About two weeks ago I had a conversation with Michelle about my concerns regarding the teacher training program, which can be summed up as follows: I’m scared that our time together will end and I still won’t feel as though I have found my voice.
I told Michelle:
I feel like I might not getting what I need out of this program. There is still SOOO much I don’t know. How will I ever feel ready to teach a yoga class?
I feel like I’ve been here before — on the precipice of major change, but unable to make that scary leap of faith required to get to the next place. It feels like the same thing is happening now. I want to make the leap, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Wasn’t this whole yoga teacher training thing supposed to be transformational? I’m not feeling transformed.
“Patience,” she told me. “We’re not done yet.”
This conversation (and my tough week) weighed heavily as we embarked on our eighth teacher training weekend.
Chakra Friday with Madeline was up first. We covered Chakras 5, 6, and 7 from 6-9pm on Friday night. As soon as Madeline started class, I started bawling on my mat. Silent crocodile tears streaming down my face every time we sat still. Why was I crying? I’m not sure. It felt both cathartic and messy.
By Saturday I had cried every tear there was to cry, but I still felt more emotional than usual. We practiced, talked about the Bhagavad Gita, women’s health, and prenatal, and then spent two hours with Alicia chanting and singing Kirtan (aka, pretty much my worst nightmare). How can a person with no voice chant and sing, I wondered, while I chanted and sung with my classmates.
Sunday was pose lab time, where we got to pick apart Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog), Parsvottanasana (Pyramid), Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged forward fold), Ustrasana (Camel), Parsva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulderstand) and Bakasana (Crow). Analysis instead of feeling? “Woohoo!” said my left brain.
And then, just like that, weekend 8 was done.
Reflections from the weekend (and beyond).
These experiences (the weekend — my conversation with Michelle — life) left me with so much to think about. Though much is still swirling around in my head, here are a few thoughts that are well-formed enough to share here:
- 200 hours is really short! I know, I know, it feels like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things, 200 hours is a mere drop in the bucket. For a little perspective: my law school required a minimum of 1,232 hours of in-class instruction and my hair stylist told me that the state of California requires 1,600 hours for licensure. We’re really just scratching the surface here — barely entering the matrix, if you will.
- I never feel ready to try new things. It’s just not part of my constitution. I definitely did not feel ready to practice law after all those hours in law school. I could spend the next two years talking about teaching yoga, but the fear would not magically go away. That said, I realized that I needed teach anyway, and I did! And I did it again. I’ve now taught 5 hours of yoga (woohoo!) and you know what? … it’s actually really fun! Even though I don’t know everything and even though I often say silly things. Teaching is a great way to connect with people, to share something I love, and to learn more about myself and others.
- We may not be done yet, but I’ve already been radically transformed. Let’s see, I have: chanted, sung, danced, spoken in front of a group, taught a real live yoga class, cried in public, felt feelings, touched people, and blogged about all of it … among other things. And while I’m definitely not going to be karaokeing anytime soon, I do not feel anywhere near the same level of anxiety and fear around these things as I used to feel. That’s huge. And we still have three more teacher training weekends together!
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland