“This is where this began”

“This is where this began

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Toronto, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and The “AUM” Project.

It’s 5am and the alarm goes off. Time to get up and ready for Day 2 of my 30 Day Meditation Challenge.  I am prepared from the night before, with a theme of intuition and inner guidance.  My OSHO inspirational quote has been chosen, the intent for the class decided, and this time is just about getting ready.

Class goes great, and as we are about to finish I find I am caught up in a moment to myself, contemplating everything that has happened in my life that has led to this exact moment with my students.  Like most of us, I typically spend my day multitasking and going from one thing to the next.  One moment I am coming up with plans to move KPI’s (key performance indicators) in the right direction, then joining a conference call to discuss OTP (on time performance) to then switching gears and nurturing an issue amongst my Managers . Fast forward to now being in a room with my students leading a meditation on letting one’s intuition guide them in life and asking my students to commit the next 30 days (well, 29…) of their lives to explore where their personal stream of guidance might take them.

And out of nowhere, a thought surfaces.  How did I get here?  The studio has been up and running for almost 8 years and I have been leading meditation classes for almost 8 years.  My mind drifts to the very beginning when I went to Rishikesh India in 2005 to train with my teachers Yogrishi Vishvektu (Vishva) and Chetana (Jessica).

This is where this began.

I used to live in Calgary before my company moved me to Toronto to spearhead our growth out here. A friend of mine, a colleague that I worked with, invited me to a yoga class that took place in a heated room.   This was my first introduction to yoga of any kind. And as most of us experience, I got attached pretty quickly and fell in love with how it made me feel.  However, the yoga I was practicing was quite limited in pranayam (breathing) and asana (posture), and I wanted to learn more then what was being offered.

I considered going to California and being trained in the style that studio offered, but one of the teachers told me about World Conscious Yoga Family, now Akhanda Yoga.  She had trained with Vishva and Chetana, and said that if I wanted to have the full experience of a yoga teacher training program, with the authenticity that comes with that (or should come with that), I should connect with them and go to India.

And that is what I did.

I remember both of them coming to Calgary and we agreed to meet up for tea one morning before I went to work.  There I am in my office attire and there they are in their beautiful traditional clothes.  I remember feeling super self-conscious, but after all, I was who I was and they were who they were and all of it was okay.  A life lesson in personal acceptance, but that is for another time.

We connected instantly and I registered.

Lucky for me, we happened to be on the same flight to Delhi that fall which was a blessing in disguise.  It made it comfortable for me to have them with me on that journey, assist me through the Delhi experience, onto the train and into Rishikesh. A month of training began and while India was a struggle for me, the training was not. They offered an authentic honest experience of yoga.

No ego.  No drama.

Chetana (Jessica), Program Coordinator for Akhanda Yoga has almost 15 years of experience in designing the curricula and manuals for continuing education and YTT programs. I have appreciated learning from her and am in awe with how she helped build a strong and successful foundation for Akhanda Yoga. She’s an incredible writer, Yogi and mother, and I value her friendship deeply.  She is now an Advisor to the Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Trainer Qualifications Working Group as part of the Yoga Alliance Standards Review Project.  Incredibly passionate about the pursuit of excellence in ethics and standards within the yoga community, they are lucky to have her.  To learn more about Chetana (Jessica) and her work, visit www.holdingtheinvisiblestring.com

My deepest gratitude to Vishva, for all that he has taught me.  I have only taken a 200HR YTT course with him, and everything that I have built has started from his teaching. The foundation he has provided me has changed my life and has helped guide me as I guide my students.   I’m deeply grateful for him and his dedication to yoga.  As people in the Western world we have ability to change careers as we wish, and enter into different fields should we want to.  In fact, in the corporate world, moving around is encouraged.  But this is Vishva’s life work.  It is a true passion for him. You won’t get the flash, you won’t get the sales pitch, you won’t get the inauthenticity that sometimes comes from the world of yoga. You will get humility, truth, a man living the path, passionate about the success of his teachers and the healing of the planet.

As I finished my meditation class this morning, I end the class the way I always do; chanting “aum, followed by 3 “shanti, shanti, shanti” which means peace. I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the knowledge, the understanding and the gift of sharing that with my students, as it was shared with me.

Thinking about taking a yoga teacher training course in India and looking for authentic knowledge and experience? Visit www.akhandayoga.com.  In 20 years of working with my company, I have only referred one person, as I rarely put my name behind what I don’t fully know to be true.  But I put my name behind Vishva, Chetana (Jessica) and Akhanda Yoga.  With the deepest gratitude and appreciation, I put my name behind it.

OM,

Jacqualine Haller (Jaya)

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