We’re Not Done Yet

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

16 comments

  1. You words are comforting and noble. Thank you! I am appreciating everyday that simple phrase from our fearless leader, ” I hope you leave here with more questions than you came with”. :) And so the journey continues and it has been a pleasure “walking” with you on this adventure.
    Can’t wait to take your class!

    1. Right back at you Gina. xoxo

  2. I always feel as if when I do or complete xyz, I’ll have all the answers I need and be an expert. You’d think after 30 years I would figure out that this is not how life works! Even the experts don’t feel like experts.

    Love the Alice in Wonderland quote. So fitting and true.

    1. It’s so true. And I knew it already. And yet, I manage to forget and have to “re-learn” every single time!! Glad I’m at least not the only one :)

  3. I love your perspective. Saying at the begininng that you dont feel transformed and then this at the end, “We may not be done yet, but I’ve already been radically transformed.” is reminding me that things dont always feel the way we think they will feel. We’re becoming yoga teachers even though it doesnt feel like it sometimes. I’m so comforted by your words.

    1. I’m just so full of contradictions right now! But I’m also just letting that be the (current) truth.. (I guess it’s samtosha in action. :))

      Glad there is some comfort in here for you… xoxo

  4. I think you write and share so beautifully, it’s like you have found, see and witness it all, thank you again for allowing me to be here in word format bearing witness to you and this awesome journey through, on, over and above so many wonderful parts of life, and this is just one small piece to your beautiful puzzle. Keep learning, about yoga, about you, love all those jumbled up moments, thoughts and emotions, be true, and like Alice believe in the impossible. I connect with so much of what you are saying and going through, and I am not training to be a yoga instructor, I am just me, emotional, broken, but trying to to leave more love and kindness in the path I follow regardless of what I am faced with, love and love deeply is my goal. I admire you and your journey through, remember no one said it was going to be easy, but they do say that it will be worth it. You inspire me so. Thank you again one soul to another – Namaste

    1. Thank you for this comment… your words are so meaningful to me. As is the reminder that it’s safe/good to share the authentic (and often messy) parts of myself because I am in great company and because my experiences will resonate with other people, like you. I feel this deep sense of connection – and yet we have perhaps never met. Much gratitude. <3

      1. I am grateful that my words did not come across as a lecture, I worried about that as I lay in bed last night. I am grateful to have stumbled upon this beautiful blog of you, your heart and soul. I believe that everything happens for a reason, our souls know what they want to experience and the connections we meet along our way. I to feel the connection, and my heart is warmed to know you even without seeing your beautiful face. Embrace the journey.

  5. Robert Webster · · Reply

    It’s been a real pleasure reading your blog during your TT journey! I think you’ve found a couple more callings in your path and they are not dissimilar – Guiding people through a yoga practice and musings of everyday life through your blog. As one of your avid readers, I would encourage you to continue. I know I look forward to it and have seen others do as well. No pressure – only warm thoughts of encouragement. I knew you could do it!

    1. Every time I have the opportunity to welcome a new person to IAY, to make eye contact and smile at them, to tell them that this is a good place to be and to encourage them to keep coming back … I am reminded of you and the gentle way you took me under your wing when I first started showing up at the studio. Your encouragement has been integral to this journey all along and is so so appreciated. Hope all is well on your end. <3

  6. Practice and practice some more. Rebekah you help us feel hopeful because even though you had concerns about being ready to teach, you taught! When does anyone ever feel ready, really, without just trying it on for size. Thanks for sharing your trepidations. You sure aren’t alone.

    1. Thanks Kate!! I’m excited for you teaching this week – wish I could be there. <3

  7. Great post, Bekah! I had a lot of similar feelings during my training. I wanted to know it all, I wanted to feel much more prepared. The fact that you feel that way seems like a good sign to me ;) . Enjoyed this post and will be back for more. Thank you for visiting my blog so I could find out about yours!

    1. Thanks Laura! I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog – love reading about what I have to look forward to. :))

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