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The Transformative Power of Connection

We all feel pain. Last weekend, my new Hatha teacher training started and as we went around the circle introducing ourselves for the first time, students bravely and candidly shared some of the struggles they've faced: grief, depression, discrimination, abuse, assault, anxiety, disordered eating, miscarriages, divorce and cancer. The pain takes on different external forms but suffering is universal.

The same students also shared how their pain led them to yoga as a way to cope. They found strength and solace on the mat and transformed their suffering into triumph over their difficulties and limitations. Their life changed for the better and took on a whole new sense of purpose. Now, with gratitude and humility, they are fulfilling a deep soul desire to give back and to be of service by passing on the healing gifts of yoga to others. Looking back, they can see how their pain was a catalyst on their Hero's Journey.

HappyTree's Hatha Teacher Training, class of 2016

Community and connection are paramount to transformation. We cannot heal in a vaccuum. Students regularly tell me how the HappyTree community and trainings were pivotal in creating a clear vision of what their purpose was in life and what they wanted to accomplish. Most of all, it gave them the courage to make the changes to get there.

As a social entrepreneur, I'm so proud that our community supports, uplifts and encourages people to discover and express who they really are. Not only are they living meaningful and fulfilling lives by using their gifts, but they're also helping others in the process - creating a positive ripple effect throughout society.

HYTT video: 2015 Hatha YTT grauate, Dave Sullivan, talks about how the training changed his life.

"The HappyTree teacher training helped me find my purpose and passion. It gave me the courage to follow my dreams and make the concrete changes for it to happen."

In her latest blog post, Holistic Healthcare Practitioner, Melanie Halpert, talks about how the HappyTree community was pivotal in her own metamorphosis:

"Though my practice was deeply personal, though it was me who made the effort to show up to class each and every time, and though I was the one who was ultimately committed to change, I truly could never have achieved what I did without the genuine support and encouragement from my instructors and fellow students.

Finding my niche within a welcoming, nourishing community allowed me to feel safe enough to open, to be vulnerable, to navigate the throes of metamorphosis and to come out for the better on the other side. After more than 300 classes between 2007 and 2009, and forever a member of what is sentimentally referred to as the “Season One Original Cast & Crew”, the amazing Melanie Richards and the thriving, now 8 year old HappyTree Yoga will always hold a very special place in my heart."

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Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Social Entrepreneurship category of the Notable Awards! I am so grateful for your support. We're in the home stretch, so please vote for me again today and tomorrow. Voting closes January 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm :)


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