Here it is, my last day of yoga teacher training at Corepower Yoga in Boulder, CO. After nine weeks of classes, in a few short hours I will be an official 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher). The time has gone by quickly and also at a snail’s pace.
The studios where I train are 45 minutes to an hour from my home in Estes Park, not too bad, but I drive 4000 feet down in elevation on curvy mountain roads to get there. The drive is sometimes a stolen moment to see the bounty of God’s beauty and sometimes a harrowing descent/ascent on icy, snowy roads.
As I relax into one of the last downward facing dogs I will practice as a non-RYT, I recognize the extra room my practice has created in my body. There is more space to be me beneath my skin. I had a lot of expectations when I started yoga teacher training. I expected to graduate a more outgoing, socially confident person. Although I am sure that I will still get nervous or feel shy before teaching some of my classes and in large social gatherings, I accept the gifts and challenges of my introversion with an open heart, secure in the knowledge that I am exactly where I should be and my style of teaching will fit like a key into the lock of some of my students’ hearts. I have spent time examining my faults with non-attachment (vairagya) and without fear (abhaya). I do not always succeed in being detached and fearless, but I work to accept myself with truthfulness (satya), loving kindness (metta) and compassion (karuna). I understand when I examine an aspect of myself I find uncomfortable, this area is what I must unearth, chase and break apart in order to evolve. Just as the body will gain flexibility by practicing the yoga poses that create the most discomfort, the spirit will flourish when challenged. The body follows the mind. The mind follows the body.
Boulder can be an intimidating place to live if you are not a professional athlete or a supermodel (and maybe then too). Until recent years, I have not been a very physical person. I grew up in the Midwest, in a place where if you walk 30 minutes a day, you are moderately active. Boulder is a different breed. On the first day of class, I met IronWoman, the beautiful and strong Kelly, who recently completed 7 Iron Man Competitions. Ultra AJ, another lovely (by lovely I mean gorgeous and ripped) lady, who recently ran the Leadville 100, a 100 mile ultra marathon at high altitudes. Tinker Bell, the light and petite Anita, whose almost constant giggle accentuates her ethereal yoga practice. I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift. In the beginning, I felt intimidated. I endlessly compared myself to others, always coming up short.
As I began to move my wandering eyes inward, a voice unique only to me began to bubble up. My movements became more authentic and calm. I realized how allowing my introversion to hoard this spirit inside of me is not in following with my beliefs as a yogini (aparigraha). So with each exhale, I work to let go of my inner critic and with each inhale, I breathe new energy into the space I have and am creating inside of myself.
Here I sit, nine weeks later, excited. I am excited at the prospect of half a dozen trainers and coaches watching me teach a class. I am excited to receive their constructive feedback, knowing I will do so silently and with equanimity-holding compassion for myself in my heart. I am excited to watch my fellow classmates own their authentic voices, as I know that this world is abundant enough for us all to find our place as teachers.
I hope to embody the spirit of my trainers and coaches who have so eloquently and openly passed their wisdom to me.
Above all, I am excited to present my unique and ever-evolving key out to the world and place it in near the locks of my students’ hearts.
“True teachers use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitate their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.”