Day 1: Bend It Like Brahma


This is the name of my new Blog (new as in “coming soon to a WordPress near you”), which is starting right here, right now. It is a record of my personal transformation during a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. It is not representational of everyone’s experience, but you might find some nuggets of truth or funny stories about life that leave you feeling a little lighter, a little less alone or a little more aware of your own truth. I hope you enjoy the journey with me!


Tom Kelly, Founder of The Soul of Yoga

“Welcome to The Soul Family!”

This was our welcoming greeting from Tom, the spoiled son of a famous pro golfer, who spent 25 years as a monk in the Self Realization Fellowship, otherwise known as Swami’s, in Encinitas. He is the co-founder of the Soul of Yoga where I will spend the next 4 months in Hatha Yoga Teacher Training.

Our morning started with Tom’s Bhakti Yoga class. We filtered into the room of typical soft wood flooring and colorful images of Indian deities painted on the walls, to him playing the harmonium alone. When he opened his eyes, there were 15 people laid out on mats and 1 person in a wheelchair before him.

“Look at what I’ve manifested!” he exclaimed with a grin that reminded me of Smeagol before taking the Ring. This morning, like any other, as we were to learn through the next 90 minutes of timeless play with Tom, was “a moment of unspeakable love.”

He is the grandfather of the family that makes The Soul beat. They run the gamut of bliss bunnies, earth mamas and old dudes with ponytails. All are rock stars on the Encinitas scene and know how to take yoga back to its purpose: the path of self-enlightenment.

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go…”

All 9 of us teacher trainees danced, giggled and bent our way through the class, only to meet back up in our study room with all of the studio’s teachers eagerly awaiting us to open the commencement circle. Our first exercise was to “greet” each other. As one of the male teachers demonstrated to us the proper technique for this salutation, one of the bliss bunnies jolted up and said, “the tissues!” What we were in for seemed much more serious than a handshake after that.

All 18 of us proceeded to walk around the circle of chairs and “greet” the others by holding their hands and gazing into their eyes silently for as long as a minute each. As soon as the director of the program came up to me, I started to ball like a tripped toddler. Then, the woman to my left began to sob and just like that, the whole room burst out in a river of tears. Yes, the tissues were a good call. We had entered the soul of yoga.

Anyone you ask will say that yoga teacher training is a journey of the self, not just a platform for trim torsos and aspiring gurus to take the stage before their bowing, spandexed fans. I don’t know where this road is going, but I know that it will not be a detour.

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