Week 2 of YTT (yoga teacher training) was more challenging than the first. Perhaps because the physical component of the class was more apparent.
Sunday I left class and felt like crying on the entire drive home (30 minutes). The tears never surfaced, but they were there waiting. But the other side of dealing with my body limitations and pain is that I’ve begun a regular yoga practice. For the past 14 days, I’ve been meditating for at least 20 minutes before bed. I’ve been sleeping better without taking melatonin (most nights). The number of nights I wake up to go to the bathroom at 3 a.m. has decreased! (I should start tracking this for real.)
We did work with vinyasas that day. Nearly everyone struggled with the Chaturanga pose (the one that looks like a push-up). In fact, we all have to get permission from our teacher before we are permitted to do the full expression of this pose in class. Proper alignment and strength in this pose are important, because you can hurt your back if you slouch into it. And, of course, we are learning the proper way to do the pose so we can instruct others later.
My judgement filter disappeared and I began talking about doing the pose wrong. I was concerned about doing it with proper alignment, but the words that came out of my mouth were, “I’m doing this wrong.” Except, yoga is about working from wherever you are that day (Parinamayada – change is constant).
That feeling carried until the end of class. Our teacher led us in the Gayatri Mantra, which has accompanying mudras (hand gestures/movements). We were to do it three times. I (still) don’t know the mantra, and I don’t know the mudras. I tried to follow along on both fronts, but by the third round I fell out of the chant. I was feeling frustrated, and it didn’t feel good to do it anymore.
That day I had a preconceived notion about where I should be in regards to how my body should move and my ability to recite the mantra. As soon as I wasn’t there, I was wrong and felt a bit defeated. I left class with that feeling of defeat hovering around me.
I’ve been dealing with some of these mental hurdles by beginning a regular yoga practice (Sadhana). For the past 14 days, I’ve been meditating for at least 20 minutes before bed. I start with 10 minutes of mantra meditation and end with 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation (i.e. breathing-based). I’ve been sleeping better without taking melatonin (most nights). The number of nights I wake up to go to the bathroom at 3 a.m. has decreased! (I should start tracking this for real.)
For the past four days I’ve woken up an hour earlier that I might have. I start with a short meditation to set the intention of my day, and I practice asana for 20 minutes. I’m already seeing an increase in my arm strength (to prepare for Chaturanga). I’ve been working on stretching my wrists, and already I feel less pain in my wrists and forearms than I did before. After my asana practice, I drink tea and journal about my experiences and whatever else I want for about 20 minutes. Then I meditate to close out the hour. Getting up earlier in the morning is not my favorite thing. But I’m impressed already with seeing results after such a short period of time.
I already know I’m not perfect. And I know I can change. Already I’ve seen rather drastic changes in my body after a short period of time. Developing a more consistent yoga practice is going to help me adapt to changes more easily, I think. It’s going to further help me with shutting down those judgmental voices that can rear their head. Surely I want to be in proper alignment when practicing the poses, but just like the different lessons I plan for my students in biology classes don’t always go off perfectly, sometimes it takes a few times to get it right.
I’ll need to keep reminding myself of the wish I made a few weeks before starting YTT. I wished myself patience and grace. Patience has never been my strong point.
But I’m getting better!