As many of you know, Night 1 of Power Yoga Teacher Training (TT for short) happened just this past Tuesday. More or less a “get to know the program and fellow yogis” class, I came in with complete excitement mixed with some anxiety and left with one question running through my mind:
WHAT IN SAM HILL DID I JUST COMMIT MYSELF TO?
It’s true. That’s what I thought as I drove home. A wave of shock overwhelmed me. The manual is huge. There are lectures. Wait, I’m also helping pregnant women practice yoga and assisting with modifications? And there’s a written test?! What do you MEAN a test?! OH MY GOD, WHY ARE MY PALMS SO SWEATY AND IS THERE A BATHROOM FOR ME TO THROW UP IN?
OK, that’s a bit melodramatic (I have a flare for that…), but holy God in the highest, TT is not meant for those who think they are going to coast through the 8 weeks without putting in much effort. In fact, you sign your name in blood with Mala beads just so you know how serious things are about to get (totally kidding). But with all joking set aside, I laid in bed wide awake for a while after night one. Every single thought came up: What if I fail? What if people don’t come to my class? What if I get injured? How am I going to balance all of this without getting super stressed out and anxious?
Deep breath, Brianna. Fill your lungs up to capacity, hold at the top of your breath, release through your mouth…repeat a few more times until your heart stops racing like a rabbit’s.
In those moments lying still in my bed, I seriously thought of dropping out. Me. The yogi with dreams of one day having her own studio and teaching cancer patients and people with depression and making a career out of a passion. I thought long and hard about this. I had a stomach ache about it. My brain started telling my heart, “This will never work the way you want it to.” And then, I stumbled upon this:
So let’s back track real quick. Over the last month or two, I have been overwhelmed by everything–work, parties, dinners, more work, basically trying to balance too many plates with both hands. A recent event with a certain person sent my anxiety into overdrive, causing me to rethink my dreams of becoming a yoga teacher while the only place I felt at peace was on my yoga mat. I become a different person as soon as I slip on some bright colored spandex pants and loose fitting top with some stereotypical yogi saying imprinted on the front. I become a little lighter, a little brighter, more comfortable in my skin because the yogi is part of the real me. Why would I ever give up something I am obnoxiously passionate about? More importantly, why was I letting my hyperactive brain start running circles around answers I had been so confident in prior to night one of TT?
WHY WAS I LETTING MY ANXIETY TAKE AWAY THE ONE THING THAT MADE MY ANXIETY SETTLE DOWN?
Because anxiety and depression are powerful forces. They tell us we can’t when we actually are capable of anything. They tell us we’ll never succeed even though some of the most downtrodden depressives are actually some of the most successful people you will meet. They chase away our dreams, replacing them with night terrors and keep us awake at night by over-analyzing our every action, word, and idea.
I got out of my bed that same night and started re-reading the giant manual which suddenly ignited a spark within my core. As I flipped through each section’s breakdown of what TT would cover throughout the course of 8 weeks, I mentally cataloged the timeline of everything and fit it into my mental agenda. This was doable. This was manageable. I could do it. I will do it. And I will be better in the end for going through the panic because it makes me human and, ultimately, a better teacher.
I looked through the textbook we’d be using, touching the glossy pages as a sense of relief washed over me and a little voice spoke out among the barrage of negativity. It said, “Keep going. Have courage. Keep breathing and moving forward.”
I sat on the floor with legs crossed for a few minutes after closing the text and the manual. I touched my abdominal muscles and felt them rise and fall in sync with my inhalation and exhalation. I let my mind get the best of me but I wasn’t going to let it defeat me. And I certainly wasn’t going to let the opinions of others break down my goals.
This weekend is the first weekend I will gather with my fellow yogis and really immerse myself in the training. Once again, I am tired but excited. I am elated and exhausted. I am moved by the practice but my physical body is sore from the actual motions. And in the end, I am a yogi–always learning, always growing, always letting the breath of victory chase away the anxieties.