Here’ s my flip, succinct recap of yoga teacher training weeks 1, 2 and 3. I like to keep these posts lighthearted and as if I were talking to a friend. Because yes, I am taking this very seriously, but I also am remembering the joy in what I am doing and hope that it comes through. People can get so heavy talking about yoga, and I like to remember its lightness and to bring an ease to many a transformational insight or experience.
This week was a little more…curious.
I’ve been talking and thinking a lot lately about acceptance and what that means.
Self-acceptance has always been hard for me for a slew of reasons that I am not posting on this blog because it is not a therapy session. Let’s just say that I was the person that always wanted to “make everything ok” and if I could be a shining example, then everything would be ok. In a sense, I had to do everything right all the time.
When I finally got up to teach my mini yoga sequence, I rambled a bit at the start, grounded myself and then was able to talk the practitioners through what it was that I wanted them to do. It was fun. I sweated like a beast. But it was fun. At the end, it suddenly occurred to me that I wanted them to try a pose, and I had zero idea how to tell them to do it: cue hilarity and a tip or two from the instructor. The takeaway was that as a teacher, you can demonstrate in front of people to help yourself out…you don’t have to have everything memorized and perfect and rote. And laughter is always apprecaited, as long as people aren’t trying to balance. No one wants faceplants.
Then, the criticism set in.
We were warned that it would be nitpicky – more so than any student would realize, save an experienced one or, the instructor – but it was enough to burst my bubble, a sense that was enhanced when another friend drew to my attention that I was being self-deprecating rather than open and calm at the beginning of my sequence. Naturally, I felt like I’d failed and that I was never going to be able to teach and that I was kidding myself by thinking that this was the right thing to do, and that I would be a terrible yoga teacher and…and…and…
The afternoon offered pleasant distractions in the form of arm balances, which are fun, funny and challenging in the right way. I love the way that you have to, essentially, retrain your brain to accept that your hands are as stable as your feet, and that it’s ok to let go and trust your body can and will adjust.
There’s that key concept. Let go.
When I finally let go of the notion that to be exemplary at everything was not conductive to a happy, balanced life, when I let go of the constrant striving for a perfect ideal, when I let go of the fear of “not being good enough” I felt empty and I cried. I mourned the loss of this thing that I had used as excuse for years, whether consciously or unconsciously. I released something that had been a reason or a motivator, or an escape. I just accepted myself as I am, imperfect, alive, always changing, and felt a deep emptiness that faded and was filled by the stuff that makes me me rather than this ridiculous quest for something that I think will lessen anxiety but, in reality, makes it so much worse.
There are days when it will creep in and I will question myself and be terrified, but the difference is I know that what I do and am and be is good enough and thoughts that state otherwise are just thoughts…nothing more. And that it is natural to be afraid, because the alternative is inauthentic and, frankly, completely miserable.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”