“The practice of Yoga brings us face to face with the extraordinary complexity of our own being.”
Becoming a yoga teacher is a path I never expected myself to find myself on, yet here I am. Musings turned into a dream, and that dream turned into a plan, and that plan finally turned into action. I have recently begun my yoga teacher training journey, and holy cow, what a journey it shall be!
Over these next 9 months, I will complete a rigorous daily home study everyday and attend 9 long weekend modules. This is not a "spend two weeks in Bali and come back an enlightened yoga teacher" type of program. This is intended to be a very comprehensive, transforming experience... after all, change, growth, and learning all take time! (For those curious, I am attending YogaMotion, a Bozeman, MT based program led by Nancy Ruby.) As I prepare for my second upcoming training weekend, I thought I would reflect upon my first weekend of training and my first month of home study!
Even though we began on a Friday afternoon, I had my bag and mat packed and ready to go by 8 am. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.... Flashbacks to the first days of school showed a similar image to the nervous yogini pacing around her living room... "What if I don't know anything? What if I don't make friends? Wait, do I even know where it is? What if its too hard?"
Not surprisingly, however, when we all gathered together that evening, most everyone was experiencing the same batch of nerves! What followed was an incredibly powerful, challenging, and information-packed weekend that left me both exhausted and empowered.
A few notes on the weekend:
*There are five generations of people attending my yoga teacher training. Five! How incredible is it that we all have such different experiences in both life and yoga, and we all found ourselves in the same place.
*Tadasana is such an active pose! I had spent some time working on this pose in the past, but there are so many important details to pay attention to.
*It was eye-opening the differences in experience during a relaxation breath exercise. What may calm and ground you may cause others discomfort or anxiety. We all have our own unique experience with yoga.
*What way is your pelvis tilting? My posture quickly improved once I started focusing on pelvic tilt, and since then I constantly check in with my alignment (I've corrected my posture twice so far in just righting this blog post!).
*Approaching yoga with a beginners mind is a great way to reset yourself, however frustrating it may be at the time...my ego definitely popped up during some of the more challenging practices: "Why am I having such a hard time with this? I've been practicing yoga for a long time!" By recognizing this was merely ego, however, I was able to better recognize the difference between what your mind wants you do you in your yoga practice versus what your body will best benefit from that day.
Thus far, home study has been difficult. I still have all my good study habits from college filed away, but actually executing them is a definite work in progress. I came down with a cold that knocked me on my butt for about a week, and then dealing with some serious and sad family matters has made for a somewhat turbulent home life, all of which put me back a handful of assignments. Then came the dread and doubt: "Oh no, I'm so far behind. I'll never catch up. How will I have enough time? Do I catch up first or do I work on today's assignments? How bad is it that my personal practice is lacking lately? What should I focus on? Can I actually handle this?"
As much as I'd like to say I woke up one morning, realized I was being silly, and got all of my work done, I can't. The shift didn't come overnight. I started slowly chipping away at assignments, sometimes in full swing and sometimes in little bits. Mostly importantly, I tried to stop being so hard on myself. Perfection isn't going to happen this quickly; frankly, it's never going to. New habits aren't going to form instantly just because I will them too. This is not just learning to be a yoga teacher. This a transformation of self. Change and transformation can bring about great things, but they can also be difficult and uncomfortable. I am learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Trust the process. Trust myself.