The next step - Yoga Teacher Training

The first weekend of yoga teacher training has come and gone. Going into it, I felt nervous, and insecure—afraid that I wasn't where I thought I "should" be; concerned that everyone else there would be so further along in their practice than me, and that I would hold people back.

We began by rolling out our mats and practicing a flow to the sound of Jacqui's voice. Afterward I felt the room had calmed, and felt more unified than before. We were beginning to become more comfortable with being around each other. As Jacqui began, she quelled our fears and insecurities. I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling the way I did. What she said spoke directly to my fears, and it really eased me to hear her address them. I'm not the only one. We're all in this together. I began to feel closer to each of the other people in the room. I had compassion for myself and for each of them, realizing that we're all possibly feeling the same sorts of insecurities about ourselves, and our practice.

We gathered in a circle and each of us spoke about where we're from and what brought us to Jacqui's yoga teacher training. It took us a couple hours to go all the way around the circle, holding space for each person as we opened up and shared a little bit about ourselves. Each one of us has a history—a story—that brings us to where we are now, and each one of these stories is beautiful. I shared the story of how I was introduced to Jacqui, at one of her Chakra Cleanse workshops, and how my life got flipped upside down afterwards; my journey with Reiki, and that in March I finally worked through a big emotional blockage that has allowed me to finally commit to the yoga teacher training that I've been wanting to do for years.

Jacqui spoke about yoga, and how she dissects the flow into 8 "threads" as she calls them. Each thread is worked for an equal amount of time throughout the whole practice, and each focuses on a different aspect of the physical/energetic body. Seeing that there is a really logical and structured way to design a vinyasa flow was comforting to me, and because they are worked in small segments, for about 10 minutes each helped me to feel more confident that it will be possible for me to learn it. I'm all about baby steps—learning things in little batches, before assembling the whole—and that seems to be what we'll be doing throughout this training.

We learned how important proper alignment is in Mountain Pose, and that it carries into so many (all?) of the other postures that we do. She helped re-train how we do chaturanga (high to low push-up), while maintaining the alignment of Mountain.

Sunday we began with another flow, but this time, as we completed each "thread" we would pause for a question and answer period. Jacqui would address questions about the specific poses that are worked in that thread, and help us to understand more about the alignment of each of the poses.

I did a lot of yoga this weekend, and my body handled it much better than I was anticipating. I feared that I would not be able to keep up, but Jacqui's flows always seem to allow enough time to breathe, and move, that even when my muscles feel like they're going to drop me at any time, I can still breathe and maintain the strength I need. My shoulders are more sore than I ever remember them being in the past—and that's awesome. I'm excited to feel more in shape and stronger than ever before, and I know that this training is going to help me get there—stronger physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I'm confident that this is going to be one of the most therapeutic things I've ever done.

My homework for the next month is to read Yogabody by Judith Hanson Lasater, read through the anatomy section of the workbook, read the intro to, and flip through The Trail Guide to the Body, practice every day (yoga, meditation, journaling, in some-way being with myself), and prepare to teach threads 2, 3, 5 and 6. The next time we meet there will be some intense anatomy lessons with David Vendetti and I'll be teaching those 4 threads to three of my fellow yogi classmates.
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