A month or two into my membership at the local yoga studio, one of my instructors started hinting at my future as a yoga teacher trainee. His assumptions weren’t completely unfounded. I was at the studio nearly every day, and had also been devouring books about living your yoga on a daily basis.
But I couldn’t imagine myself teaching yoga (I’m not good in front of groups of people), so I couldn’t see the benefits in going through a teacher training program.
Still, as the months passed, my thinking shifted, and I now plan on going through my studio’s teacher training program in 2013. Because of that, I’ve been pushing myself harder in my practice, forcing myself to go to the more advanced classes so that I’ll be in better shape — and more proficient at the more difficult poses — when the time comes.
Then, several weeks ago, in an open flow (all levels) class, a new girl showed up. A beginner yogi.
Several recently certified instructors were also in class that day, talking about the program they’d just completed. “When does the next teacher training session start?” asked the new girl. “Sign me up!” She then proceeded to sweat her way through class, showing an unfamiliarity with even the most basic of poses.
It got me thinking: How do you know you’re ready to teach?
Is teacher training something you should undertake only when you feel you’ve become a highly competent yogi? (Not that there won’t always be more to learn…) Or is teacher training something that can get you there?
In the wake of that New York Times article (you know the one), there’s been a lot of back-and-forth about the qualifications of yoga instructors, and the failings of many certification programs. It makes me eyeball my own failings: My inability to get up into an inversion using core strength alone. My ongoing battle with crow. The chronic tightness in my shoulders. Do I deserve to teach yoga?
Then I realize I’ll never feel ready to be a teacher. There will always be something I’m aiming toward… something I wish I could master… something I need to learn.
So forget teaching. I don’t want to teach.
What I want to do is share.
I want to share this yoga practice that I love SO DAMN MUCH with every gosh darn person I come into contact with.
So in regards to the yoga teacher training program? I suppose that’s reason enough.
I attend five yoga classes at my local studio four days a week. Valerie teaches a beginner class I take on Wednesday mornings. Kurt teaches a higher-level open flow two days a week. And Delana kicks my ass another two days a week.
It’s my routine. It’s what I’m used to.
But one of the other ladies in my Wednesday morning class has been raving about the Monday morning instructor. So I dragged my ass out of bed today and checked him out.
The first thing I noticed was that he moved fast. I was sweating within five minutes, and I chucked my sweater while in warrior I. Then, while we were in child’s pose, he joked with us that we were lucky, because today was all about the third chakra, and we would be working our core.
I often doubt the existence of my core.
Still, he was true to his word, and I found myself marveling at how much better my chaturangas looked under his tutelage.
The toughest part was headstand. Typically, I make my hands a basket and kick up, easily holding the inversion in the center of the room.
But he wouldn’t allow us to kick up. We could either:
tuck our knees into our chest and bring both legs up at once, or
use our core to slide our feet forward and our booties up, eventually piking up.
My feet never left the ground.
It was incredibly humbling.
I’ll be back next week.
Have you ever tried something new only to find yourself completely humbled?
This article in the New York Times on competitive yoga, and yoga championships, is both fascinating and bizarre. We are told by our teachers that we should not compare ourselves to others. Nor should we compare our body’s capabilities on one day to its capabilities on another day. So doesn’t that make competitive yoga… unyogic?