Class Notes, Week 6: Emerging comfort + confidence

The Moksha yoga teacher training program requires me to journal once each week about my experience with the poses and assignments + my practice and progress. This is part of that weekly assignment.

Several people in my class have compared teaching yoga to learning a new language.  It’s true.

As first-year Spanish student in middle-school, I trained my tongue to r-r-r-roll and spent hours memorizing nouns and conjugation structures.  Years later, after continuous studying and practicing, the hard work paid off: I found myself speaking, thinking and dreaming in Spanish, with relative ease.  (Today, unfortunately, my Spanish is incredibly rusty, due to lack of use.)

I see this same path opening up for me with yoga teacher training.  Not only does teaching yoga literally come with a new way of speaking — Sanskrit included — but it comes with a new way of listening, observing, thinking and preparing.

Just as I wasn’t speaking conversational Spanish after one month, teaching yoga isn’t going to come that quickly either.  But I’m finding a rhythm amidst all of this “newness” and how to best process it into my personal practice (both guided and at home) and practice teaching.  I’m getting more comfortable, and with that emerging comfort comes a growing confidence.

One of my fellow teacher trainees pointed something out during the homework review last night: Yoga teachers aren’t perfect.  We’ve all taken classes with teachers who don’t use every cue that Daren teachers us; some even forget things mid-practice, and fumble for the right words and explanations.  I’ve noticed this over the past few weeks, too, and it’s put me more at ease about my progress, my growing abilities.  We’re human, after all.  What we’re doing through teacher training is building a library of yoga from which to pull, as needed.  Perfection isn’t the ultimate goal.

I’m also starting to find my voice as a yoga teacher.  Slowly.  A few practice sessions with friends and family … practicing on Sunday with my classmates … teaching colleagues simple arm poses … teaching to a mirror … it’s all helping.  And next Saturday, I have two private teaching sessions lined up with four of my pregnant girlfriends.  (Lots of pranayama and gentle asanas!)

Which leads me to my next curious observation: I’m developing a growing curiosity about working with pregnant women.  As the daughter of two obstetricians, people who’ve brought thousands and thousands of babies into this world, I find a sweet coincidence in this.  I didn’t plan it this way!  The curiosity just … emerged.

The origins likely stem from being surrounded by girlfriends who have recently given birth, including my own sister, Kelly.  The intimacy that comes with being involved in that process, and the desire to nurture these women into happy and healthy states of mind so that their little ones could benefit while in the womb — well, it just fills me with so much joy.  I’m not only helping the mom, but I’m helping her unborn, still-developing baby.

Plus, who knows if I’ll be lucky enough to give birth to a child of my own in this lifetime.  While it pains me to think about that — I find happiness in knowing that I could use my skills to help other women bring positively charged children into this world.  Why dwell on something you don’t have when you can embrace those who do, and share in that feeling of love and nurturing?

It will be interesting to see how next Saturday’s practice sessions go.  Since our classes don’t emphasize pregnancy modifications much, I am seeking out information independently — books, yoga journals, questioning seasoned yogis.  I plan to attend a prenatal class this coming week, too.  I have time to safely architect an effective class for my pregnant girlfriends.  Who knows, if after those practice sessions this path feels right, perhaps I could contact my dad’s office and offer my gratis services to patients there …

But, one step at a time.  I’ll begin exploring, and see what happens.

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