On yoga

I just got off the phone with my mom, who took her first yoga class on the same day that I signed up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training program.

We talked about flexibility (and our mutual lack thereof), about how foreign everything seems in the beginning (“the instructor was talking so quickly about cats and dogs and I didn’t understand her”), about how embarrassing it can be to be in a class that asks you to do so much more than your body seems capable of doing (“she kept giving me these pitying looks”).

To my mother’s credit, she’s taking her first class at a month shy of 57. I was only 22-turning-23.

We talked about blocks, how her instructor asked her if she wanted “a weird rectangular thing” and my mom could only say, “I would hardly know what to do with it.” I mentioned that I used them too, still.

“What? How can you be a yoga teacher if you can’t touch the floor?”

Oh, mom. 

Really. All the teachers I have seen are very flexible. Who is going to want to come to your class if you’re not?”

Most teachers don’t demonstrate all the poses. Besides, maybe some students who aren’t super flexible might want to learn from someone who understands what that’s like.

“Well, do the teachers at the studio know how inflexible you are? Are you sure they think you’re ready for the training?”

Maybe it would be easier to be mad at her, but I can’t be. The questions she asked me tonight are the same questions I’ve been asking myself over, and over, and over again. What if I’m not ready? What if everyone else thinks or knows that I could never teach but doesn’t want to tell me? What if I’m making a giant fool out of myself? What if this just isn’t right for me? Who cares how much I like it? Maybe it’s just not a good fit.

I’m so excited to start TT, but I’m also scared. I know  the training will be hard for everyone in ways I can’t imagine. But I also know that most of the people in the room will probably be more flexible than I am. Stronger than I am. Braver than I am. They’ll have muscle-memory my sports-and-dance-averse body doesn’t have.

I wonder if they’ll wonder what I’m doing there.

Of course, it’s on me to put my faith in the process. To trust everyone who encouraged me, even when it’s hard. To sit with the fear and worry and embarrassment and breathe and let them be. Hopefully, eventually, they’ll work themselves out.

The motivation to prove my mom wrong probably isn’t such a bad thing, either.

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