Oh, The Delusions I Had About Becoming a Yoga Teacher!
I’d been practicing yoga for a little over two years when the idea of teacher training started to creep into my thoughts. I’d fallen head over heels for the practice, and tried to get as many of my friends as possible to drink the kool-aid. I figured that, as a certified teacher, I’d have more luck (and authority) to say, “Seriously, you should try yoga. It cures everything.” Turns out I was only slightly delusional about what becoming a yoga teacher meant.
1. I’d be a Lululemon wearing goddess.
Every time I've taken a class in the past three years, it seemed like my instructors had on super cute (and different) outfits from Lululemon. So naturally I thought as soon as I graduated from teacher training, I'd be privy to some secret Lulu closet. Or somehow my own closet would suddenly be stocked with colorful tanks and bras with style names like, “Free to Fly” and “Move your Magic.” For free. This was obviously a lulu-clouded dream. Sure, I get a 15% discount, but we all know that will cover about one sleeve of clothing.
2. I'd never feel uninspired to teach.
Unlike most people who assumed I'd quit my day job as soon as I graduated teacher training, I always knew this would not be the case (at least not right now). I work over 40 hours a week at my old job, in addition to teaching yoga. This means that sometimes, I’m tired. Getting up in front of a class and being peppy is daunting and exhausting. Coming up with a creative sequence that people will find challenging, but not too challenging, can be overwhelming. Sometimes, I want to come home from work and put on my $5 sweatpants from Wal-Mart and park myself in front of the TV with popcorn and my dog.
3. I’d rather be on my mat.
Some days I just want to get on my mat and zone out. I want to be in my body and out of my head. I don’t want to think about what’s next, I just want to do and be and breathe. However, working full-time and teaching 3 times a week and life happenings mean I don't practice as much as I'd like. It makes me savor the time on my mat even more and realize I need to make time to practice for my own sanity. Easier said than done.
4. I'd know (most) everything I need to know.
A sampling of things people have said to me since I started teaching yoga:
I have this pain on the outside of my left knee when I go like this. Can you recommend poses to help?
I think I have a pinched nerve in my back—what should I do?
Do you have a modification for that pose?
How do I get into that pose?
How do I get out of this pose?
Where am I supposed to feel this?
…Uh, can I get back to you on that? Look, I’m not a doctor or a miracle worker. I’ll do the best I can, but sometimes I just might not have the answer right off the bat. I’ll be glad to do some research and get back to you, but I’m not a yoga encyclopedia. Also, yoga actually requires some self-exploration. I’m not you (duh!) so I can’t tell you how something feels in your body. Try playing with the poses a bit to see how moving your hands, feet, or hips within a pose affects how it feels. What does bending your knees more or less do? Yoga is a conversation between you and your body. Like any good relationship, if you don’t listen, it won’t work.
5. I'd feel like a yoga teacher.
Is there some sort of tangible, bottled serum I can buy (maybe at Lululemon?) that will make me feel like what I think a yoga teacher is supposed to feel like? I assumed I'd feel 100% confident and comfortable, gliding around the room, inspiring yogis to have their best practice ever. During teacher training, I kept waiting for this feeling to wash over me. As if I'd float into a room and people would exclaim, “Ah, there she is! The yoga teacher!” just oozing with presence and everything else that I think my own teachers exude.
Well, I’m still waiting. It’s going to come…any day now…right?