I want to tell you a story about how I went to Thailand for my yoga teacher training and came back a whole new person. I want to tell you that I solved all my problems, but I didn’t.
Was I so wrong to have secretly hoped for that?
I could give you the shiny happy plastic version of the story but no, I don't do that. It was not all butterflies and rainbows, and I wont pretend it was. Three weeks later and my head is still spinning. Granted it was never really on straight to begin with.
I’m pretty sure everyone thinks I was on a relaxing, self care vacation for 3 weeks. My reply to that is: not quite. It was not a retreat.
I’ll say it again for anyone who didn't quite catch that- I was not on a retreat!
To say we were busy is an understatement.
We had a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time. In some ways 3 weeks can be an eternity and in other ways, it's over in a flash. The yoga alliance requires a minimum of 200 hours of curriculum to receive a teaching certification. If you do the math, that's 9.5 hours a day, with no days off.
That's a shit ton of yoga. I'm not talking about child's pose and warrior II. I'm talking about sitting on a hard wood floor, scribbling notes about anatomy and the eight limbs for hours. I'm talking sanskrit flashcards. I'm talking assists, modifications, and mudras for days ya'll.
The Silver Lining
If I'm making it sound like I just had the most shit time ever, please don't get me wrong. There were so many beautiful moments, that I will cherish forever. More then I can count or even attempt to put into words.
My teachers were down to earth, full of knowledge and experience, inspirational and funny. They were cool AF. Each of them bringing something unique to the table. I felt that they genuinely cared about me and wanted to help me. I knew I could confide in them and go to them with anything, and for that I'm extremely grateful for.
Even more so, I bonded and formed friendships with the most amazing like minded people from all over the globe.
I have a network, a tribe, a squad of supporters and hopefully future collaborators, life long friends. People who GET it. People to continue sharing, learning and growing with as time ticks on.
Aside from the mosquitoes, the location could not have been more perfect. I was in a fairy tale land. Check out my IG account @christina.eve.yoga and my story highlights titled "YTT" for more pictures and videos of my experience.
I learned SO much. Many more posts to come on all the things my brain is swarming with. There's so much I cant wait to share. I just don't know where to start...or how to juggle my full time job in the process...hmm.
You can't have a positive without a negative.
It appears I still have a massive amount of inner garbage to sift through.
I knew that I was the type of person that valued my time and space alone. But here is where I realized it more then ever. I was surrounded by others all the time.
During a rare moment that I had to myself in the yoga shala, I was able to feel the monumental importance of that place. I was able to feel the energy of the room without the fear and distraction. Without the anxiety, emotions and vibes of those around me. There was a freeing moment, a weight lifted, a breath of fresh air... but it was only a fleeting moment. It reminded me of why I have a home practice and the sacredness I feel towards it. I'm so grateful for the experience and the people. But I'm also grateful for the silence. A sense of tranquility I always crave but seldom find.
So many times I questioned myself, why did I do this? Why did I think I'd be good at this? Would it be OK if I just left and went home now?
Assignments were dropped on us one after another after another, each one feeling like a punishment. I struggled to come up for air. My anxiety grew and grew and I struggled to keep it under control.
There were times I felt sick to my stomach with fear. There were times I wanted to scream “SHUT UP” at the top of my lungs because the noise seemed often endless and inescapable.
There were times, I had to leave lectures to cry in the bathroom because things buried deep were becoming dislodged and floating to the surface without my permission.
There were times my head pounded so hard I swear it was visable from outside my skull. There were times I struggled to stay awake during the lectures from lack of sleep. In the beginning I thought it would never end. The first week alone felt like a month.
The practice teaching gave me heart palpitations. This was something worth worrying about. Am I even cut out for this? Will I ever be OK speaking in front of a group? Will I ever find the right words? My self esteem plummeted and I fought feelings of resentment towards anyone who found it easy to talk in front of others with such a flippant attitude.
What helped in those moments was remembering the reasons why I want to teach yoga, and why I signed up for this.
Remembering who I was 5 years ago and who I am now. Remembering how much harder shit I’ve been through and survived. Remembering in the grand scheme of things how fast this time was going to fly by. Remembering that everything happens for a reason, and to search for the lesson, and grow.
Things I did not get from YTT:
A spiritual awakening...but I did have a mental breakdown and many people would say you cant have one without the other, sooo...
A new found freedom from what others think of me. Ha. Yeah, maybe one day. Fingers crossed.
The ability to “relax” because someone tells me to. Please do not ever tell me to relax. It’s OK to freak out sometimes. Feel the freak out. Don't stuff it down because someone told you to “relax”. And then when you're ready, let it go.
A well mapped out plan of where to go from here. I thought I’d have some dream cloud drop down on me and expose a vision of my future while I sat in lotus pose in the yoga shala but no such luck. I keep having to claw my way out of the comparison trap as I watch my fellow trainees hit the ground running. I have no freaking idea where to go from here. I’m not gonna lie, I’m obsessing over it and trying not to. I have a million ideas. I just need to sit with it all and sort it out. These things take time.
No I didn't find myself
I guess I was expecting that from this journey.
But I wasn't missing.
I've been here all along.
I still have the same weaknesses, I've always known them.
I've just shined a light on them even brighter.
Do I have the energy to fight my demons?
Depends on the day,
Do I have the willingness?
I want nothing more.
These thought patterns took 30 years to create, that aren't going to change in three weeks.
So, now I’m a yoga teacher
I traveled to the other side of the world, far outside my comfort zone, pushed myself beyond my breaking point, and earned a piece of paper which states I am certified to teach yoga.
It means I'm qualified to share something so important to me with the world, and hopefully help others.
Are there a million other people teaching yoga? Yes. but there's only one of me. I know there are people out there feeling lost and hopeless with no real coping skills and these are the people I hope to reach. Even if it's just to say, "Hey. I get it. Same boat".
I went there,
I learned a lot,
and I still have a lot to learn.
I’m on my way.
I’m trudging bravely forward.
That's what matters.
I have passion.
I’m the same person I was from day one, but now I’ve got more knowledge and inspiration.
Same same but different.
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