This week, I start my yoga teacher training journey! (Below is my first day of school excited face.)
I started practicing yoga about five years ago, when I first moved to Chicago and needed a bit of an exercise change. My roommate and I attended the yoga classes at XSport Fitness, right down the road from our apartment in Lakeview, and sometimes when I felt fancy and had the money, I would attend a class at CorePower Yoga downtown after work amongst all the yuppie stay at home moms. (Yes, I was judge-y about that.) Yoga felt like a great workout, particularly hot yoga, but over the next several years it became a bit of a lifesaver as I dealt with the stress, anxiety and depression associated with significant personal conflict, major life changes and a toxic relationship.
Yoga class is often where I take my first big, real deep breath of the day, which always amazes me--I mean, my body makes sure I breathe all day long, thankfully, but yoga reminds me that I don't actually breathe. Yoga class is where I discover my edges and limitations, where I don't have to be perfect, where the rest of the world slips away for an hour, where the only thing I can control is my focus, where I can shut off my yapping mind, where I realize that I am stronger than I think, both mentally and physically. I've never left a yoga class feeling worse than when I showed up, even if my hips are tight, I lose my balance or I'm just not feeling the 'om. You would not believe how many days I think, I don't have time for yoga or Ugh, I'm too stressed for yoga. That's when I tell myself, Just get there. You don't have to be great. You just have to show up.
Life motto, right? Just show up. You don't have to be great.
But when the possibility of yoga teacher training came up here in Des Moines, my mind raced to uncover all the Reasons It Was Not a Good Idea: it's too expensive, I'm not good enough yet, I won't know anybody, it'll take up too much time, I already have a job, etc. Even though it's been on my bucket list for years. Seriously, it's kind of amazing how quickly our fear of the unknown shuts us down even before we begin! Luckily, one of the training leaders asked me pretty much every week when I was going to sign up. So I took the plunge.
Last night marked the beginning of my 200-hour yoga certification and training program. Imagine 30 or so students of all ages crammed into a small studio looking at each other like, Here we go . . . None of us really knew what to expect, but here's what I quickly realized:
1. Wow. I'm going to be practicing a LOT. No shit, I immediately thought, it's YOGA TRAINING, what did you expect? But these next several weeks will totally change my perspective on what "a lot" of yoga means. I'm used to hitting up a class twice a week and feeling proud of myself. Aside from 11-12 hours of group class time, we still need to fit in 5 classes. Per week.
2. There's going to be a lot of touchy-feeling personal sharing. Even though I love that sort of thing with close friends and family members, it's harder for me to open up with large groups and I generally feel overwhelmed when people share a lot of deep stuff right from the get go. (Like Brene Brown says, relationships need to be able to sustain the weight of vulnerability.) But I guess it'll be an opportunity for growth and I'll probably make some great friends.
3. I need more yoga attire. Because I don't want to do laundry every day. Hello, Tar-Jay instead of Lululemon.
Along the way, I hope to share weekly recaps of training--what I'm learning about various poses, teaching skills and whatever else comes up!