The journey of becoming a yoga teacher.
As I reflected on this past weekend, I came across a quote from Caroline Myss that sums up where I’m at in this process of becoming a yoga teacher: “Becoming adept at the internal process of self-inquiry and symbolic insight is a vital spiritual task that leads to the growth of faith in oneself.” – from Anatomy of the Spirit
I am humbled by the courage and vulnerability displayed by my classmates, as we learned about the alignment of some of the more challenging asanas, like shoulderstand and headstand. Having mainly practiced Bikram over the years and, so having barely any familiarity with these two poses, I am grateful for those who are more familiar –especially those who helped demonstrate their proper alignment, whether they were called upon or volunteered because they either don’t like doing theses poses or have some fear about them. While we are learning a lot of new information about alignment in general, the more challenging poses can add a whole new layer of intimidation, especially after Sean cautioned us about the perils of turning your head during shoulderstand. So, kudos to Anne and Sierra for transcending fear and resistance to these poses.
This is where the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedic philosophy we are learning from Darren is so important – it reminds us to cultivate courage and faith in ourselves and to not shy away from things that cause fear.
For me to gain familiarity and confidence in these asanas, it means practicing dolphin pose until I’m ready to even try a headstand. It means honoring my body and only going as far into shoulderstand as my neck and shoulders will allow me, on any given day. It means having the faith that eventually, I will be able to teach headstand and shoulderstand from a place of confidence, instead of not teaching them at all, out of fear.
So, as we are all dealing with our own negative samskaras, this process of yoga teacher training is helping us overcome them in myriad ways – through the readings and podcasts; through our own practice and reflections; through the group classes and through the support we are getting from and giving to each other.
The key is alchemizing our negative samskaras into positive ones through awareness, intention and practice.