My dearest yogis,
The choice to begin yoga teacher training is not for the faint of heart but it is for the curious spirit, the one with the burning desire to know more, to be more. It is for the passionate human with a hunger not for the difficult poses but for the difficulties that arise as you push yourself to and over the edge of your comfort zone. Whether you seek a new career or balanced chakras or just want to deepen your understanding of yoga and its roots, I invite you to toy with the idea of taking the plunge and embarking on a great adventure.
Yes, it will be challenging. Yes, most people won’t understand why you’re exhausted both mentally and physically and why you don’t have “time for them” anymore. It is not their journey to understand, only yours. It is a path meant only for you. It is relying on your intuition and trusting your own decisions and doing what’s right for you. People will ask why you’re so tired from practicing yoga all day. It’s just yoga, they say. Isn’t it lying on your mat? they ask.
Because anyone who has never trained for something they love passionately will not understand that while your shoulders hurt from Chaturangas and you’ve got bruises on the insides of your biceps from Crow Pose, the exhaustion is f*cking worth it to you. Stop complaining to them. No matter how many times you explain it to them, they’ll never understand. And that’s OK. As you move through life and find new ways to fill your soul with happiness you’ll find new people who to do the same.
You will also be extremely hard on yourself. Breathe through it and release it. You are exactly where you’re meant to be. You’ll worry about not looking the part of a yoga teacher but what the hell does that even mean. So what if you’re not head-to-toe in expensive pants or your shirt isn’t made of a special bamboo blend! Did you show up for practice today? Did you practice with purpose? Are you here to show off your clothing, or are you here to be a better student/teacher? And so what if you fall out of a pose while practice teaching? Laugh it off. Laugh at yourself. Laugh because everyone at one point will also crash into the wall or somersault out of an inversion. It happens.
You will second-guess yourself, questioning your intentions and wondering if this was the right thing to do. There is no “right” thing–only self discovery. And in a week or two those feelings of uncertainty will pass. You’ll either stick with it or you won’t. But 98% of the time, you’ll come back to the program because an inner voice will gently nudge you to keep showing up.
And because of second-guessing your passion, you will feel differently about yoga because a certain number of hours in class are mandatory in order to earn your certification. Once upon a forward fold, the studio was your sanctuary and now, it sometimes feel like a chore. Your conscious effort to focus on the sequence distracts you from breath. Late-night lectures followed by early morning practices while working full time bring you to a wall…and trust me, you’ll hit it…hard. The inevitable hump we all get to, usually around the middle of the program, will come into sight. And yes, you will get over it.
Because you come back to the reason you started the training in the first place–your unwavering love for the practice, the joy it brings you, the smile that shines from your face after guiding your students through a sequence of poses.
Because eventually, the training ends and the weekend before your last session with your yogi family, you will well up with emotion. You will sit and look at each glorious soul who became a friend, who never judged you, who meditated chanted with you, who came out on top with you. There is nothing so gratifying than seeing people come into their own. Sometimes, I think it’s more exciting when you see someone else’s progress rather than your own. And you feel proud and you want to hug each of them. And you’ll want to go through another 8 weeks of intense posture clinics, assists and adjusts, anatomy lectures, “Ohmwork”, and everything else that made the program your life for 2 months.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Those 2 months were prep work for the bigger adventure yet to come. You are given the basics. Then, it’s up to you to refine them to your own personal style of teaching. You find your voice along with muscles you didn’t know existed.
And remember that time you started to believe yoga class was a chore? Yeah, I don’t either.