I haven’t written here for a few weeks because I’ve been struggling to put into words how this apprenticeship has been going. It’s been absolutely exhilarating and completely soul-crushing.
For one thing, it’s killing my yoga practice. I’m now assisting the classes that I usually take as a student and I haven’t been able to find classes to replace them with at my studio. Not that there aren’t tons of classes—there just aren’t many like that one. And even if there were, I don’t always have the time to take them anyway. Then, on those nights that I can take the class I usually assist, I feel self-conscious. I’m afraid that the students who usually see me standing in front of the room are eying my practice and judging me. I’m absolutely tripping over my own ego—I know that—because no one gives a crap what my practice looks like. They’re too busy focusing on their own. But I haven’t successfully found a way to get out of my head yet.
I suppose that’s why one of our assignments is to establish a home practice.
That’s going a little better. I’ve managed to carve out a small space in the den to do a 20-minute practice a few days a week. Putting together a sequence for myself has been interesting because I realized I’m definitely more gentle on myself than I am on my students. Either that or I’m just lazy without anyone to hold me accountable! (I’m guessing it’s the latter.)
Meanwhile, I feel more comfortable as an assistant, although I feel absolutely inadequate teaching on my own. I know the asana points, I know how to instruct them, but when I get in front of a class, the voices of teachers past and present populate my head and I try to mimic their smooth, soothing intonations full of patience and kindness. Honestly, it feels unnatural so I get flustered and start flubbing the instruction. Public speaking is hard enough for me, but when I get rattled I have a hell of a time recovering. I realized that I’m more comfortable teaching in a more straightforward manner, which is ironic, because those aren’t the teachers I gravitate toward. I’m working to find my voice—not mimic my mentor’s—and be comfortable with it, whatever it is.
This training has shoved me so far out of my comfort zone that I’m practically vibrating with discomfort. I knew it would happen, but I can’t find any ease or relief yet and I’m agitated and cranky.
I saw this quote the other day: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
If that’s true, I’m living a hell of a life right now.