Yoga Teacher Training: Weekend One

Crying in front of a group of people that you’re meeting for the first time is the kind of thing that crops up in those public-speaking themed nightmares where you get to wake up with a sigh of relief that it didn’t actually happen. Today was not one of those days...

But oh boy, did it feel good. It’s probably worth noting that I’m not a cutesy crier… I’m a bit more into that gasping for air, sobbing your heart out kind of crying, which doesn’t work out that well when you’re at the beginning of your first sentence, with the prospect of at least another 60 seconds of communication to try and get out of your mouth hanging over you. Kudos to my newly acquired yoga family for not only meeting this bombardment of tears with zero confusion, but instead offering supporting smiles and a round of applause for my efforts. It’s curious how you can picture a moment before it happens, and in your vision you are confident and articulate, but then when it comes to it, a very different kind of soggy-faced, sniffling event unfolds. As is life I suppose.

It’s no secret that my life has been all kinds of crazy over the last eighteen months, with more life-changing decisions being made than I would like to make on a regular basis - but hey, that’s the way things have unfolded and I’m okay with that. I’m a huge believer in things happening exactly as they should. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it’s probably one of the only unwavering beliefs that I have, and it has been the anchoring thought to keep me sane through all of these mentioned life changes. The only issue with this belief however is that sometimes it means that I brush off and deny myself emotional attachment to life events, that sometimes deserve a little bit/a lot of emotional over-coming, because I’m forever looking at the bigger picture. 

This weekend is the first weekend of my Yoga Teacher Training with Falmouth Yoga Space. It might be worth noting that this isn’t the first time that I’ve attempted to attend this course. After signing up and feeling raring to go in March 2017, life took a slightly different path than the one I had planned, meaning that I moved away from Cornwall and instead spent six months battling with the issue of not doing much yoga at all (when basically, I should have probably been opening up my heart and mind to more yoga, but that’s a story for a different time).

So when I said to the Universe that I wanted to move back to Cornwall and it presented it to me, and I said to myself that I needed to open my heart back up to yoga and I did, I knew that the opportunity to attend the course was once again dangling within my grasp.

Forgive me for waffling a little, but I promise that this is the condensed version of my thoughts from today, and for the first time in a decade I have homework to do, so I mustn’t take up too much time talking to you lovely lot right this second. It’s funny because since I started writing for a job, I find it quite difficult to write in the rest of my time, but now I have this overwhelming feeling of having too much to write and not enough time. Anyway, I’m getting distracted.

So, day one of Yoga Teacher Training arrived and with such a manic month leading up to it, I managed to avoid that pre-course/momental event nervousness until the very last minute, which is ideal for me as I tend to pre-empt events way before it’s necessary or acceptable (and yes, I’m that person who is getting stoked for Christmas and annoying everyone in November).

After meeting the lovely souls that I’ll be spending the next ten months with yesterday evening, we returned again this morning full of nerves and anxiety (admittedly, my own anxiety may have been caffeine-induced).

Now, I love a resolution or intention, don't get me wrong, but I hate those unachievable New Years Resolutions for the pure fact that I know I won’t keep them. For me, January is all about enjoyment and feeling into a New Year. So on that basis, it's unlikely that you'll catch me doing Dry January or hitting up a new gym membership because I simply will not not not enjoy it. 

However, it’s around this time of the year, once I’ve started to get into the swing of things, that the clogs start turning and I find myself thinking about what I want to get out of the year ahead. So when we were asked to set a Sankalpa (a Sanskrit term in yogic philosophy for an intention formed by the heart and mind, or as Keren liked to refer to it, “a crystallization of your heart’s vision”), I was excited to give it some serious thought. It’s worth noting that this is different to an unattainable/unenjoyable resolution, such as promising to do a hundred burpees a day for a month or something nasty like that. Rather, a Sankalpa is more of a positive affirmation, which we were requested to theme around the questions of Why do I practice yoga? and Why do I want to teach yoga?  

Intended to be short and focused, a Sankalpa can provide focus for the year ahead and I was quite surprised that, with the aid of the questions, it didn’t actually take me all that long to think of my own for 2018.

ACCEPT, CONNECT AND SHARE

I’m not going to go into this too much right now, but essentially my Sankalpa means to accept that my journey is wonderful and unique (and the emotions that come with this), connect with others to find out and learn about their wonderful and unique journeys, and then share this abundance of stories with as many people as possible.

In some ways, I feel that these three elements are what I try to bring to the surface with this blog, which I also found out today sits particularly well with the Tantric philosophy that joy is our birth right and we have this one incredible, sacred life that we need to be living.

Anyway, back to my Sankalpa. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing (whatever that means) until it came to presenting to the group and I found myself stood in front of all these people, trying to explain that I’m accepting a series of not-so-good (pretty shit) events in my life, but that it’s all okay. I honestly think that it was one of the rare moments that I allowed myself to feel the emotional enormity of it all, and yikes, it certainly hit me all at once. I’m always amazed at openness and the way that feelings of pure dread can pass as quickly as they come, and instead I allowed myself to be open, cry and accept that the people stood around me didn’t care whatsoever about anything other than who I was/am in that/this very moment. And what a wonderful feeling that was to accept and allow myself to fall into.

There are too many words from today to process, but I felt like I needed to get that bit out and to express that acceptance isn't merely rolling over and letting life flow over you. Instead, acceptance is truly feeling every emotion that comes your way - whether that be smiles or tears. Oh, and if you want a cry - just do it! I even had one of those glorious Savasana cries that seem to emerge from nowhere and you only become aware by the bizarre sensation of tears slowly flowing down the sides of your face and into your ears. I get the impression that there might be a lot of crying over the next ten months, and I am fully accepting that.

I hope that you are all enjoying the new year so far and are pushing yourselves to do things in your day to day life that you never thought that you would do in your wildest dreams - whether that’s a new experience, a new way of seeing things or just being more conscious of the wonderful life that you are living.