Whenever You Are Ready
Be a lamp to yourself. Be your own confidence. Hold on to the truth within yourself as to the only truth. (Buddha)
In early 2012, I applied for a yoga teacher training program. The year before, I lost my job and interviewed for a position with lululemon. I made some friends through the interview process, and one of them encouraged me to consider teacher training. It felt like a good idea at the time. My Mister was in business school, busy with group projects and classes. Teacher training could be "my thing" and at least a way to deepen my yoga practice.
In my application I wrote,
Growing up, I was a nationally competitive swimmer and earned a college scholarship to UNLV - the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In high school I coached and taught swim lessons during the summer, and in college I pursued a degree in Elementary Education. I have always valued the relationship between student and teacher/coach/mentor. And I have developed a strong interest in wellness through the past few years.
I want to become a yoga teacher so I can combine my passion for healthy living with my natural abilities as a teacher and my innate desire to learn something new every day.
It's strange to read these words now. The first paragraph is 100% true and close to how I'd describe myself today. The second paragraph is half-true. I do have a passion for healthy, happy living. I am not sure if I wanted to be a yoga teacher. I wanted to learn what my teachers knew and become better at yoga.
I herniated a disc in my lower back right before the teacher training program began. Weeks after starting, I had to drop out to have surgery and focus on healing. I re-started the 200 training in January of 2013, and by then I knew my Mister and I would have to move away from North Carolina (and my home studio) at the end of it. I was out of shape, unsure of what the future would hold, and a huge part of me wanted out of the program altogether.
There are decisions we make that seem right at the time, but less so down the road. That's how this felt.
It was a huge time commitment, and it was demanding work. As someone who has a tendency towards an all-or-nothing attitude, I often felt as if it would be better to give up. I studied and practiced enough to get by. My personal yoga practice was wobbly and I was in constant fear of re-injuring myself. I was not ready, but carried on anyway.
Along the way I decided that teaching was not for me. I was nervous speaking in front of class, but not in the energizing sort of way. I felt like a fraud, and I wondered if the other students and my teacher could see through me.
I learned about anatomy, the history of yoga, and a specific sequence of poses. I bought a lot of books during the program and half-read a few of them. I enjoyed being part of the community, I also felt like an outsider. We did a fair amount of emotional work on ourselves, and I questioned if I was ready.
Later that summer, we moved to Austin. I had a few observation papers to write before finishing the program, which pushed me to explore some local yoga studios. I found an amazing one just a few blocks from my apartment and I've been a member ever since. I hoped to get stronger and more confident in my own body.
I wish I could go back and tell that sad, out of shape, and lonely girl that, "It’s OK, I’m OK, Everything is OK."
In the past year, I have practiced more yoga than ever before. I have spurts when I go to class for 5 days in a row, and I try to go at least twice a week. My practice is more steady, I am stronger, and more confident in my body.
I remind myself of this story, and I share it with you, to say that we aren't always ready — and that is ok. Even when we're the one who signs ourselves up for something, we aren't always ready. That is ok.
Whether you are ready or not, everything unfolds exactly the way it’s supposed to. You might not use what you have learned immediately. You might question why you learned it in the first place. But the information will be there for whenever you are ready.
Image via Brian Wolfe on Flickr