“I’m almost a teacher,” I heard myself explain in yoga class yesterday when someone noticed that I knew where to place a strap for a restorative pose.
After I got home I started thinking about that baffling explanation. Almost a teacher? What does that mean? In nine days I will finish the last weekend of yoga teacher training. Does that mean automatically, “Bang! I’m a yoga teacher now?” What difference will nine days make? What have we been doing in classes, practices, and training for almost a year now?
Trust the Process
Remember my earlier blog post, Trust the Process? The first weekend of training I was so frustrated, didn’t understand much of anything, especially the hieroglyphics of those long sequences our teacher/guide Melody White wrote on the board, and I told her, “This is so confusing. I just don’t get it.” Her response that she had been teaching this for 10 (or more) years, that it works, and to “Trust the Process,” did nothing to convince me. “Yeah, right” was my thinking.
Well, guess what? It DOES work! And I do trust the process now! Whaaatt??? Yes.
I’ve taught a few classes in yoga teacher training, but always closely tethered to my “paper” of about 14-17 pages of gigantic font with a meticulous string of written sequences (hieroglyphics) and detailed cues, which I mostly read from standing, seated, prone, or on my belly as I tried to multi-task, reading poses, demonstrating poses, and watching classmates do poses.
Tethered No More
Then about two weeks ago, I met with another teacher and a fairly new student to practice. The other teacher offered me a chance to practice teach a little, and I hesitantly agreed to teach the beginning Attending the Spine sequences only, then turn it over to her. After instinctively going through back extension and flexion, hip circles, lateral flexion, and easy twists, it seemed natural to warm up with sun salutations, then keep moving and address hip flexion and extension, external hip rotation, hamstring and shoulder openings, more back extension and more difficult twists. It also seemed natural to move from one pose to another while in certain points of orientation we had learned and practiced so often. While in one pose, my mind automatically thought of a similar pose and I cued that, moving from sequence to sequence, even attempting a “two full rotational mandala” that is unique to Melody’s Samdhaana Yoga. It felt great! No paper to hold while I tried to teach. I was aware of what I was doing, and why I was doing it.
When I turned the class over to the other teacher, she looked at the clock, amazed, “You just taught a one-hour and ten minute class! You may as well do the restorative pose and go to Savasana. We’re done!”
So, I’m having to re-think the “almost a teacher” category. I’ve been becoming a teacher this whole year of yoga teacher training. Actually, I became a teacher at about 8 or 9 years old, the day I dragged my little brother out from under the bed by his ankles and made him memorize a list of spelling words for a test I would give him. I’ve been a teacher since the day in 5th grade I imagined and announced that I was going to be like Mrs. West and teach school. I designed my own grade books, and penciled in grades for imaginary students. That became a reality when I actually did begin teaching 4th grade in Mt. Airy, so many years ago.
In Melody’s email of our last homework assignment, she recapped all we have learned in this year of training. It covered so much more than just sequencing and poses, including techniques both anatomical and energetic of physical, subtle and causal bodies. We have learned simple to complex breath techniques, energy work and energies that make up the world, anatomy, philosophy of yoga, physical and mental constitution, doshas, prana life force, chakras, meditation, seven moving principles of the body, and cultivation of the soul and spirit.
The syllabus did not include the inspiration, growth and expansion each of us has experienced in our yoga journey to our own higher consciousness, or the bonds we have formed with like-minded yogis. It did not mention the life-changing and life-long practice that yoga has cultivated in us. Teacher and student have united and merged into ONE-NESS, which after all, is what yoga is all about. I am a teacher.
Copyright 2018 Linda Parks. All rights Reserved. Used with permission.