I attended the 6th annual Yoga Service Council Annual Conference at the majestic OMEGA Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, this May. This was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had since becoming a yoga teacher two years ago. It was empowering being around other like-spirited humans absolutely vested in their own spiritual path and healing in order to be of service helping others heal through yoga. There were yoga teachers, social workers, psychologists, meditation teachers, researchers, doctors, and spiritual activists all gathered together with the same intention. The unifying factor was yoga service offered in the spirit of supporting the empowerment and well-being of those engaged in the practice.
The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” It was invigorating to be a small part of a much bigger goal. Root to Rise is making an impact on students in Oklahoma and Arkansas, while others are doing the same from coast to coast.
While at the conference, I attended workshops to better equip me as a yoga teacher in the area of trauma and enjoyed locally sourced, organic meals, attended meditation sessions, made some new friends, and had heart to heart conversations about changing this world. I also set intentions. I’d like to attend the YSC again to recharge, reconnect, and recenter. And honestly, me being at the OMEGA institute was a dream come true. I’d be crazy to not go back! I’d like to become Y12SR (Yoga 12 Step Recovery) certified to better serve those I teach. I’d like to attend the 300 hr Ashtanga yoga teacher training with Andrew Eppler this Fall for the same reason. And mostly, I intend to continue teaching with compassion, remembering that, “We don’t use the body to get into a pose…we use the pose to get into the body.”
Who knows what the future holds, but I know this – I love where yoga is taking me. Teaching for Root to Rise is one of the better decisions I’ve made.
-Chelsea Patton (Oklahoma yoga teacher)