Warning: this post ended up being way longer than I thought.
I never take days off from my full-time job, but with the craziness of SXSW and the celebration of completing my yoga teacher training, I’m shutting my work to-do list for a whopping three days. I’m still working on a new project – the details of which will come later – but for the most part, I’m focusing on taking a little SXSW vacay.
I’m a certified yoga teacher! After 10 long weeks of reading, learning, sweating, playing tears off as sweat, and practicing, the journey inside the classroom at Black Swan has come to an end. The journey around the world, teaching and continuing to learn, has just begun.
Beat, Broke, Backpacking is going to resurrect now that I have weekends. I’ll also be uploading flows amongst my travel pictures and wanderlust-y thoughts. In the meantime, I wanted to share some reflections from teacher training. Any yogi, any level, any body type, age, gender, comfort level, etc. can benefit from yoga teacher training. It’s like going to group therapy and the gym and job training at the same time. Pretty cool. Here are some things that I learned.
Everyone Can Enjoy Yoga Teacher Training – I was surprised to learn that not everyone wanted to pursue teaching after the training was over; at first, I honestly had trouble justifying the cost of training for someone who just wanted to deepen their practice. As the weeks went on, however, I was hooked on everything I was learning about yoga, its history, the body, the chakras…we obviously learned a lot about sequencing, adjusting, and the ethics of teaching, but we learned so much more about the practice in general. We went through the primary series in Ashtanga yoga every Saturday morning, eventually practicing in the Mysore style (without verbal instruction.) Learning the primary series alone, and the recommended alignment, is worth the cash. In addition, we had more time to focus on advanced poses and dive deeper into the history of yoga. As someone who is constantly working and not able to put aside much time for Svādhyāya (self-study,) yoga teacher training was a nice kick in the asana. (Get it? I’m hilarious.) Whether you’ve mastered a headstand, full splits, or you’ve just stepped onto your yoga mat this year, you can benefit from yoga teacher training.
Though She Be Little, She Is Fierce – I was able to befriend and talk to a lot of strong women (and two men) during my training. When you’re spending 10 hours a day & two days a week with people, you get to know them pretty well and grow comfortable sharing yourself.
One day in particular sticks with me. One of my friends, a quieter, humble yogi with lots of knowledge and experience to share, told our group she was feeling small that day. One of our group members was awed at her ability to identify and express that emotion, although we’ve all felt that way in our lives. We were also taken aback at how someone with such knowledge and so many ideas to share could feel like they have a smaller presence in the room.
Yoga meetups can reach hundreds of people. Flows can be taught over booming microphones. When we practice yoga, we find ourselves connected to infinity, the whole, vast universe. But we harness this power and build this connection from the smallest beginnings. An inhale and an exhale may not look like much, but they hold power. Even though we may feel intimidated by our height, our voice, or our place in the universe, we can take comfort in the idea that we are connected to something bigger than we could ever imagine.
Burning Through Samskaras Is A Lifelong Process – When you’re in Pigeon Pose for four minutes, on each side, you’re going to face some emotions that you thought were long-gone. When we encounter these moments, we face samskaras. In short, samskaras are patterns and habits that we’ve developed since the moment our life has begun (or before that, if you’re into reincarnation.) When we practice, we aim to burn through and release ourselves from these samskaras.
I remember a particular flow (probably the one where I was in Pigeon for four minutes, on each side) that ended in a lot of anxiety. Without going into too much detail, I was bringing up past trauma and past discomfort that I just wanted (/want) to get rid of. It was an intense moment, and in that moment I decided that I was going to face the trauma head-on, get over it, and move forward. Yoga teacher training was the time to do it. I was going to get over, get through, and get rid of it.
It was probably during the next flow that I realized that things weren’t going to change that dramatically, that quickly.
I look at samskaras as a giant concrete block that we chip away at when we practice. One blaze is not going to burn and disintegrate our samskaras (I did have to check on the internet to see if concrete was flame-resistant, it is.) It takes a lot of time, and even though we’re constantly making progress, we may come back and think that we’ve done nothing at all. There is still much work to be done. The sooner we accept the task ahead of us (the past that has led us here, and the fact that our future is not going to be perfect,) the easier our job gets.
So I continue to work, even after receiving my certificate.
I am starting to build, record, and film flows that I will put online through my blog, YouTube, and an online studio (coming soon!) If you have suggestions for flows that you would like to see, let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page! Until next time,