Something shifted for me at this month’s yoga teacher training. At the end of the weekend I was exhausted as usual, but also a bit elated. I woke up the next day feeling awake, strong, and present, with an understanding of what I needed to do to restore my energy and absorb all the learning I’d been doing. I also felt a deep sense of gratitude for my healthy body and for this opportunity to learn so much from my teachers and fellow students. Here are some of the things that got me there.
Finally moving out of the “conscious incompetence” phase
After all the deconstructing and un-learning of the last few months I’m finally building things back up again, noticing the connections between what we’re learning, and piecing things together in my mind. I’m sure I’ll keep moving in and out of these different phases of the learning curve but it’s an encouraging direction of travel at least. Only a month ago, it was hard to see how I would be ready to teach by the time our course finishes in September, but now I can see how it might actually be possible!
The fear and freedom of inversions
During the weekend we spent a whole morning working on inversions (headstands, handstands, and shoulderstands). Inversions generate fear and anxiety for a lot of people – for me it’s down to a lack of confidence in my strength and coordination, as well as worries about hurting or damaging myself. But our teacher (Jesse Saunders) guided us through the morning with playfulness, encouraging us to have fun as we practiced falling, catching, and supporting each other in preparation for getting upside down. By the end of the morning most of us found we could do far more than we had imagined and there were plenty of toes in the air, or at least off the ground.
Consciously being in my body
The previous week at work had been pretty intense for me, so I had spent a lot of time in my head rather than in my body. The physicality of the weekend’s training provided a great opportunity to balance that out and change my focus. I’m still getting used to this shift in focus from my thoughts to my body, but there is something very absorbing about translating instructions into physical actions and noticing what changes as a result.
Trusting my instincts
I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable in the first couple of training weekends about adjusting and assisting other people. Not so much in terms of the physical contact but more in terms of lacking in knowledge and confidence about how to translate my experience into something useful for others. Last weekend I felt more able to trust my instincts about helping people to become more aligned in a pose, which is definitely another move in the right direction.
The gratitude I woke up with on Monday morning has stayed with me through the week and I think all this is confirming what I already knew: that yoga leads to increased awareness – of your body, mind, relationships, and world. This increased awareness leads to a greater understanding of the connectedness between all those things, and this can’t fail to lead to a sense of gratitude and happiness. I’m really enjoying this whole learning process – both the overwhelm and the elation – and I can feel the benefits rippling out through all areas of my life.
What’s happening in your life that you can feel grateful for?