An Unexpected Lesson from the First Weekend of Yoga Teacher Training

You know the feeling when you are driving in a rush to get somewhere, because let’s face it we’re always in a rush, and a car pulls in front of you and your heart and composure instantly sink, because scrawled on the rear in loud black text highlighted by cautious yellow reads: “Student Driver. Please be Patient.”

Well, I have officially become a Student Yogi. I think I might need one of those stickers to plaster on my mat. Please have patience as I embark on this journey to gain more knowledge, not only about yoga, but also about myself.

I have been anxiously awaiting the beginning of teacher training, and it did not disappoint. I pledge my confidentiality to the group, so I will not be sharing any personal stories or names, but I can still share my own experiences. The weekend began with 20 minutes of somewhat-guided meditation. The only proof of the meditation lasting 20 minutes was the timer. It felt as soon as I closed my eyes, we were finished. This feeling of speed continued throughout the weekend, as we spent hours on our mats practicing and conversing, only minutes seemed to pass.

In the first 17 of 200 hours I have spent surrounded by my fellow teacher trainees, I have learned so much about different breathing techniques, the human anatomy, and ways to cue in a class. Yet, the lessons I would like to highlight in this first reflection are ones that were a bit unexpected. It was what I learned about my self.

My Insecurities

Ask any of my acquaintances in life to describe me, and the first word they’ll use (maybe right after tall) is quiet. Being quiet has always been a major characteristic of my personality. It’s not always the fact that I am shy, I just don’t always see the need for frivolous conversation. However, it does make me very insecure to have people think that I am shy, making me less confident. We began the training going around the room describing ourselves and what we hope to gain from training, and that was my answer: confidence. I quickly realized, I am not alone with this insecurity, many other members of the group voiced the same goal. I already felt more confident among this group of men and women, because they understand where I am coming from.

My Teaching Style

A real moment of truth came a the end of day one. We had just broken down Sun Salutation A and gone through teaching it to each other in small groups. Then our main instructor set up a mat at the front of the room, lowered the lights, and started blaring some old school hip hop. It was time for each of us to get in front of a class of 20 and actually teach! The experience quickly came and went,leading the group through two Sun Salutation As, but it was the first time any of us had been put in front of a group so large. I learned that anyone who wants to take my class in the future, be ready for a super power class, because I speak so quickly! Hopefully once the nerves settle, I’ll be able to slow this down. I was proud of myself, though, in my ability to give plenty of cues and adjustments, even with the speed I was moving through the poses.

My Goals

My goals in signing up for these classes was to learn to improve my practice and how to train others. I especially wanted to be able to bring the practice into my Crossfit gym. However, I have added a few more goals. In a couple of months, I will be starting Law School. I keep finding article after article proclaiming law students and lawyers as the most depressed individuals in the country. I hope that through my yoga practice I can learn to find a greater light in life in order to bypass any of this negativity and to bring the practice to my colleagues to help lower their anxieties. I also realize that once law classes start, spending entire weekends in yoga training could take away from valuable study time. My second goal is to find a balance and learn to continue a school, life yoga, balance even once teacher training is over.

The first weekend of training has made me even more excited for the coming months. As I sit at my desk, muscles aching from innumerable chaturangas, I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue this passion in depth.

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