Some thoughts for myself and my fellow trainees after the first 18 hours of our 200 hour yoga teacher training program.
Fear and vulnerability. My anxiety levels hover around 80% on a good day so the morning of our first TT session with the mix of fear, excitement, and the unknown…well, my body wasn’t anywhere near a state of sthira (stability) and sukha (sense of ease) as yoga poses should be — but that’s OK. I’m here to push myself outside of my comfort zone, learn new things, meet new people, and experience (and observe) personal growth which is a sign of strength.
Do the thing. We’re doing this to learn how to teach, so why would it be such a surprise that the first thing we did after introducing ourselves was teach the class? Our teacher led us through two rounds of Surya Namaskar A (sun salutations) and then said “ok, now you guys are up.” Jenna earned like 30984 beer points in my book for going first and owning it like a champ. By the end of the first weekend we had all led three rounds of Surya A and some of us also led Surya B.
Group dynamics. We all know that we’re about to spend 200 hours together over the course of five months and at the end we’ll probably know more about each other than we could even begin to understand right now. The vibe at first is anxious. Most of us arrived early and were sitting pretty much in silence in the room waiting in anticipation. We then laughed and acknowledged the awkward tension and I took my first full inhale since arriving at the studio. We’re feeling each other out (also literally when we have to palpate each other for bones and muscles — thanks Callie for being my butt touch buddy and not being weird about it) for who we’re naturally drawn to, who might push us to think differently, who we might find challenges us to be more open. I’m already proud of this group of people and we’ve only just begun.
Don’t forget to breathe. No but seriously, a 200 hour training program is A LOT of time, energy, stress (mostly for putting the rest of your life on hold), and excitement. Getting caught up in the story and expectations is not helpful. Focusing on the breath is what we’re learning to teach others, but coming back to the breath to stay present in — and enjoy — each moment is something that is always be there for us, too.
Remember your intention. We’re all here for different reasons. Right now I just want to learn ALL THE THINGS, but I do eventually want to teach. I’m not certain yet which style or for which populations (other than my friends who I will force to be my students so I can practice), but there are some trainees who are looking for a career change, or to deepen their skills in their current profession. Whatever the reason, it’s important to continue to reflect on that intention and let it guide us each through the low points and be a foundation for celebrating the good times.