So while I’m enjoying my extended break from graduate school—a glorious 4 weeks of being at home in Hawaii—I somehow managed to pick up a job working for a Japanese babysitting company. Do I speak Japanese? No. Do they speak English? No. Do I even get paid that much? No! But we have fun! And after spending each day watching Lilo and Stitch, a classic Disney movie about an alien who lands in Hawai’i—I’ve realized I’ll walk away with the classic Lilo n Stitch line burned into my brain: “Ohana means family, and family means no one get’s left behind!”
This week on the Pavones Yoga Center Teacher Training Facebook page, (a place where all of the folks who went through the 200-hr YTT stay connected), I had a Lilo and Stitch Moment. One student—the fabulous Amanda Brook (See: True Life: I’m a yoga teacher with Amanda!), shared some great news about her future path. While I was glad for her announcement, what really brought joy to my heart was not only seeing all of the supportive comments she received from other graduates, but the familial teasing that ensued between two of the other Teacher Trainees. Without having seen each other in two years, and despite being in two separate countries, their is still an intimacy that lets us tease each other like brother and sisters (1 guy, 14 girls!). The Pavones YTT class is still there for each other, and still around to make a laugh, or listen to a cry. I credit that to the in depth nature of our training—the space created for serious self-inquiry provided by our wonderful guides, and the trust and community they built to allow us to share our own self-discoveries. Through activities like journaling, listening exercises, satsang, and ceremonies, we we’re able to practice svadhyaya (self-study) and have a safe space to explore. I think I speak for many when I say shared with those 15 people much more of my true self than I’ve shared with even some of my long time friends. From the conversations around dinner, to long walks on the beach, to even my own mid-training existential crisis—teachers and students alike were there to share and listen. I am so grateful to the instructors of PYC, and my cohort of yoga teacher graduates—you are my Ohana, my family, and no one will ever be left behind.