Remember how I was prepared to dig deep in my last blog? It turns out digging deep meant encountering things I didn’t expect. Such as discovering the reality of working a full-time job and being a student-teacher trainee of a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program was stressful, overwhelming and tiring as fuck. Or uncovering a crippling and utterly demoralizing sense of inadequacy after I was assigned to guide our yoga trainee class in a particular asana (pose) called Warrior III. I can’t begin to help you understand how deeply upset I was to be given this asana two weeks into our training. The task was to intelligently explain what muscle groups it benefited and must be engaged while demonstrating how to get into the pose, hold it and come out of it. I did not do well, despite my teachers and fellow students assuring me otherwise because I just didn’t remember much of their feedback after the assignment. It triggered something deep within me and I was pretty much lost to my dark inner landscape. My land of Shadows can and is a daunting, disheartening place. I didn’t just lose confidence in myself, I felt I’d lost the sanctuary of my yoga studio. It was now a Yoga School where I found myself extremely lacking, put into fearfully uncomfortable situations and where I was expected to learn/study all kinds of information.
EVERYONE kept asking about yoga training but I couldn’t make the select few friends I confided in understand how upset I was or just how bad things were. My therapist understood, though. She was visibly upset I was experiencing a serious setback and it worried her. She told me it felt like I had lost a year’s worth of therapy. I was questioning myself and whether I was capable of being a yoga teacher. I was retreating from my fellow yoga teacher trainees and my yoga teachers! This thing called yoga that had become an important part of my self-care was failing me. I couldn’t practice at home and I didn’t want to attend any classes at the studio as a regular student because part of the practicum in 200Hour YTT is to attend 40 classes and write up a sheet on things like theme, asanas, warm-ups, etc. So I couldn’t just relax and lose myself in a yoga class as a student since I had to pay attention and interpret it as a teacher trainee. Work was going through changes that stressed everyone the fuck out again. At one point, I felt like I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make it to 20 years of sobriety this year because I wanted to drink. I was questioning my whole Path and Mission.
Oddly enough, at no time did I consider quitting or skipping any of the yoga training. Work, fuck yes, but not YTT. I kept seeing my kick-ass therapist and each session we’d examine more and more pieces of what was happening to me. She kept suggesting courses of action that I was unwilling to take. I continued showing up, though, to YTT, to my therapy appointments, to my weekly calls with my spiritual advisor. Despite the doubts I had about myself and yoga, I kept fulfilling my homework assignments and participating in the training. I was learning and improving in spite of how I felt. I was becoming interested in a lot of the things I was learning as well. Then we had a two-week break! The last weekend of August and Labor Day Weekend were both free. However, we were expected to start scheduling one-on-one mentoring hours with our teachers and signing up to observe yoga classes (also part of the 200Hour practicum of YTT).
The week before Labor Day Weekend I had two mentoring sessions with one of my yoga teachers, observed a yoga class and attended a class. I was honest in my mentoring sessions about how bad I’d been doing, which really wasn’t a secret to anyone with eyes and a heart. I got a lot of great feedback, empathy, and direction on a few things I needed clarification or help with. I could enumerate many of the things and events that helped me turn the corner, but this post is already too long. I will tell you it came down to Willingness. Willingness to keep moving forward despite how I felt, willingness to walk through the sense of inadequacy, the discomforting, the unfamiliar and learn. It was the willingness to finally be brave enough and get honest with those I needed to talk to.
Each time I came through those situations I felt a little better and then a lot better. I started understanding a lot more about yoga, yogic principles and myself. I started giving myself a break, then I started giving myself a little credit. Last Saturday I sat quietly observing a Power Vinyasa class as a trainee and wrote what I observed. It was a new perspective to observe and not participate as a student or as a teacher trainee. I was in awe of the process of my teacher leading a class and of the students flowing in and out of their asanas (poses). I felt completely at home, comfortable and at peace with myself in a new way. The realization hit me that my yoga studio had become a sanctuary for me as a yoga teacher trainee and I was overcome with emotion and tears of relief and quiet joy. I never once thought about what could be on the other side of what I was going through! I figured on plugging along until I got to the end. Instead, I CAME THROUGH.