As I mentioned earlier, for the next five months I will be spending every other weekend immersed in a yoga teacher training program. Today marks the completion of weekend number one.
I embarked on this adventure scared, trepidatious, unsure of what to expect, excited for whatever was to come, and somehow confident that this particular adventure was exactly the path I needed to take right now. With weekend number one complete, I already feel less fear (sorta … more on that below) and an even stronger sense of confidence in myself and my ability to rise to this challenge. Already I feel changed and we have barely left the starting gate. (Pretty cool feeling!)
Oh yeah, that fear thing…
Today at the start of practice we did an exercise that involved finding our own voice and speaking our truth. It was designed to get us to verbalize our inner voice, something which I find to be extremely uncomfortable. In fact, it was the first thing we did during teacher training that really pushed my buttons.
When our illustrious leader announced what we would be doing, my immediate reaction was:
GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE.
Seriously, I thought about leaving. I made it through two days, I rationalized, that’s not bad … right? Then I got angry at my teacher: “how dare she make us do something so uncomfortable?”, I thought. Then I got upset at myself: “how can someone who is so outspoken on behalf of others become mute every time she is asked to speak for herself?” Then I fantasized some more about leaving, just running away from the room, the program, yoga, myself, all of it.
Then a strange thing happened … I started speaking. Not loudly, not clearly, and I certainly wasn’t saying anything profound, but I was speaking. Just like that, doing something that terrified me. We continued the exercise for what felt like ages (probably more like 5 minutes). Speaking didn’t get any easier and I didn’t progress from the barely audible whisper that I started with, but I kept doing it anyway.
When I had a moment to reflect, after the intensity of this experience had dissipated a bit, a few thoughts came to mind:
- I signed up for teacher training because I wanted growth, but growth doesn’t come from doing what is comfortable; growth — whether emotional growth or growth in a physical pose — comes from meeting our edge, becoming used to how that edge feels, then slowly finding a little more space to move towards a new deeper edge.
- Fear morphs, changes shape, and melts away as we sit with it. Sometimes just by giving yourself a bit of time to pause and feel whatever it is you need to feel (anger, frustration, fight/flight, sadness, etc.), you might find that a new deeper edge becomes accessible.
- The story I tell myself about “not having a voice” is not exactly 100% true. It wasn’t a loud voice and it wasn’t a comfortable experience, but I did manage to speak on behalf of myself. Maybe it’s time to start reexamining that old story.
And, just like that, teacher training has officially begun.