Yoga Training: Weeks 3 and 4

Number of times I practiced: 7, plus practice teaching during training. (I'll go ahead and serve my ego by patting myself on the back, thanks.) Number of times I wanted to practice: 3.

Week 3 was a bit of a blur. I missed training due to a work event and a trip to Charleston, SC to visit my best friend and her husband, and fitting in class was nearly impossible because of general work craziness, pre-trip packing, traveling and then simply enjoying vacation. I made it to a class on Monday, and upon arriving in Charleston on Thursday afternoon, I spent about 45 minutes going through a freestyle sequence at my friend's house just to stretch out all the kinks from driving and flying. It felt great, especially once followed by a long nap!

On Friday, I ventured to downtown King St. for a power vinyasa class at Charleston Power Yoga.


The small, narrow studio had two rooms: the entryway with nooks to the left for personal belongings and mats and water to the right, and then the practice room with wood floors, floor-to-ceiling framed mirrors and actual wooden blocks (instead of the typical foam ones). The instructor was also the owner, and you could tell that most people in attendance were regulars. Straight away, I could tell that this would not be similar to class in Des Moines, despite the studio's online identification with Baptiste-style ashtanga.  The woman next to me was about six months pregnant and kicked up into forearm stand at CHILD'S POSE (you know, just easing into her practice...); the instructor utilized competitive, boot-camp style language ("look to your right! if that person is six inches lower than you, exhale and lunge lower!") I had also elected not to purchase a towel, I guess because I had already spent $15 and thought I'd save a dollar. Mistake. By the end of  the 90-minute class, I was sliding all over my mat and it looked like I had just gotten out of the shower due to the massive amount of sweating happening. It. Was. Intense. Which is why I spent the rest of vacation enjoying copious amounts of wine, delicious foods, and casual walks!

I knew that I needed to kick it into high gear during week 4, however. After 10 hours of travel on Tuesday, I took a quick nap and then forced myself to go to class before training. I could definitely feel the tightness in my hips after a few days off as well as all the indulgences of the trip, and I felt stressed out about not practicing much over the past week. But this is what I love about yoga--you never know how that one practice is going to benefit you. Kirk emphasized having fun with yoga rather than taking it so seriously, and while I came into the class with a frown, I left smiling and feeling a sense of lightness. That message really resonated with me, and reminded me that I practice yoga because it makes me happy. It's not simply another thing on my to-do list.

Training that night involved practice teaching the first half of the Power 1 sequence. I already felt behind due to missing a week of training, and I started to over think every posture and cue, getting focused on the "right" thing to say rather than just being clear and direct. Many others had typed out notes, which is what I normally would have done . . . but I also know my reliance on paper and the written word sometimes, and so I am actually glad I had to simply dive in. I made mistakes and I forget things. Guess what? The world didn't end :) We spent the final hours of training watching anatomy videos, which in the past would have bored the hell out of me, but it's kind of interesting to see how the body responds to yoga and learn how various poses help with different muscles and bones.

I took Friday off after going to class both Wednesday and Thursday, and then attended the 7 a.m. P2 on Saturday morning before training. It's been pretty off and on in terms of physical activity on Saturday sessions, so I wanted to be sure to get a practice in. That backfired because we spent the entire day practice teaching, minus about an hour at the end where we discussed various challenges of teaching and practicing at this point in our training. The common theme: everyone is tired and feeling uncertain and wanting to be "good" at teaching. It's nice to know we're all in the same boat!

Right now, I definitely have to prioritize my time carefully. Watching a tv show before bed means less sleep, which affects work the next morning and/or my yoga practice. That glass of wine with dinner? Too tired to enjoy it. Social media and reading? It's just not at the top of my list, not when I'm rushing through work responsibilities, getting to and from class, running life errands, and trying to eat, clean, sleep, etc. I do sort of thrive on extreme busy-ness, as it tends to make me much more productive, but I'm being really attentive to making sure I don't burn out entirely . . .  considering there's still five more weeks of training, a lot to learn, and major deadlines for my day job.

Still, I chose this. And I love what I'm learning. I love getting to class and seeing 3-5 familiar faces of other teacher trainees, who are all equally tired and happy because of this challenge.