4 surprising things I learned about myself at yoga teacher training
I finished yoga teacher training.
I finished the intensive portion. Now I have to complete some other things — student teaching, a 40-day meditation journal, CPR certification and some other thangs. But the two weeks of live-and-breath-yoga life is over. Sad face. :(
I learned so much. I knew this experience would be a game-changer but I didn't realize how much it would change my life. This post could be "5,000 things I learned at yoga teacher training" but you wouldn't make it through that. Neither would I. And I'm not sure you're interested in yoga anatomy, chakras or yoga class sequencing.
I expected to learn those things — par for the course of yoga school. What I didn't expect was that I'd learn so much about myself. Here are four of the biggies.
1. I can love a stranger
Initially I wasn't sure what to think about my fellow classmates. I didn't think I would love them in just two weeks.
But the group's energy was incredibly positive. A lot of us have had similar journeys and were able to make a strong connection quickly. I'm so grateful we were brought together and could cry right now typing this. I've made some forever friends and already consider them family. AFTER TWO WEEKS OF KNOWING THEM. Which makes me think ...
How many strangers could I love if I let them in? How many beautiful people have I missed out on having in my life because I ignored them?
2. I'm a negative person
I didn't think I was. But at yoga school, we learned a lot about yoga philosophy (which is quite amazing), and I suddenly began to catch myself having negative thoughts. I interrupted my negative self-talk and replaced it with confidence and pride. I stopped myself when tempted to mutter bad words about people. When I felt feelings of frustration sneak in, instead of directing them at the person allegedly causing it, I pointed the finger at myself. What is it about ME that is making me frustrated right now? How can I help this person?
I know I've been living in yoga land surrounded by love and peace, but I REALLY hope this habit sticks, because I feel like I'm walking on rainbows.
3. Yoga makes my shy go away
There's no place like om. But really. I feel at home on my mat.
I was having a conversation with my classmate, Susan, and telling her about how shy I used to be. My teachers expressed concern because I didn't talk. I cowered by my mom around strangers. Speaking in front of people gave me major anxiety. Gradually I got over that, but I would still consider myself a quiet person.
It was a huge compliment that Susan didn't believe me. "You, shy? No way. I don't believe that." She said. It took my mom's confirmation on Facebook to convince her.
See when I'm on my mat, the shy goes away. Talking in front of a yoga class makes me feel like myself. I'm completely comfortable. Which leads me to No. 4 ...
4. I'm on the right Path
The fact that I feel comfortable — and myself — on my mat, that my cup is overflowing with joy and that I spent two weeks living, breathing, studying and practicing yoga and am not even close to sick of it tells me that this is right. And who knows, maybe teaching yoga isn't the right thing for my forever. Maybe yoga is going to lead me down another lane. But for now, this is right. This is the most right I've felt about anything since the day I said "I do" at the altar.
(Side note — that "I do" helped me get to this place. My husband has been incredibly supportive of me. It takes a good man to be more than OK with me spending a lot of time and money on a dream that isn't very ... lucrative. Thank you, thank you, thank you hubs.)
This isn’t the beginning of my journey. My journey began long ago. But this is a major intersection that I’ve crossed. Frolicked across, really.
I had to climb uphill to make it there — overcoming my eating disorder, being disciplined in my practice, saving money for two years for school — but then I made it to the green light on the corner of Passion and Dreams Boulevard, and I'm excited to explore the streets ahead.
The struggles it took to get me here made the trip across that much more rewarding. Struggles make us stronger. They make us appreciate more. They help us appreciate the good things. Because if life was all good things, we'd spend it sweating the small stuff.
If I could talk to the me five years ago, I would give her a huge hug and tell her that it will get better. That God has big plans for you. That these trying moments are leading you to something beautiful.