The Apprentice

I finally started my apprenticeship this week. On Monday we had our first meeting with our mentor, and she shared what was expected of us over the next six months. We have to assist one class a week, take one of her classes each week and then take 34 additional classes over the course of the program. Even though I don’t have the same amount of homework I had in the 200-hour program, I feel like our assignments now are going to really define who we want to be as teachers. Plus, we have a final project—we have to come up with a program that we’d like to teach and present it to all of the mentor teachers at the end of the program. No pressure!

One of first assignments is to establish a home practice, which naturally, I’ve already been struggling to do. We are also required to journal our way through the program, which shouldn’t be a problem for me, but I’m afraid it’s going to end up being an inventory of what I think my failures as a teacher are. I’m not the strongest yogi in our group—I can’t do arm balances and I struggle with Urdhva Dhanurasana—and after assisting last night I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have a really ugly, ungraceful practice.

I was the first in our group to assist, and last night was my first class. I was excited and a little overwhelmed when I walked into the studio, but I gradually started to relax. Not much was required of me that first time—but it was still scary. When I was doing my 200-hour program I observed a beginner’s class and a lot of the students looked how I feel when I practice—clunky, unsure and a little wobbly. I’m assisting a Level 2 class, and most of the students are pretty serious and have extremely strong practices. I was blown away by a few of them because they are so graceful and watching them flow through was like watching a dance. I’m jealous of their Chatarungas. I immediately got insecure about my abilities as a teacher because I guess I still feel insecure as a student.

Over time that may change. I hope it changes, but I’m still excited about this because I know it will eventually make me a better student and hopefully a good teacher. At the very least, I may establish a home practice after all.


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  1. says

    Classes are great, but LOVE home practice! Even just a few salutations and then a pose or two I want to work on. You are so getting into the swing of things – wonderful stuff to read!

  2. Mary says

    It makes me happy to read that you are excited about this part of your training, but my goodness, you are so hard on yourself!! That part makes me sad. I am willing to bet that you are far more graceful than you give yourself credit for. Let us know how you are progressing. xo

  3. says

    Close your eyes next time you step onto your mat….keep them closed while you flow through some sun salutations & maybe a few Warrior 2s & Peaceful Warriors…really, keep them closed…you’ll feel how graceful you truly are!

  4. says

    One of the greatest gifts of my Yin Yoga training (in the lineage of Paul Grilley) is that we learned about anatomical differences that make us unique. There are fundamental parts of my body architecture that make me rock a plow pose or wheel. These are also things that make me get shoulder injuries because my shoulders are so mobile.

    I have learned and constantly instill in my students that it is ok if you NEVER do headstand and that doing it does not a better yogi make. As a teacher I think that is way more important than knowing how to teach wheel and being able to do it.
    Flying Yogini recently posted..#findyourwings: Day 33 Say Hey A GIVEAWAY

  5. says

    Your experience with limitation is precisely what will make you a beautiful, accomplished teacher! Neither yoga nor teaching is defined by arm balances, despite what studio yoga would seem to indicate. A yoga pose is an inside out experience and its grace is more felt than observed. Your practice is *for you* and when you feel grace in practice, you ARE grace. LOVE reading your experiences in writing!
    Christine recently posted..Shut your kombucha hole and I’ll shut my coffee hole.

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