Why I Teach

By Valerie (Dasi) Light Trautlein. Interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney

Becoming a Svaroopa® yoga teacher happened to me in stages.  I started practicing yoga at age 20.  In my mid-20s, I had a profound experience that detached me from the world.  I felt there was nothing left.  But I thought, “I’m here, so I’ll serve God.”  Then I realized I wanted to teach yoga. 

I tried all different kinds of yoga and took a Svaroopa® yoga class.  I fell in love with Svaroopa® yoga and wanted to incorporate it into my home practice.  I borrowed The Primary Practice DVD that first day!  First, I went through the whole DVD, doing the poses.  Re-watching the DVD, I paused it many times to take detailed notes on each pose.  Thus, I could practice them after I returned the DVD.

In 2008, I realized that Svaroopa® yoga was what I wanted to teach.  This happened when my mind quieted completely while I lay in Jathara Parivrttanasana (Rotated Stomach Pose).  Less than a month later, I was off to take Foundations of Svaroopa® Yoga.  My local Svaroopa® yoga teachers had opened the door.  Inside was the Guru.  Once I met Swami Nirmalananda (Rama at the time), I couldn’t stop thinking about her.  She had knowledge I wanted.  She had a deeper presence and a capacity to impact so many people so effectively.  In my Foundations course there were 65 people.  She was impacting all of them.

Over the years, I had tried different kinds of work and odd jobs.  I’d kept thinking, “There must be a career for me out there.”  I tried social work in group homes and being a chiropractic assistant and managing the office.  I cashiered and managed a store.  I taught preschool and people with developmental disabilities.  For a time, I was a self-employed healer.  Nothing worked until I gave myself to teaching Svaroopa® yoga.  Teaching Svaroopa® yoga gives me everything I’ve ever wanted, while I’m doing my job.

Teaching makes my own path easier.  My understanding of the teachings increases.  I understand now that when Swami Nirmalanandaji repeats something it’s really important.  Teaching deepens my experience of the importance of releasing tension around the spine.  And More — teaching brings me closer to my Guru.  The Grace of the lineage is flowing through me as I’m teaching.

But, bottom line, I teach Svaroopa® yoga because I have been blessed with Sadguru Nirmalanandaji as my teacher.  As my Guru, she opens me teaching in a deeply rooted, spiritual lineage.  In Yoga, Sweat and Mysticism, she writes:

…if you read the ancient yogic sages, they say yoga is about who you are, deep inside…  This is yoga — pure mysticism, meaning it is about the mystery of life, the mystery that is hidden inside every human heart and being.

Svaroopa® yoga offers upliftment, freedom and choice.  You learn how to live in a new way.  You honor yourself and your own Divine Self (svaroopa), inherent within you.

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