One month of 2016 is already over. How are those new year resolutions working out? One of my goals for the year is to complete (or at least start) a 200 hour yoga teacher training. I don’t want to apply to a training until my LPC Intern hours are turned in, but now that my hours are quickly dwindling down, I’m finding myself thinking about YTT. I’m nervous. Am I ready for this? Will the other students laugh at my yoga skills?
I never practiced yoga consistently after first being introduced to it. I remember my first rendezvous with yoga. I was a freshman in high school on our high school swim team. We would sometimes have to do work outs outside of the pool, which I loathed because it usually meant running or lifting weights. There was a reason I was on the swim team and not the cross country team. I don’t know why my coach decided to bring in a yoga teacher for us to do the occasional yoga practice, but he did. I remember doing cat/cow and down dog and shavasana. I remember giggling with one of my best friends during some of the more “awkward” poses, but once we got in shavasana, it was real for me. The teacher did that whole “imagine you’re on a beach and you hear the waves” thing, which doesn’t usually work for me during guided meditations, but I was in it then. I was sold on to yoga. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something I stuck with consistently, but I loved that feeling you get after completing a great class. I can remember buying a weight loss yoga DVD in college, having a few of my girlfriends over, moving the furniture out of the way in my college apartment living room, and using towels for yoga mats. We giggled and it didn’t go very far. (In fact we probably turned off the DVD and ate ice cream instead.) However, I did take a beginner yoga class at my college rec center pretty consistently for a semester. I knew yoga was good for me, yet It wasn’t until I discovered Tara Stiles’s youtube channel in January of 2014 that I practiced consistently. (Hey, that’s 2 years ago!)
Even still, consistently still means a lot of ups and downs. There have been weeks where I practice every single day. But there has also been months where I don’t even roll out my mat. I try to meditate every day, but it doesn’t always happen.
And then what about the poses? Do I need to be kicking up in to a perfect handstand to complete YTT? Because I can’t do that. I can’t do the splits. Or a full wheel. Or hold crow pose for more than 3 seconds before falling on my face. So where do I end up? If I can’t do it, how can I teach it?
I read this really great article about YTT that basically says “as long as you’re willing to try harder poses, you are capable and ready to take a teacher training”, which gave me hope. Maybe I can do this!
But then I get scared again.
Yoga is supposed to be this world of no judging and pure acceptance, but is it really? In a world of instagram yogis and lululemon, have we forgotten about the mental aspect of yoga? I’m placing so much importance on the asanas that I’m forgetting what practicing yoga really means. It means opening your heart to new experiences, going beyond your comfort zone physically when you are ready, and mentally clearing your mind to connect spiritually.
So I feel ready to complete a YTT. But I’m at a loss on how to find one that truly makes me feel like it is where I belong. It’s the journey. And I’m starting to ask questions and researching. I’m hoping to start a training in the summer or fall, as I do not want to rush this. Until then, I’ll keep kicking up and falling down and trying again and again. I’ll keep accepting my body for where it is and continue to thank it for housing my strength and abilities.
Have you completed a yoga teacher training? How did you know it was the right course for you? Do you think someone has to perfect all the asanas before embarking on teaching yoga? Please send me all your thoughts on this, as I think it will help my journey.