This group of dedicated yogis decided to take their practice to the next level by participating in The Yoga Sanctuary’s Teacher Training Program. Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing you to them with short interviews followed by their “yoga story.” Each and everyone one them is a true inspiration!

Teacher Training GraduateWendy Salafia: When yoga was becoming a solid part of my life, the idea of one day teaching would float through me. I love the practice. My teachers were a huge inspiration. When Rosario, my husband, and I moved to our final house in 2016, I was faced with the prospect of what to do with the rest of my life. My children are all on their own, and now it was my turn to do something for me, something that fulfilled me and nourished my soul. One day I was half-heartedly searching online for a local YTT program, just to gather information. And there it was, on the Yoga Alliance website, The Yoga Sanctuary was offering YTT beginning in December. And it was only being offered every other year! Now is my chance, I thought, though I didn’t decide immediately. Committing to YTT would lead me out of my comfort zone. Was I ready? Could I actually see myself teaching? I toyed with the idea, talked with loved ones, meditated on it. At the end of it all I knew that if I didn’t take this chance I would regret it. Now is my time.

TYS: Has being in the program changed your yoga practice in any way?

WS: My practice has opened and deepened.  Prior to YTT, I had a difficult time with meditation. I feel that actually learning the practice of meditation helped to break through my barriers. Sitting in stillness comes easily and, if I do say so, quite naturally to me now. My asana practiced has mellowed in a wonderful way. “Power” vinyasa used to be my go-to practice; learning from the ground up to build upon basic poses has caused me to slow it down, dial back the intensity. And that feels really good!

TYS: What has been the most rewarding part of the program so far?

WS: Falling deeper and deeper into the study of yoga has validated that this is where I’m supposed to be, right here, right now. My classmates— being on this journey with those who are like minded has created a bond very much like family for me. They’ve helped me, held me, supported me and I’ll be forever grateful for their presence in my life.

TYS: What has been the most challenging part of the program so far?

WS: The program is intense. Practicing yoga at home or in a class is one thing, learning all that is involved in the practice of yoga is an entirely different entity. It’s been a humbling experience.

TYS: Where do you see yourself taking now that the program is complete?

WS: I love this question. One question on the YTT application was if teaching yoga is the primary aim of my taking the program or was it to simply deepen my practice and knowledge. At the time, it was unclear to me where YTT would lead, so my response was that I felt the answer to the question would present itself upon completion of the course.  And it did. I want to teach. I want to share the art of the practice that I love so dearly. I’m 100% confident that teaching yoga is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

TYS: Do you have any suggestions for someone that is considering a yoga teacher training program?

WS: If your practice is a passion and you love to learn, do this. Be open minded and committed. Prepare yourself for a journey that, if you let it, has the power to change your life.

Read about Wendy’s full path below….

Yogi of the Month—Wendy Salafia

I became a mom at 17, and the next 25-plus years were happily devoted to raising four human beings that, thankfully, turned out rather well. And after almost 30 years, my husband is more than ever my best friend. I am now known as “Nonni” to two grandchildren who I adore beyond all reason. Two years ago, my husband and I moved to Florida. Now it’s our turn to devote our lives to us.

I took my first yoga class over ten years ago just to try it out. I didn’t fall in love. About three years later, I tried it again. That time it felt right, so I continued. Now I practice every day—not only asana but also meditation and observance of the yamas and niyamas.

Physically, sciatica used to be a challenge for me, and so was my inability to “be still.” I no longer struggle with sciatica, and I have learned to be comfortable and content in stillness all due to my yoga practice. Yoga tunes up and tones my physical body as well as my mental and emotional body. My body feels stronger and more supple from asana. And mentally/emotionally, yoga has taught me to be more present, compassionate, and forgiving of myself and others. It’s taught me the importance of letting go and accepting things that are not in my power to control.

Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, is my favorite yoga posture. The very first time I was brought into this pose and my teacher aligned my body in proper form, it just felt so good. As it strengthens and opens my body, it also calms my mind.

I feel as though yoga never really leaves me. When I’m not doing asana, I’m living the yamas and niyamas to the best of my ability. Yoga is not an activity that has its place in my life. Yoga is my life.

Outside of The Yoga Sanctuary, I volunteer at the local branch of the library, which is something that I love doing. I love books, and I love to read. Being loose in a library is akin to being a kid let loose in a candy store. All of those books and stories—knowledge—right at my fingertips!

Favorite quote: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!” —Hunter S. Thompson