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.