Monday, May 9, 2011

Yoga Teacher Training: Weekend One Reflection.

Yoga teacher training update:

I have just finished my second weekend of yoga teacher training.  Well, technically, I've had one weekend of teacher training and this past weekend was the anatomy intensive.  I'm really glad that they made the second weekend of the course the anatomy portion, because if it was another training weekend I think I would have been a little more wiped out this morning.  The first 3-day training weekend was a lot.  Not necessarily physically difficult, or even mentally difficult...just a lot.  I had a minor freak-out moment Sunday night after we finished and I was cleaning up the room.  It's like it all kind of hit me right then: how much there is to learn, staying on top of In-training-assistant responsibilities, being unsure of how I want to use this training, shoulder injury, expectations of other people, life decisions...ah!!!  I just felt this massive, "Oh my god, I can't do this!" feeling wash over and I broke down a little and started crying.  Good thing: none of the other people taking the training were in the room.  More embarassing: the main teacher leading the training was.  But she was very kind and understanding.  She was really good at trying to ease the pressure, reminding me that I don't HAVE to teach...or even take the final exam if I don't want to.  In the end, if all I want to do is audit the course and not be certified, then I can do that.  She doesn't think I will, and neither do I, but she was just trying to make the point that everything is going to be fine.  Sometimes I just really feel the weight of what I'm doing--I have high standards for myself and it also feels like other people expect a lot from me; expect me to be capable of doing a lot.  There were/are a lot of people who gently but consistently encouraged me in this direction and I've made a pretty big change in order to do this, I guess I just really feel the weight of that.  This fear of, "what if nothing changes?  What if I come out of this training no clearer about what I want in my life than I did going in?"  I'm almost more afraid of the continued state of "limbo," of no change, than I am of anything changing--even something drastic.

Anyways, the teacher said that I was going through what she went through at the end of her first training.  She said that, at the end of her first training, she didn't think she was going to teach.  Which is pretty ironic considering she's one of the most recognized and respected yoga teachers in the country.

I was kind of in a state of shell-shock the next day.  Partly from the minor freak-out and partly from taking in so much information over the course of 3 days...and so much physical practice.  Since my shoulder started hurting over 3 weeks ago, I've lost my daily practice.  I was practicing gentle yoga maybe twice a week.  It was probably needed, that's usually what my injuries are trying to tell me.  But it also made the 3-day yoga training a little more exhausting than it probably would have if I wasn't injured.  So, not only was I physically exhausted when I returned to work on Monday, but I was also mentally drained.  I brought a couple of the books to do my assigned reading for the month, figuring I'd start out light, but it was like my brain was shut down.  I saw the words, but there was no comprehension.  Almost like my brain said, "nope, no more information.  Done."  However, another component to the shell shock was that even though it was a lot--it was exactly what I've been wanting to do for months now: spend all day doing nothing but yoga--practicing it, learning about it, and discussing it with people that care about it as much as I do.  I got to immerse myself in something that I enjoy for THREE days--in a row.  Going back to the "real world," after that was kind of like getting sucker-punched.  Side note: that makes me very grateful for the new job.  Trying to do this training while working in a job that is considerably more stressfull and demanding would have been so much more difficult.

Anyways, it actually took me several days before my mind felt ready and willing to take in anymore information or do any work.  Surprisingly, the reading was not the most accessible thing.  I found that surprising because I've been a bookworm for the majority of my life and usually started my homework assignments with reading when I was in school.  No, the thing that broke my funk was actually working on my first teaching script.  It's nothing big, just one pose.  But I guess that makes sense too, because writing is also something that comes very naturally to me (if you can't tell by the super long blogs that I post).  It's almost as if my thoughts just flow more naturally when I write than when I speak.  Although, it was surprisingly difficult at first to find the words to describe HOW to move your body!  I've been doing these motions for so long and they came so naturally to me anyways, it was bizarre trying to think of describing HOW I do it.  I don't even think about it while I'm doing it!  I literally had to get up and do the pose while I was writing it in order to describe what I was doing!  Which is a fantastic excuse to do yoga while I'm at work :)  The pose I had to write a script for is also one of my favorite poses and one that I do regularly: Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged forward fold).  It's really a phenomenal pose--so simple, but so effective.  Stretches your hamstrings and inner thigh and completely allows your back and upper body to decompress because you're hanging upside down.  Ahh...

It's also funny that the teaching script was the one that felt the easiest because it was the one that I was avoiding/dreading.  Foreshadowing?  Possibly.  Or, maybe it's because the poses and the physical practice of yoga are the most familiar to me, so that part was actually easier.  It also got me thinking about the structure of a yoga class...or any workout for that matter.  You start out with easier, simpler poses to get the body warmed up and then do more complex/difficult ones.  Makes sense that exercising the brain should work the same way: do some of the easy work first, to get your brain on board, and then do some of the harder stuff.  I've been following that idea with my homework and so far it's been working, and I've been enjoying the homework too.  I've done all the anatomy, poses and physical practice aspects of the homework reading/writing and now all that's left is a few philosophy readings.  Hopefully, now with more of the homework out of the way, I can actually absorb the philosophy parts of it.


  1. A girl in my training was talking about how hard it is to not have support from her boss while she's in teacher training. And all I could think about when she said that is how freaked out I get by the off-hand way people assume I am in teacher training to be a teacher - or, more terrifyingly, were surprised that I wasn't already a yoga teacher. The weight of the expectation feels heavy to me, and I wonder if I balk at saying that I'm doing this to be a teacher because I don't want to face up to that expectation. Hmmm... this is starting to sound like a blog post of my own...

    (big hugs)

  2. Really i am impressed from this post....the person who created this post is a generous and knows how to keep the readers connected..Thanks for sharing this with us found it informative and interesting. Looking forward for more teacher training in india |yoga therapy teachers training in india |yoga courses in india

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your comment! I am glad that you liked the post. As you can probably tell from my blog, I haven't been writing in it for about a year now. There is plenty going on in my life and the Ashtanga practice continues to grow, but I haven't really felt like writing about it, I just wanted to experience it without analyzing it ;-)

      But, I will be heading off to India next month to study with Sharath Jois in Mysore, so maybe there will be some more blogging then...or maybe there won't, we will see. I've been finding it best just to stay open to as many options as I can right now, and not committing to too many things. Either way, thanks again for reading and leaving feedback, I really appreciate it and am glad that you enjoy it :)