In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know two things before you read this: I work at Hot House Yoga as the marketing director and if you asked anyone who knows me if they thought I’d be training to be a yoga teacher they would laugh in your face.
Now, that all the “keeping it real” info is out of the way, I am training to be a yoga instructor and some of the people I’ve told have laughed and others say “that will be so good for you”. The latter leads me to believe I may need to relax or slow myself down, perhaps that’s true. I’ll admit, if you asked me a year ago whether I’d be into completing a yoga teacher training; I, myself, may have laughed at you.
I certainly felt slightly out of my element in yoga teacher training; I wasn’t negotiating media rates, or deciding on campaigns, etc. I was learning about the very thing I market. Now, I know enough about what we do and have enough support of amazing, knowledgeable yogis and yoginis around me to get by, but what really drove me to take the training was to know these things myself.
The first weekend was a few weeks ago. I was excited, nervous and “not ready” all at the same time. To explain “not ready”, I felt like I had to do yoga every day, meditate and eat only green things to be really committed to training. To which I’ve learned is a bit silly, a consistent practice is important, but to say I have to practice every day and radically change my habits to prepare is like saying “I have to be flexible to try yoga” – silly right?! The first day was fun, but sort of intense as there isn’t a lot of time to ease into it and we opened our books and got started immediately. We were asked “who do you want to be” and “what type of experience do I want to have”. I sort of blankly stared at the two questions thinking “WHAT have I gotten myself into”, but strangely the words just sort of came and to paraphrase my long answer: I would like to move through life with grace.
Now, I wasn’t even sure what that answer meant or how it came to me, but it did. So I rolled with it. Only now do I see how that phrase is applicable to my life and why it’s important. The realization of this came with my homework – meditation. Now, a year earlier I would have been laughing at myself, so if you are laughing at me now. I accept this, but hear me out. The act of sitting quietly, thoughtless, with attention to my breath has changed the way I feel every single day. If I miss a day (totally outing myself on missing some homework) I feel weird, like something is missing. In no way have I mastered the act of meditation and frankly based on my limited experience I don’t even think mastery is possible (another interesting thing I learned from teacher training – be content to practice. The overachiever in me has a hard time with the idea that mastery is nearly impossible but I’m okay with that most days). The act of being less hard on myself has spilled out into other aspects of my life. Therefore, I am moving more gracefully in my everyday life, accidentally – if that makes sense.
Another thing I wrote down is the realization that we are so fragile. Our bodies, our minds; it’s almost unbelievable that we are so strong, yet so fragile at the same time. Learning about the way the body is built, the networks of muscles, how they affect each other, why we don’t stand up straight etc. has made me very aware of posture. I’m an observer by nature, but now I’m almost obsessed with looking at people’s posture (not in a judgmental way) but thinking about how yoga could help them stand straighter and how just the act of standing that way would help their joints, health, etc. I imagine the cues I would give them to obtain this balance (I suppose this is where my over-achieving creeps in).
I’ve taken this newfound awareness a step further (insert overachiever status here) and tied a string to my wrist to remind me of teacher training and how the weekend felt. I was present, learning and patient/tolerant with myself and others. The string acts as my reminder that inside the wound up, overachiever is a person who is able to enjoy meditation and dream of helping others with something as simple yet complex as yoga.