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"Flat Tires", by Susana Laborde-Blaj

I overheard the driver was no longer going to do this route, so today was most likely the last day I exchanged a few words with this kind smiling woman.

Endings and New Beginnings.

A student came into the studio before class, a few days ago, stared at me and said, “Good, you are still the same!” I was puzzled with her comment. Apparently she was happy to see that even if I had come back from the last portion of my training, and was now a Certified Yoga Therapist, accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, I was pretty much the same person she was used to seeing. It is (should be) reassuring to see that students seem to appreciate this old personality who is passionate about yoga, and yet struggles with old insecurities. I have to confess, though, that I wished I would have come back with a certain halo over my head, or a little arrow pointing to me that said “Yes, this is a Certified Yoga Therapist, can’t you see?!” But nothing of the sort. Nope, just me.

I told my husband I was going to eat only Cheetos and watch movies from now on. It had been four + years of intense 2-week sessions and home study, and having graduated felt like four tires of a car deflating and that heaviness of “I- just- can’t- move” that the car might be whispering as a result.

I couldn’t make myself eat Cheetos, I confess, but I did go to Costco and got a huge bag of “Pirate’s Booty”, got Netflix and went through the few movies of interest to me. After my little binging episode, I couldn’t help to go back to kale and quinoa, greens, avocado, chicken and eggs, and reading a novel, and after devouring the last Alexander McCall Smith I surprised myself listening to “Pranayama Unlocked”, the e-course that Gary Kraftsow, my teacher, made accessible to the public, and that I purchased long time ago but didn’t have time to explore. There is no question that I am passionate about this thing called yoga.

Why does this persist?

I remember one of my teachers, Mary Paffard, when she said that sometimes we will find that our practice, instead of offering more answers, generates more questions. This is how I feel. A lovely student shared with me John Lennon’s words, which seem to illustrate this very well: “The more I see, the less I know for sure.

So this is me back from my graduation: just me missing my teacher, my mentor, my sangha, full of not yet articulated questions that probably have no answer. The inner work ahead seems huge, unattainable, unending, difficult, impossible. I hear my teacher’s words: “Find a way in”/ “There is nothing more important than personal practice”/ “Listen to your passion”/”You can’t give what you don’t have”.

There is so much for me to do, and I can’t do it all today. There are guidelines, treasure maps. I review my notes. Mary Hilliker says: “Confidence paired with humility are the things that will carry you along.”

The bus driver is smiling in my memory, saying "Good to see you again".​ She said that to me for the last time today, and it’s ok. She will drive a different route tomorrow, and I will do that as well, in my own way.

At Graduation. Photo courtesy of Santiago Beltran Laborde

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