You HAD to know that a reflective and emotional blog was coming your way as soon as you found out I was going for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. I love learning and trying new things and then talking about them. It’s partially why I even started this blog. So, of course, I was going to share this experience with you. =]
For starters, I learned a lot and loved the entire experience. I am a huge yogi and practice yoga at least 4-5 times a week, so I was all jazzed up when I decided to bring my practice to that next level.
I had actually wanted to become a yoga teacher for several years before I pulled the trigger. In the past, I never committed because courses were 6 months to a year and I just couldn’t commit to that long of a training period.
I like to get things done quickly and efficiently. I hated the idea of being bogged down by one thing for a long period of time.
This 200 hour training was an accelerated course. It was 3 months of training starting in October and ending in December. Then I had to study and practice for a final test. It was the perfect length of time and a great little challenge for the last 90 days of the year.
I learned SO much about yoga’s history, meditation, teaching, adjusting, and so much more. But that being said, the major lessons that I learned from my yoga training have nothing to do with yoga.
My lessons were more philosophical themes, lessons that I learned through experiencing the course.
The first theme that kept coming up for me was to:
To those of you who know me personally, I don’t do anything slowly. I talk fast, I walk fast, I eat fast, I do a lot of things at once quickly and then I move on. I didn’t even want to get yoga certified before because it would take too long. I don’t like to sit with feelings, I don’t like to rest, I push push push until I collapse.
As you can imagine, slowing down wasn’t an easy lesson for me, yet it’s essential in yoga. The whole point of yoga is to slow down, quiet your mind and connect your body with your breath. That’s literally what yoga means. The union of the body and mind.
I do yoga because I need yoga. I need the pause, I need to slow down. But taking a yoga class and teaching a yoga class are two totally different things. I CAN still be my spaz self with my spaz mind while taking a yoga class because you are practicing to quiet and slow your mind down and it’s okay if you don’t get there. But I CAN’T do that when I am teaching a class.
When teaching a class, you need to slow everything down. You have to speak slower, move slower, and teach the class with cues and at a pace that people can easily follow and understand.
I had a really hard time putting this practice into place and I was having a really hard time teaching the class because of this. I was talking too fast, I was teaching too fast, and because of that I would stumble over my words, forget body parts and what I was even teaching.
My personal life and mental health were also starting to struggle at this time. When I was at the beginning of my yoga training I was still trying to do it all. I was doing yoga training every week, 4 days a week for 3-4 hours a day, then I was taking yoga classes on top of that. All while still working a full-time job, blogging, and teaching at the True Blue Studio. This doesn’t even include trying to be social and still seeing my friends and family.
The pressure of fitting it all in, and doing it all, was starting to weigh on me. And I kept hearing the saying “slow down”. I heard it from people around me, I got it as feedback when teaching, I read it in articles and books, and I heard it from the little voice inside my head. This message of “slow down”, was following me everywhere.
Then I finally did. I slowed down. I couldn’t physically, mentally, or emotionally do it all anymore, and I had to actually stop and slow down. I stopped going out, I stopped pushing myself to go above and beyond in other areas, and I allowed myself to slow down and hone in on the task at hand, getting my training done.
Once I finally gave in and focused, I stopped worrying about cooking the best meals or taking a walk to get cardio in. I didn’t worry about if my blogging schedule was perfect, or if I was posting enough on social media. My only priorities were my job and this training.
When I finally made that shift, when I finally slowed down, the changes were drastic. I felt less stressed and more at peace in everything I did daily. I started to absorb and remember the material better, and then I was able to actually articulate and teach a class.
It was an important reminder to me that you CAN do everything, but you CAN’T do everything at once. Sometimes you have to just slow down and take it one small step at a time until you get there.
Which leads perfectly into the next lesson that I learned:
“There is no final destination”.
During training, we had our “Asana Sheets”, which were sheets of all of the major yoga poses we had to learn. They had the benefits, alignments, adjustments, variations, teaching cues. They were pretty much the holy bible of the course. We went back to them every single class and would study them until we understood each pose entirely.
At the end of the alignment section, which told you how to actually do the pose, there was this bullet saying, “there is no final destination”. It was on a number of the asana’s and at first, I thought it was a little funny and odd. “No final destination” What kind of alignment is that?
Then throughout the course, the more I learned, the more I realized how much more I still had to learn, and that’s when it made sense. There is no final destination, meaning there is no end. There is no such thing as perfect. There is no finish line. You never stop trying and practicing and learning and growing because you are just trying to become better than you were last time.
It reminded me that we are never done, there is always more ahead of us. More to learn, more to experience, more ways to grow and improve. And I just thought, “how perfect”.
We call yoga a practice because every day we show up on our mat, and practice to become better at something. We are never done. We never stop showing up. We never stop practicing yoga.
It’s the same with life. In life, we are never done. We are never done learning. We are never done growing, and we never have to stop making our mark on this world.
There is no final destination, and there is no finish line.
This theme of “there is no final destination” fits in so well with “slow down”. It reminded me that there is no reason to rush because there is no final destination.
Life is about the journey. It’s about the constant growth and development, so don’t rush it away, but sit with it, and drink in all its goodness. Because that is the good stuff. That is what it’s all about.
I am sure Kaia Yoga had no idea that’s what one of their students would take away these types of lessons from their course, but I did, and man am I grateful for it.
Until next time, slow down because there is no final destination. Enjoy it while it’s here.