I’m embarking on a new journey, friends, taking the plunge into a 200-hour Living Yoga Teacher Training program www.livingyogadc.com. It’s exciting! I’ve wanted to do this for years.
I’m catching glimmers of what this change could mean to my life and my #consulting work.
But, I'll admit, leading up to the start of the program I felt more ambivalence than anything. The training is costly and time-consuming – 10 full weekends over the next five months. How will I fit yet another commitment into my life? And why am I doing this NOW?
I avoided making my final payment until, nudged by the studio owner on the very last day, I had no choice – or else lose my early bird deposit.
Interesting how even self-initiated change can raise #Resistance! It’s only the beginning of the doubts likely to arise as the training progresses.
So the idea’s hit me: to use myself as a case study, share the process of change as I go.
In Sanskrit, the language of yoga, the term is #Svādhyāya – the study of self – a life-long endeavor.
Writing, journaling, blogging have always been my go-to tools for gaining clarity, integrating ideas and deepening understanding.
By sharing, I go a step further: I go on record.
#Change, I have found, does not happen in isolation – but in relationship. You, dear readers, are my witnesses. You will hold me accountable.
In turn, my experience might spark insights related to changes, personal or profession, that you are facing or considering in your life.
So let’s start with the spark. What prompted me to undertake this #YTT program now, at this moment in my career and life (in my, ah-hem, mid-fifties!)?
Change can be prompted from the outside or inside.
Outside: you’re fired, or newly retired, and have no choice but to respond in some way or another in to pay your bills and fill your time.
Inside: the status quo (for example, a bad job or relationship) is no longer adequate or tenable. Or perhaps you simply want something more or different from life.
In the case of this yoga teacher training, no one was forcing me; the desire to deepen my practice had been percolating inside for some time. It was 10 years since, as an injured runner, I’d stumbled into yoga, having discovered, after a challenging 10-mile race, I could not straighten my back. Visits to doctors, and a set of x-rays revealed, a snake-like scoliosis curve in lower lumbar that was beyond cure. If I didn’t do something, like take-up yoga, my running days (and more) would be over.
Yoga saved my spine and my running career: I just competed in the Marine Corps 10K and finished fifth out of 302 runners in my age group. I enjoy a vigorous weekly routine of lunchtime flow 1.5 classes at Pasttensestudio.com and attend occasional group retreats. I get centered and strengthened – and I am able to log my 15 miles a week on the running trail despite my permanent ailment.
But why teacher training?
I still wasn’t sure.
During the first training weekend, I felt tired and bored and annoyed with all the students’ questions. I noticed I’d brought my doubts into the room, half-distracted by what else I could or should be doing with my weekend, my back throbbing from sitting for 15 hours on the floor, my mind spinning from all the material coming at me, from anatomy to teaching theory to sun salute sequencing.
Toward the end of the second day, when the teachers presented the #QuadrinityModel of learning archetypes, my ears perked up. What kind of student are you? The teachers asked. And what kind of teacher do you want to be?
Teacher, who said I wanted to be a teacher? I quietly protested, more doubts about this endeavor bubbling up.
But when the teachers led us through a guided meditation, prompting us to visualize ourselves moving through the quadrants, the physical, intellectual, spiritual and emotional, and asking us to sense into which areas we felt most drawn, a phrase flashed across my mind’s eye: ALL the quadrants, ALL of me.
I felt myself smiling as the lights came up and our collective Om vibrated through the space.
I saw myself in all four quadrants, but I lived almost exclusively in my head. Not surprising in a town like DC. But I felt the urge – and opportunity through yoga – to bring all sides of myself, mind, body and spirit, more fully into my life and my work.
Journaling that night I wrote: I’m in the right place. Body exhausted but mind open. The ambivalence is transforming into clarity and gratitude – for the teachers – and for me.
That #bodyfeeling – not just #mindfiguring – is where I want to be. It’s the beginning of the change I am seeking. And beyond myself, I want to learn how to share this depth of change with others – friends and colleagues and the clients with whom I work – so they, too, can gain the benefits of yoga.
What that looks like, exactly, I’m not yet sure. Time will tell.
That’s the beauty and challenge of change. You take your first steps down the path with one maybe murky intention; and unforeseen clarity, opportunities (and barriers) WILL pop-up – if you pay attention.
This blog series, for instance, was completely unexpected.
The key for me now, at the beginning of the journey, is to remain open to the surprises.
Oh, and study, study, study.
· Think about a change facing you. Is it bubbling up from the inside or prompted from the outside or a combination of both? Take 10 minutes to freewrite* your thoughts.
· What might be holding you back from taking first steps?
· With whom could you share your ideas in order to make the possibility real?
* #Freewriting is a technique for getting out the unexpurgated thoughts without stopping to correction, or rethinking or delete. Oftentimes the old fashioned pen and paper method works best.