As I have mentioned in earlier posts, one of the requirements of my teacher training program involves mentorship. Two weeks ago I completed my first mentor observation; today I completed my second (and final) one.
Detailed (and lengthy) notes from my observation can be accessed here. For individuals who want more of a high-level summary, here’s a quick synthesis of the “main points” I got from today’s session:
They say you get what you need, when you need it; and today’s class was a prime example of that.
I received a lot of wisdom and guidance from today’s teacher. None of her comments were directed at me specifically (I truly was ‘just’ an observer in class today); yet I felt like the instructor was stating all of the things I needed to hear (and internalize, and act on) during the 75-minute session. It was rather wild, actually.
As a result, I found myself writing notes for the majority of the class duration. Now, quite a few of the notes I took were focused on the practical logistics of managing a class (pose sequences, verbal cues, adjustments, etc.); and as I read through all of those notes after the class had ended, I got a tight feeling in my stomach: There is so much for me to try to remember and include in a yoga class! How can I do all of it? How can I clearly talk people into poses, cue breathing, provide verbal and/or hands-on adjustments to students who need them, respect the space of students who don’t want them, interject small helpful tidbits that can apply to both the yoga class and to the broader life context, and share 2500 years of ancient wisdom – and do it all simultaneously and consistently? Answer: I can’t. It’s impossible. What I can do is my best; what I can do is prepare, practice, arrive to class – and then relax. Let the class evolve naturally. Trust that what needs to be said and/or done will come to me; and let the rest go.
For a perfectionist, this is wildly difficult to even fathom, much less implement and actually do. And yet, this is absolutely what is called for. Ah – such is one (of the many) unexpected ‘challenges’ of yoga.
To that point, several of the notes I wrote during the class today were personal items for me to reflect on, investigate, explore… and likely work to integrate into my yoga practice, as well as my broader life.
And for me, that is becoming more and more the whole point of yoga – the broader life applications, my thoughts and behaviors “off the mat”. Yes, increased flexibility, strength, and balance are all wonderful outputs of a consistent yoga practice – and I am grateful for them all. And they absolutely are the reasons why I began yoga in the first place. But as I continue down this path, I am valuing more and more the focus, the concentration, the meditative qualities, and the wisdom that surfaces as I earnestly and fully engage in a holistic practice.
Oh baby. Yeah, yeah. ;)