The Gift of Being Seen by Sydney Armistead

A guest blog post by Sydney Armistead, RYT-500

Sydney Armistead.jpg

I am shocked at how far I have come. As I was opening up this document to start my teacher training blog assignment, I mistakenly opened a file called “Untitled document” – a document I realized I created over two years ago. I initially decided to close it right away without reading it, but after some pause, I decided to keep it open. I read the whole thing. I was shocked at how sad I was at the time. I was in a deep hole with no hope or knowledge on how to get out. 

Without going into deep personal detail, I was lonely and very tired. It was the first time that I realized that I was exasperated by the monotony of my life. On the surface, everything looked good. Actually, everything was perfect – married to a great man, healthy daughter, second healthy baby on the way, nice shelter, caring friends, living in a wonderful city, and a large loving family. It should have been enough but it wasn’t. And man, I did a stellar job beating myself up because that life should be enough. I also did a stellar job of hiding how unhappy I was. I was paralyzed by being so free. 

Here I sit two years later at a Starbucks in Fort Worth, TX, completing the last of my 300 hour teacher training requirements. I am a staunch believer that there are no mistakes, and without a doubt there was no mistake in opening up that document. I sat down to write about something - not exactly sure what - and now I know that I need to write about where I was and where I am now thanks to my teacher. 

I had always wanted to be a yoga teacher - something I never told anyone. Not a single soul. And I wanted it so much, but for some reason I kept it close. I can remember daydreaming about it in the car by myself listening to tunes, thinking “yep, I would play this song in my class.” 

Early in 2015, I was researching yoga teacher training programs in Dallas. I was also considering buying a studio from a friend who was moving. I was making moves to do both when I found out I was pregnant with my second child. One thing I knew was that I was not ready to do all 3 of those things at the same time. I put teacher training on hold. Thankfully, the studio did not work out. With a healthy baby boy delivered, fast forward to June of 2016 – the month I started my teacher training journey. 

My 200 hour was a wonderful experience and exactly what I needed at that time. It allowed me to scratch the surface of this path that I find myself a part of plus I met really cool people that are still a big part of my life. For example, I met this woman who came in to teach the pranayama (breathing) portion of the training. We had an instant connection, and once again, it was no mistake. For the next 6 months she taught me how to breath and how to connect to myself. I would go home and practice all of these ancient breathing exercises that made me feel real, raw, and clear. I would occasionally visit her sweet studio in Weatherford, TX because I was fascinated by her and in love with her style of teaching, technique, and her ability to connect to people. The connection was something I had never seen before. She is one of the few people that can set aside ego so that person, student, and human are truly seen. Because isn’t that what we all want? To be seen? 

This was my experience meeting and getting to know Sandra. She made me feel that I was seen. As I type this and think about the “Untitled document”, being seen was what I needed. She was the only person I allowed to see me in a long time, plus she has this magical ability to see you in the exact light in which you need to be seen. 

On January 20, 2017 I attended the first weekend of my 300 hour teacher training lead by my teacher Sandra Vanatko at Indra’s Grace in Weatherford, TX. Over that following year I was immersed in learning about the ancient sivananda lineage of hatha yoga, some kundalini, loads of pranayama (my favorite), emotional release techniques, and how to let people feel good and be seen. I wish I could describe in more detail what it has been like and maybe I will one day. 

For now I know that it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I am forever grateful to my teacher. This is my love letter to her. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you. 

Some people say that teacher training changes you. In my experience it has helped me come back to myself when I thought I certain parts of me were lost forever due to this strange process of growing up. I feel comfortable again, and I feel like me. It feels good. 

My son is now 2 years-old. He was 4 months-old when I started my first teacher training. It is staggering to think about my journey in those terms of time. I am interested to see what the next time table looks like.