Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hard realizations in the "final stretch"

This past Sunday of yoga teacher training was a bit of an awakening for me.  I felt the blunt truth of what I've been saying for a while now: I'm not ready to teach.  This past Sunday we had to teach one-hour privates to one of our fellow-trainees.  We partnered up, my partner picked the pose, I wrote the sequence and taught it to her, in theory.  In reality, it didn't feel like there was a whole lot of teaching being done on my part.  Half the time it barely felt like there were adequate words coming out of my mouth.  It wasn't a "freeze" like it has been in the past--that was actually something that went surprisingly well.  When all of your attention is focused on the person in front of you, there's simply no room for your nerves.  So, no, it wasn't that I couldn't get cohesive, clear and fluid words out of my mouth because my nerves had frozen my brain.  It was more like I couldn't find the words to transfer what I knew in my head out of my mouth.  I also couldn't remember my sequence, even though it was fairly simple, I had to keep looking at my paper.  It's like my brain couldn't handle remembering the sequence I wrote and trying to teach.  So, that I part I figured would probably happen.  Not freezing and not feeling nervous was a pleasant surprise.  I'll get to my "blunt truth" in just a minute, but the other truth that was really comforting to know is that (A) I know how to write a sequence that works, and (B) the poses work for themselves.  Even if I can't get the knowledge out of my mouth in a spoken form, if they're properly aligned and sequenced well, the poses speak for themselves (which is probably one reason Mysore Ashtanga works so well).  I may not have been able to get too many words out or done any "authentic teaching" (as opposed to just saying words), but it still worked.  My partner told me at the end, that the savasana was one of the best ones that she'd had in a long time.  That's a huge compliment seeing as who we're both learning from and who I know she takes classes with.  So, at least I got that part right :)

So, the "blunt truth," even though I understand the yoga and it's energy, I'm not ready to actually teach it.  I can teach you one pose, but not a whole class.  It feels like I lack the ability to pull everything together and actually apply it.  What's weird is that even though I kept saying "I don't want to teach," after hearing so many people say, "You should teach...You're going to be a teacher...It's your 'calling' to teach yoga...I think you would be a great teacher...Tell me when you start teaching, I want to take your class, etc..." at some point, I actually started believing it.  I actually felt sad realizing and admitting that I am no where near ready to teach yoga.  Again, at some point, after hearing so many people that I admire and respect say it, I started believing it.  It was a nice idea, a nice dream.  Unfortunately, it's not reality.  At this point, I am tired of and don't want people trying to encourage me to teach just to make me feel better--I want people to be honest with me and tell me the truth.  I would rather hear, "No, Tara, I don't think you're ready to teach," than have someone say, "You should teach!" only to find out that it's actually not something I am capable of doing.  Just because someone can do something well and enjoys it does not mean that they're capable of teaching it.

Which begs the question, "What now?"  Was it all for nothing?  No, I've learned a lot and simply taking the training has been a step forward.  If this training accomplished anything it was kicking my butt out Saks, where I felt like I was stagnating and dying.  What now?  I kind of feel like I've returned to a similar place that I was when I graduated from college--spinning my wheels without any direction.  Well, to be perfectly honest, technically I'm not done yet, I still have one weekend left--this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday is the in-class exam, Sunday is the practicum where I teach one pose to the entire group for 5 minutes.  It's Wednesday, I won't know what pose I'm teaching until Friday.  It's a little aggravating to not have more time to practice teaching whatever posee it's going to be, but at the same time, I like it better this way...less time to stress over and nit-pick it to death :)  I keep trying to remember what everyone tells me--don't repeat a script, just share what you know, but at this point, I just want it to be over.  I'll miss the group and being completely immersed in exploring and discussing something I enjoy (did I mention my teacher had me to a walk-over from Urdhva Dhanurasana to the other side in something resembling Uttanasana!--basically it was a back walk-over.  I ended up landing in something more like a squat than Uttanasana, but it was an awesome experience!) but I will be glad once the tests are done.  After nearly 20 years of school and the emotionally turbulent years I've had since then, I can't handle that stress anymore, even in the smallest form.

4 more days.  That's all that's left.  "Catch you on the flip side" :) 

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