Week 6 of Yoga Teacher Training
Patience is my work this week.
Being on my mat more than ever before is giving me lots of opportunities to work with this concept. Right now there is not that great yoga session after a few days of no yoga, where my body and mind are craving it. There is yoga every day and sometimes twice a day. My body and mind are not necessarily craving it, but this is where it gets interesting. This is where it gets new.
This is the “deepen your practice” aspect that teacher trainings promise. I’ve never been here before. This is a unique kind of “deep” that involves revisiting the same foundational poses in my same body and learning something new every time.
Learning to stretch my patience and sit with patience, both in myself and in my process is a little uncomfortable. As I settle into it more and more, I’ve started to notice a freedom that didn’t exist before. A little more space within the tightness. A relaxing into the discomfort. An acceptance.
A seeing where I am and a growing ability to not have to run from that or to that. Not into a deeper pose and not into a better place.
Since I’m working through the same postures multiple times a day, I get to observe my attitude and attention (or lack thereof) each time. I am seeing my limits reached and then asking myself what I need to do to last a little longer, to dig a little deeper, to honor my present moment more fully.
Surprisingly, there is something new and untapped every time I return to my mat. My legs are tired, but my standing poses have never felt more solid. My body is achy, but every down-dog feels like the first one ever. My mind is so alert from the accelerated learning that stillness has never been more clearly defined, and when there is silence I hear it more loudly than the sounds.
And so it happens that Patience invites me into my own body. Have a seat, she says. Everything you need is here.
Perception & Perspective
This is a concept I was reintroduced to this week. During class when a teacher was using a student to demo a particular asana and the rest of us were gathered all around, she pointed out an aspect of the pose. One student commented, “It doesn’t look like that from here.”
Her angle didn’t allow her to see what those of us at a different angle could see; and unless she got up and moved, she would never get a true visual of what was happening.
Thus I was reminded to take a closer look at my apparent perspectives. When I change my angle or my attitude in life, how quickly my perspective shifts and how profoundly what is perceived changes shape.
Through this teacher training I’ve come to appreciate on a new level that yoga is not about how it looks on the outside. It’s about what’s happening on the inside.
To this end, one of our teachers pointed out that as teachers we will often need to give different people different instructions to get to the same place.
The path we take to a pose is our own. The so-called end result is more about how we inhabit it than how we form it.
Throughout our lives we will find at times we can access our asana or meditation practice easier than other times. Our bodies and our minds change as our lives change. It will always be slightly different conditions we travel in, and our path will never be the same as someone else’s.
To travel our own path with our eyes and hearts wide open delivers us to our pose or our place of choice fully alive and fully lit up. We will all arrive at the same place through different processes. The place we arrive at is called Here.
Once we get Here, all we have to do is breathe. It doesn’t matter if you got here faster or slower than anyone else or what you look like on the outside. We are all breathing on the inside, and we are all Here.
Welcome. Take your seat. Settle in. Light It Up. This is it.
This is the sixth part of a series.