This weekend marked the halfway point of my teacher training program.
Three months down, three more to go.
For the most part, this has been an amazing experience, full of intense highs (I finally managed to do a handstand, headstand and forearm stand!) and a few lows. I have challenged myself physically, working through injuries and exhaustion, and mentally. I’ve had days when I’ve wanted to quit because I was struggling with a pose (I hate you Wheel). I’ve had days when I just wanted to give up because the pain of my sciatica/Piriformis Syndrome was making everything a gagillion times harder. But I managed to let those moments pass and stay present and stick with it.
Breathe, wait. In yoga as in life, the next moment will come along and those feelings pass.
Three months in and the workouts are incredibly challenging and the homework is intense. Since the beginning, we’ve had to write teaching scripts for different poses—basically writing out how we would talk students through various poses in class. Now we’ve graduated to having to write entire sequences that lead up to one major pose like handstand or shoulder stand. It’s not nearly as easy as experienced instructors make it look. This is all in addition to staying on top of our anatomy and philosophy assignments and regularly going to classes outside of our training. And working full time.
Needless to say, it’s getting serious and the entire class is in various stages of breaking through and breaking down.
This weekend was heavy on breakdowns.
One of my classmates started sobbing after philosophy on Saturday and it continued through to the end of Sunday’s class. Most of us were pretty understanding and sympathetic. But mess with our Savasana and prepare to lose all sympathy. The only thing that gets us through some of these workouts is knowing we’ll have 10 minutes or so of total bliss. The lights go out, I put my eye mask on and drop off for a few minutes. It’s our reward for all of our hard work.
On Sunday, the kid (yes, he’s only about 19) came to class but started crying again during our quiz and left the room. He didn’t return until after our workout, right before Savasana. After two and a half hours of twists, we were literally wrung out and totally looking forward to having 10 minutes of total stillness and some quiet. But as soon as the lights when out, he started sighing heavily, and then the sobbing began again.
I almost laughed out loud at the absurdity of it. (I know—that’s not very yogic.)
Some of my other classmates were downright pissed, wondering why he didn’t stay outside until the lunch break because it seemed selfish to be so disruptive.
Meanwhile, a few classmates are sidelined with injuries and that’s taking its toll on their psyches.
Others are really struggling with keeping up with the work in class and out. Some aren’t even trying to do some of the poses.
The energy was just bad.
It was the first time I walked out of there feeling angry. It was the first time I didn’t walk out feeling positive about something. And I’m not the only one. You could tell by how people quickly packed their stuff and got the hell out. No one chatted, no one lingered. We bolted.
But before we did. our instructors felt compelled to lecture us about taking this seriously. They felt compelled to remind us that it’s not enough to just show up and sit on our mats. We have to do the work. We have to complete our homework. We have to take our quizzes seriously. We have to study for our finals (Yes, plural. One take home and one in class.). We’re going to have to teach poses to our classmates and we have to actually try.
They were right, but it just felt bad.
I hope morale improves.
I hope people can remember to breathe and let the moment pass.
Otherwise, it could be a long three months.