Starting with What You KnowPosted: September 28, 2011
I started yoga teacher training this past weekend. It’s something I never thought I’d do, but it was the natural next step in my yoga practice. The concept of teaching is something I’ve always considered slightly out of my comfort zone, and I’ve also always thought of myself too impatient and inarticulate to be a teacher, of anything. But I’m starting to feel less like that, and more like someone who possibly could communicate all this to another person, who could help show them the way to the awesomeness that is Anusara yoga.
We’ll see about that. In the meantime, I get to hang out with a group of wonderful people — including my Dharma girls, Rachel, Dari, Miriam and Denise — and also our fantastic teacher, Emma, about whom not enough fabulous things can be said.
Emma’s theme for our first weekend was to “start with what we know.” As it turns out, far from starting at square one, we all know a decent amount about this yoga thing already. We know how to align our bodies in each pose. We know how to melt our hearts. We’re pretty confident about how to assist one another in poses, and about being assisted. We know many of the Sanskrit terms for the different asana (that’s Sanskrit for “pose”), though my pronunciation still leaves a lot to be desired.
We spent one afternoon learning about bones and muscles. I’ve never taken an anatomy class in my life, but I was surprised to find that I had a pretty good sense of where most things are.
We practiced telling each other what looked good about our downward dogs, and then found one aspect of the pose the other person could adjust. We sort of knew what we were talking about.
So after the weekend was over, we left feeling like we weren’t clueless. We already had a base of knowledge to match our interest and passion. We weren’t flailing in the wind.
What a brilliant way for Emma to begin. And it’s a lesson to apply to all sorts of subjects and situations, every day. Even when you feel clueless, stupid, confused, helpless — chances are good that if you think about it, if you stop, take a breath, and make a mental list of what does feel okay, positive, certain — there are things you do know, and know well. And they will get you started, help you maintain your confidence or strength even when the going gets rough, or seems impossible. What you know can and will see you through.