I don’t like to do things unless I know I’m going to do them well.
I know that about me.
It’s not a great trait—in fact, it’s pretty limiting—but I’m aware of it and try to move forward, knowing that’s going to crop up from time to time.
That’s what makes signing up for a yoga teacher training program so out of character for me.
I haven’t been practicing that long—less than 2 years—so I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I feel I should know to start doing a program like this.
But I’m doing it anyway.
I just completed my first weekend of a 200-hour program and it feels great. I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. Excited. Happy. And ridiculously sore.
Each day starts with a two-and-a-half-hour workout. We’re not just doing poses—we’re holding them for what feels like an eternity while the teachers go over all the points to keep in mind while doing that pose—where your arms should be in relation to your shoulders, making sure your pelvis is stable, foot placement, and a million of other minor but crucial adjustments to make your practice safe and effective.
There comes a point about 45 minutes into it where down dog or a half push-up feels good. (If you’re familiar with yoga when have you ever thought Chaturanga felt good?) Child’s Pose is such a relief that you want to cry.
And then there’s the anatomy and philosophy. And all of the reading. The reading will be endless. They give you five manuals—and these are in addition to the six books we had to buy ahead of time. And there’s homework—anatomy homework, writing out scripts for instructing a specific pose, philosophy reading, anatomy reading.
And then the part I fear the most—instructing the class. As part of our final we’ll have to teach the entire class one pose. It’s not going to be easy. This weekend we paired up with another student and had to teach each other mountain pose. The info was in my head, but it didn’t come out of my mouth in any kind of organized, coherent way. Forgetting things was bad enough, but when I realized I forgot, I’d swear. I’m pretty sure saying “Shit” to an entire class if forbidden. That hurdle is going to be harder than dumping all the “um”s from my speech. I’ll probably end all of my classes with “Namaste, Motherfuckers” if I’m not careful.
The great thing about yoga—the part I’m fully embracing—is that there’s no judgement only self-acceptance. (I know—it sounds so damn touchy-feely, but it’s kind of a nice principle.) I could do tree pose like a bad ass on Saturday, but couldn’t balance for shit on Sunday. It is what it is. You don’t judge yourself. You don’t get frustrated. You just move on because the next time will be totally different.
That mantra is going get me through the program. No, I don’t know all there is to know about yoga—that’s why I’m there. The teachers aren’t there to judge me—they’re there to teach me. I’m not the most competent yogi (yet), but I’m not totally out of my league either. (Yet. I have nightmares about being the only person who can’t do a handstand.)
It’s going to be a lot of work. A lot. But I think I need to push myself like this. Mentally and physically.
Wish me luck.