Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Loud Inner Voice- Confronted

Another evening workshop, another post written from work. As the only Speech Pathologist at my clinic who doesn't have children, I've been offering to present the two hour evening workshops for parents that we are required to offer. The result is having a two hour non-paid time where I can't really leave the office. So blogging it is!

For the past few years, mostly since I truly began my personal home practice, I've secretly been allowing for 'What if' moments regarding... yoga teacher training. As soon as the thought would pop up I'd quickly squelch these daring invasions with: 'don't be silly', 'you're not strong/flexible/good enough', 'it's too expensive'... and finally the loudest voice cries out 'Who do you think you are? Do you truly fancy yourself a Yoga Instructor?? You are not worthy of that title with regards to inner peace OR physical abilities. Get real'. Wow, until this very moment I had not consciously acknowledged the 'you are not cool enough to be a yoga teacher' voice. I guess there is something to this whole writing your thoughts to process information theory.

Grace, with her honest and beautiful posts on this topic, have given me the courage to voice my 'wishes' here in the bloggy-munity also. :) (As Grace wishes for herself, So I wish for her also!)

Last year one of my close friends took a local teacher training program and stayed with Andrew and I during her monthly weekend workshop training courses. I listened (with a smidgeon of envy, ok maybe more like a wallop of envy!) to what she learned each day, the long hours that they practiced/meditated/prayed, how difficult the postures were and how challenging it was to read the Bhagavad Gita with her feminist leanings. She took all these courses despite being broke, having a demanding full time job (School SLP) and not the greatest health. Now she's teaching a couple classes during her spare time and I will admit that I have moments of 'ME ME ME'.

The thing is: this friend is the epitomy of classic Yogi physically. She is insanely flexible and strong. I however, am far from either. Unlike hers, my yoga journey has consisted of slow gradual progress, constant reminders that adjustments and props are helpful or even necessary and injury is always a possibility. This friend confided once that leading a class of inexperienced yogis was difficult, as she had trouble knowing and understanding their needs. She was constantly being surprised at the (what she considered) seemingly 'simple' postures students could not achieve.

For the past year and a half I have been, inadvertantly, leading weekly yoga sessions for friends. It started out as an innocent offer to show some colleagues basic yoga poses in order to build their confidence to the point that they would attend a 'real' class with me. We'd gather in the Child Development Centres' gym after work, sweep the floors and practice the sequence I had prepared. It was light, casual and fun and I quickly learned to talk through my practice (inhale up, exhale fold forward). I was nervous that I wouldn't find the words, but was surprised to find that I could simply voice my mental notes of my practice (keep your knee pointing towards your baby toe (warriors), curl your toes under and walk your knee forward (pigeon exit) 'scissor' your thighs together to keep balance (forward lunge)...).

Last Fall a few friends in Halifax mentioned that they'd love to learn yoga, but were too intimidated to attend a formal class. Another weekly group started with this one actually making it to different classes. I love practicing with friends in such a casual manner, but I'm constantly reminding them to listen to their bodies as I can't adjust. To attend a formal class with a 'real' instructor who can help them attain each posture safely and who can truly help them grow in their practice. For myself, having an instructor physically adjust my posture (with a light touch here or there) has always been quintessential to my understanding of how my body should be. I must be a kinesthetic learner!

Last weekend we had another wonderful Yoga in the Park experience, this time with an actual instructor leading! Although I have read about Anusara Yoga, I hadn't actually attended a class. It was beautiful, and perfect. So graceful and accepting. After class Andrew brought up (to my embarassment) that I had been thinking about becoming trained. My first response was (and is) that of course I am not worthy a yogi to assume that I should be trained. She was of course very sweet and kind. And now, despite the loud shouting Ms Too Cool for Yoga voice, I have been thinking about it again.

Despite all these ramblings I most definitely will be investigating more of her classes at the 108 Yoga Studio here in Halifax. Anusara here I come!


Article authored by EcoYogini at


  1. It's good that you are getting experience with your friends. I tried to get something like that going but no one wants to commit, which is kind of disheartening. I finally had the courage to ask my Iyengar teacher about training, and her response wasn't sweet and gentle. I expected it though, coming from a classical Iyengar teacher. She does not approve of 200 hour trainings, they are americanized and commericial. Her second respose was more along the lines of follow your heart. Anyhoo, busted my bubble a little bit, but she is also right in some regards. There's plently of time for it anyway.

  2. i think it's kind of cool when a yoga instructor says "my ____ pose" isn't perfect, but we're gonna do it anyhow". it makes them seem more human. i like when they make examples of others in the class who are more talented then they are at a particular posture. we're all so different in body size and strengths, and i think it's only fair that we expect this of our yoga instructors. in short, i don't think you should let your worries hold you back - because, it takes all kinds!

  3. ya we all have those voices. mine says, wouldn't it be fun to be a caterer or open a bar or b&b or something like that. and then it says, nooo you don't really know how to cook like a pro. or do you really want to do that? i think it just means we do want to do these things, we just want to take our time getting there to make sure we have enough experience to succeed once we get there.

  4. i think your humility will make you a great teacher. it will help you relate to your students. you should go for it!

  5. When I took my 200 hour certification, there were about 21 in our group. Several people had little to no actual experience with yoga. A few had only practiced with videos. Every single one of us came out of the 20 week session well prepared to lead classes, or to move into advanced learning. It was one of the best experiences and opportunities of my life. I highly recommend taking the teacher training, whether you want to teach or not. Remember, you are your most important student!

  6. I will tell you what friends tell me when I bring up the subject of going for my teacher training ''go for it''. One of these days, I am going to. The nearest for me is in Halifax.

  7. I can't think of anything truer than the 'follow your heart' comment. Don't you sometimes wish we could actually 'mute' those voices in our head that say we're not skilled, talented, good enough like we can push a button to do so on the phone or TV? If we were perfect there'd be no need for trainingin anything and qualification would be by aclaim. I hope you can quiet those negative voices enough to move ahead with your desire!

  8. I am excited that you are talking about this. There are 3 or 4 things that I want to pursue, educationally speaking, these days, but I am not sure which one to go for first - not to mention trying to figure out the money situation! teacher training is right up there on the list.

    I'm TERRIFIED of this idea. I have the knee injury that makes me feel that I maybe wouldn't be permitted to study, since I wouldn't be able to do some poses, and then there are the deep, deep insecurities I have about performing physical activity in front of people (old P.E. psychological wounds, LOL!).

    I'm still thinking about it. The funny thing is, I don't particularly want to be a yoga teacher. I just want to LEARN all I can learn about it, in an intensive course - the poses, the philosophy, etc. That's what I want more than anything.

    Keep us posted on this one!

    As for the wedding stuff, congrats! Your venue looks gorgeous. Loved the pic of Andrew in the golf cart, too! ;)

  9. Thank you everyone for the wonderful, supportive comments! :)

    Grace: ohhh, really?? I'm sorry to hear that the Iyengar teacher was such a downer. I've heard that the 200 hour training is viewed as stepping stone to getting more training. of course, you could always go to India :) If you ever want to attend some classes in Halifax, let me know- I'll be there! :)

    Jen: thanks :), yes actually, I also like it when a yoga instructor isn't perfect...

    Julia: a chef??? FUN! you SO should do that! your meal you posted on your blog looked FAB. I hope to hear more about this!

    Samantha: that's very kind of you- thank you. :)

    Innerspace Yoga: wow, that must have been a huge learning curve! I wonder at times why there isn't something that people could take to deepen their practice without it being a teacher training course...

    Vickie: ouuu! if you decide to take a training course and you're in Halifax often, we should meet! :)

    Sheila: a remote for that voice??? that would be FANTASTIC. perhaps I should do some visualization of the "mute" to quiet her...

    Greenspell: Andrew says: "Thank you!"
    FUN! I think deepening your practice is a wonderful idea, but I do understand about the injuries. However, I think that makes you more aware of your student's possible limitations or needs. Like I said to Innerspace, it's too bad there isn't some sort of course that isn't teacher training but can deepen your practice. that would be perfect!

  10. My pear-shaped, middle-aged, not-so-bendy-yet-yearning-to-practice self would love a yoga teacher like you describe! It was my humble and adorably not-perfect tai chi instructor who taught me to love and practice tai chi. :)

  11. Do it, do it, do it! You will be a wonderful teacher. You've already demonstrated a natural aptitude for it. I went into a teacher training just thinking i was doing it for myself, to deepen my knowledge, and I honestly had no intention of teaching. But, I love, love, love teaching. It is very rewarding. And, I cherished my time as a teacher trainee. I did a residential program so I was completely immersed in the yogic lifestyle. Wow.

    Do it!!!!

  12. Yeah, do it! All that really matters is that you have the spirit and love for yoga.

  13. Bringing up the rear...let me just say this...

    DO IT!!!!

    Go on, you know you wanna...

    Seriously. Do it.

  14. Babs, Roseanne and Mel: you guys are awesome!! what inspiring and motivating words. lol, I can just hear your voice Mel (if I knew what it sounded like) saying: "You know you wanna" lol. Sigh- I SO do!! :) (shush loud voice- I MUTE YOU)

  15. One of the foremost yoga teachers in the SF Bay Area - and one of the first Westerners to bring yoga to America - is Richard Rosen, an absolutely *amazing,* insightful, intuitive, talented teacher at Piedmont Yoga Studio.

    In his classes, he often mentions that he's not that flexible (it's all relative, of course), and sometimes he has students demonstrate poses that he's not able to go into deeply.

    I think there's something really humanizing and humble about a teacher willing to recognize and admit their limitations in front of a class. That's not what every student wants - some want the display of super-bendiness and physical prowess - but I suspect it's closer to the true meaning of yoga.

    All that is a LONG way of saying: GO FOR IT! Your blog-community here supports you & believes in you. Listen to that inner voice that is calling you...

  16. I know I'm a day late to the party but - you should totally do it! The fact that you've struggled with your practice will make you a better, more sympathetic teacher. You'll be better able to know where your students are coming from when they have a difficult time with a pose, and they'll love you for it.

    I have a teacher who struggled for years with his flexibility and range of motion, and he's one of the best teachers I know. Also, he has a pretty big following of students who only want to come to HIS classes.

    Also, I read your post from a little while ago about changing your name, combining names, etc. I wanted to leave a comment there but I didn't want to be a Commenty McCommenterson, all like "HI I'M COMMENTING ALL OVER YOUR BLOG". BUT I did want to say something because a) I'm getting married next month and we went through something sort of similar and b) I'm half Acadian, too, and Acadians are the best.

    I'm not changing my name either, and we also have names that don't hyphenate well (mine is a three-syllable French doozie, complete with accents and silent letters). What we decided to do was to give both of our last names to our kids (his first, mine second, but not hyphenated) and then when they're older, they can pick one if they want to. We keep joking that it will be a battle of the surnames.

    Anyway, sorry for the crazy long comment! I promise it won't happen again ... soon ... ish

  17. Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?


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