, especially if I try to do hands-on adjustments
- I’ve never had cancer and I wonder how students will feel about me not having a first-hand understanding of their experience
- I don’t feel comfortable talking about cancer in general, let alone in a yoga class
Tari has heard these concerns hundreds of times and was ready with answers, and in situations where there’s no real answer, she always had experiential anecdotes. She often says “Compassion comes through knowledge and understanding”, and so we got to work learning about the physical and emotional bodies of cancer survivors, and how to work with these special students effectively.
As in most y4c trainings, a handful of trainees are cancer survivors themselves, and their first-hand experience both with cancer and with yoga, provided priceless insights for the whole group. By the end of the training, the “C” word didn’t seem so scary.
We spent four very full days together, swallowing and digesting the heaps of information Tari has put together over the years, and eventually putting that information into practice. Groups were formed and practice classes were created and I can tell you this: the magic of seeing y4c methodology seamlessly integrated into talented teacher’s approaches (and doing so myself!) is as gratifying and inspiring as it gets. In good company, with good intentions, anything is possible.