Listening to: Trigger Hippie by Morcheeba
My Yoga Teacher Training Course is in full swing! I have just completed my sixth week of training and to be perfectly honest, had no idea that I was signing up for this level of intensity. It’s awkward and amazing at the same time.
We meet for practice every Saturday at a Karate Dojo for nine hours, there is no air conditioning, and only one fan. Late August until now continues to be stifling with hot and humid weather here in Okinawa. I can’t complain because I miss my Bikram yoga practice from back home, the heat paired with six hours of actual practice feels strikingly similar to Bikram style yoga. There are eleven students that have come from all over to take this course. Some are natives, some are from mainland Japan, one women is from Ireland and the rest of us are from the states. Everyone brings a different yet positive energy to the class.
During the first class I felt such a range of emotions, at first I was so excited to be part of something so fun and couldn’t wait to absorb all the “enlightenment” that would pour over me. I knew the teacher already from all the yoga classes taken during my lunch hour at the fitness center. She’s got a really unique personality, I get this vibe that she is always being her true self. You how sometimes you smile to be polite even when you feel internal rage? It doesn’t seem like this ever happens to her. For example if someone ripped the mat out from under her and ran away with it, I feel like she would say something like “I didn’t care for that, perhaps she was having a terrible day.” And that would literally be the end of it. It’s inspiring to watch someone have that much control and it looks painless.
We each received an illustrated book of anatomy, highlighting all the muscles that are contracting and stretching throughout the body in the different poses. Along with this book we received a notebook, a journal, and an instruction manual that lists the meaning and the focus of each pose with the coaching tips we will give to our students when teaching the poses. This leads me to the next feeling, which was extremely awkward. After we learned the first three poses in the manual we were then told to get into groups and teach each other. Teaching a stranger something while demonstrating the pose proved to be very overwhelming for me for the first three classes. I was red in the face, sweating up a storm, and had marbles in my mouth. I couldn’t stand myself and dreaded this part of the course. I felt waves of relief when the instructor told us it was time to break for lunch or that we would have a guest speaker for an hour. This anxiety has somewhat dissipated over the last three weeks and I finally feel like it’s becoming more natural.
There are 121 pages in the manual and almost all of them have poses to learn, this past Saturday we finally wrapped up the last of the poses. Every Sunday I wake up with sore triceps, hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips. After the first class even my ribs were sore. I thought I would never make it.
Alas I am still alive and really digging the course.
Our latest homework assignment (among many others) is to start teaching yoga for 60 minutes to at least one person per week. Clarence volunteered his time and attention to be my student.
Allow me to set the stage for you:
First we rearranged the living room, moving all the furniture to the side, we lit candles, dimmed the lights and flipped on the “Spa” station via Serius Radio. It was great.
Clarence disappeared into the bedroom to put on his yoga ensemble. He showed up wearing a speedo. I tried really hard to be professional and not burst into a laughing fit. I proceeded to ask my student if this was his first yoga class and he didn’t raise his hand, then I asked if it was his first class with me and he raised his hand eagerly.
We moved through the practice pretty gracefully. It was really great to have the spa music in the back drop. I was making everything up as I went along and feeling quite confident about it. It made me think that if I actually mapped out a few different routines that I might have a decent yoga class going upon graduation. I could have used more warrior poses mid class, and I forgot about the standing balancing poses, however Clarence is currently nursing a pulled hamstring and elbow so doing without them was to his benefit, as he is still in phase one of recovery mode.
Clarence gave excellent feedback about my class, listing my strengths and things that needed improvement. He has requested that I conduct class in our living room three times a week. I can’t wait!
Lastly, I was astounded by Clarences headstand and ability to hold the posture for several yoga breaths!