I think I am experiencing yoga study burnout.
Or perhaps it’s yoga blogging burnout. Or maybe it’s even just general winter burnout. But whatever it is, this practice of documenting my yoga teacher training journey has started to feel less enjoyable, and more like an obligation. A task. Some days, a chore.
And yet, I want to finish what I started, because I know that I’ll be grateful for this written reflection of my experiences when the program is over. And I always uncover more learning (technical, intellectual, emotional) through the act of writing; through processing everything a little bit after the fact, and by processing everything in a penned (okay, typed) format. Some people ‘process’ by talking; others by thinking; me, by writing.
And yet, I’m tired. So while I’ll be pleased when it’s finished, in the meantime (at least, for right now), it’s hard.
But oh well. Enough crabbing. Onward.
Sadly, today was not a great day on the yoga teacher training front. The surrounding context is that we had a significant snow storm begin this morning (i.e., a predicted 8-15 inches of snow to be dumped on the city by midnight); so I suspected that yoga classes would be canceled today. Which would have been fine; I would have preferred to stay at home, safe (and warm, and cozy, and with my sweetie). I called the studio 90 minutes before the scheduled class start time, and asked if class was still a go. I was told that yes, everything was on schedule. I then questioned, “Really?” with a doubting tone, and was reassured that yes, the studio was open, and class was on.
Okay, fine. I get in my car, drive for 40 minutes to get to the studio amid the not-great weather, and get settled in. I am then informed that actually, class is going to be cut short today due to the storm; instead of holding the 4-hour session, the decision was made to end the class 2 hours early. So that we could get home safely. Because our safety is really important.
To which I kind of have to say “bulls**t” – because if our safety really was important, class would have been canceled when the National Weather Service Winter Storm Warning began, and when the forecast called for horrific driving conditions, not to mention over a foot of snow accumulation. We wouldn’t have been asked to drive to the studio in poor weather conditions; and I wouldn’t have spent 90 minutes on the road for a 2 hour class session.
Yeah, I was pissed. This does not help the feeling of burnout.
But. We did have 2 hours of class, so I can report on that. So here’s what happened:
Two students taught us the pose sarvangasana (shoulder stand). It was fine. The student teachers walked us all through the handout they made, then we all did a few shoulder stands. The supervising teacher then taught us a cool trick we can use to rejuvenate the pose when we feel our energy sagging (which is to cross the legs at the ankles, and bend the knees; then re-extend and uncross the legs). I tried it, and it really worked! Cool how a slight shift, a slight change, a slight adjustment can bring so much new energy and vitality into an existing situation. So that was good.
The next student on the agenda taught us the pose half-moon (ardha chandrasana), and it was just okay. The discussion of this pose was rather brief, and we didn’t actually physically practice it – so this part of class felt skimpy on the knowledge transfer, and a bit odd and incomplete. But I know how to do this pose, so whatever.
Next up was me. Today a peer and I were supposed to teach sirsasana (headstand) to our fellow yoga students; but this morning the peer called me to say she was sick, and wouldn’t be at class. She apologized, then hung up. Again, whatever. I had written all of the materials for our presentation anyway, so fine. I am a professional trainer, I can certainly deliver a 10-minute teaching segment by myself. So I did.
I started off the presentation by singing a song about sirsasana (that I wrote) to my fellow students. I suspect half of them were probably entertained by this, a quarter of them were probably embarrassed on my behalf, and a quarter of them probably just don’t know what to make of me. Now, I could have gone the standard route and just read the handout I created to my peers; but as a professional trainer, that pretty much goes against everything I believe in (and directly conflicts with what I know to be true about good teaching). And anyway, I am in this program because I chose to be; I signed up for this year-long journey because I thought I would enjoy it. So let’s have some fun, damn it! At least I will be having some fun when, where, and however I can; and if others want to join me, cool. :)
So anyway, I sang my song, then briefly reviewed the content on the handout I made. I then simultaneously talked about and performed a headstand, and held the pose for 10-20 seconds – and honestly, I was kind of impressed with myself. My partner was supposed to talk about the pose while I demonstrated it for the class; but since she wasn’t there, I just did both roles. Whatev. Just goin’ with the flow.
After all of this, a few people did a headstand on their own (I didn’t “make” everyone do this pose, as some people are scared by headstands, and some just don’t want to do them because they are concerned they will get hurt – and who am I to say what another person should or shouldn’t do in his or her own practice?); and then my section of the class was finished.
We then spent the remaining hour in small working groups, developing plans for a Karma Yoga project. My group consists of around 8 people, and they all seem very engaged, excited, and positive. I feel lucky to be part of a good crew, and I’m eager to see what we create for our yoga sequences, and how our participants respond. I’ll share more about this project as it progresses in the coming weeks.
At 3 pm class ended; and we were all ushered out of the studio. I walked back to my car, and made the slow-and-at-times-precarious return drive home.
So. There it all is. I’m confident there are lessons to be learned here (about letting go of expectations, about accepting life and reality as it is, etc. etc. etc.), but right now, I just can’t seem to get over my irritation, annoyance, frustration, and – to be honest – moderate anger. I’m sure there are lessons in all of that, too. Lessons about forgiveness (of others, and of myself), and lessons about judgment, and lessons about how anger is more damaging to me than it is to anyone else… and I “know” that these are all good lessons. But right now, they are slightly painful to live through. But maybe that’s the point.