I might get ridiculed for this, but Eat, Pray, Love is one of my favorite books. To me, the eat and love parts certainly sounded amazing and were probably the most fun to read, but the pray part appealed to my constant search for self-improvement. The pray section also seemed the farthest from my reach unless I was going to plan a trip to an ashram in India. This past weekend I realized I found my own type of ashram right in Boston.
During my small life crisis during the TB diagnosis and treatment plan I decided that I needed to do something positive with this time. I felt sad like I was missing out on youthful activities of going out drinking or drinking during the first spring days, but someone pointed out to me that devoting full weekends and investing in a yoga training is also something you can only do during your youth. I had been intrigued by the signs and emails I get about teacher training at the yoga studio I go to, but it was only over time that I actually started to consider the possibility of signing up. I wanted to become more into yoga and I like teaching therein maybe teacher training was something I should do. However, I did have some serious questions about if I was even good enough at yoga or loved it enough to want to commit myself in this way.
After debating it with several people I decided to invest and commit. For 8 weekends spread out across the next four months I will be doing yoga classes twice a week and in training from 7:30am-9:00pm on Saturdays and 7:30am-5:30pm on Sundays. Obviously this is only an activity I could do when I am not drinking or going out frequently.
I just completed my first weekend of teacher training and I am totally obsessed. We were told in gentle yogi terms that “what happens in teacher training stays in teacher training,” so I will do my best to just write about my experience so that I am not yogi shunned.
I n the first weekend I realized there are two parts of this teacher training that relate to other things I already know I love.
1) Being a student
2) Connecting with people in an intensive experience
I think being a student is the most fun job in the world and I seek to be a student in many other aspects of my life. I am always the nerd taking notes at any type of meeting simply because I really enjoy the process of taking notes. I give myself homework assignments and print out and highlight my reading even if it is just for my own knowledge. I am applying this attitude to my yoga teacher training and I feel like I get to be a different kind of student than ever before. We have a binder full of information and we take notes during the training sessions – obviously my notes are meticulous. An amazing part (for a nerd like me) is that we even get really fun homework that involves reading about yoga and journaling!
Since I was an awkward nervous teenager I have enjoyed situations that involve extreme group bonding. Despite my extreme clumsiness (still got it), nerves, and general lack of athleticism I did two “outward bound type” summer trips. Even if I would not sleep for the entire month before, once I arrived I loved the experience of finding buddies to connect with. I think in these types of situations where you are in an entirely unique group experience you can form some of the best friendships. Although yoga teacher training is not exactly the same as backpacking in the mountains in Costa Rica I think the idea of engaging in an extreme physical challenge of doing hours of yoga and the vulnerability of admitting your flaws and discussing the spiritual side of yoga, will bring the group together and will lead to me finding some new “besties.”
Finally, I love the content of what we are learning. The training is not just about how to do the poses right or teach them to people, but it is also about meditation, breathing, mindfulness, and adopting a healthier lifestyle. My excitement about transforming my lifestyle has been quite intense. I half-jokingly told my Mom I was going to get a Sanskrit tattoo. I see in this training the amazing opportunity to get to grow and be one of those crunchy yoga people. If I am the type of person who does yoga teacher training then can’t I be the type of person that believes in alternative healing, mindfulness, wears funky jewelry, and plans a trip to India?
Some people might suggest I take this transformation one step at a time, which sounds a lot more rational than my desire to completely transform. So continue to follow my journey and see if I can pull off this blend of personalities – yogi, fashion/junky tv/trashy magazine lover, academic, giggler, anxious over-thinker – into one smoothie of a person (lately I have been on a juice kick). I think my blog title aptly fits this journey and hopefully I can incorporate a little more grace and a little less mindless klutz.