Let me begin with this: To say that the training program is tiring is an understatement. The days are 12 hours long. There are two-three times per day that we are in a heated room, performing postures. Your classmates are virtual strangers, and you’re together in the building for hours on end. You sweat. You feel grimy. You bend and stretch to your limits. Then you do it again.
I can recall the first yoga class I did. I was in college and my best friend and I jumped into a random class at the fitness center. We giggled our way through, attempting to balance and failing. Sweat ran down our face and we vowed to be serious about our work outs (that clearly didn’t happen, we rested on genetics for years). We knew nothing of asanas, chakras or becoming a better person. Yoga was a foreign concept as a lifestyle for two young black women from Oklahoma City (Chane) and Houston (me).
Fast forward 10 years.
The day starts at 6:40, earlier than I get up for work. I sleepily make my way, grabbing my duffel bag with two changes of workout clothes, a day’s worth of meals and snacks and a five-inch binder of training materials. By the time the day is over at 7:30, I’ve led a practice, practiced postures while others have led, done an hour class and read pages worth of training information. By 10 p.m., I’m sprawled on the couch, on the other side of sleep. In a word: exhausted.
Lest you think I’m miserable, I will balance the above with other insights. My practice and thinking has sharpened in ways I never thought possible. Sharing this experience with the other trainees and Academy leadership has been amazing. Training is about more than just yoga. We study principles of anatomy and physiology, communication and pedagogy. We will be well-rounded teachers when we finish. And I feel infinitely blessed that I have this experience.
One of the most important practices I’ve established from teacher training is setting an intention. Not only does it make you accountable to yourself and others to accomplish a goal, you begin to recognize how the importance you place on reaching that goal will modify your behavior and attitude. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when your intention for the day is compassion for those who annoy you (speaking from experience, this was my goal last week).
Do you do something similar in your day? Perhaps it’s a mini-meditation or scripture reading before beginning your day. How does this influence your choices throughout the day?