Breakdowns & Breakthroughs

Yoga. Yoga. YOGA! This has been my past two weeks. Literally from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed. Good thing I love it, right?!

So far this training has been everything I could have asked for and more. And more, and more. To the point where sometimes it feels like it’s a little bit too much. After months of wandering around, it feels so good to have a purpose. To fill my days with something meaningful. To be learning about something so thoroughly that I’m so passionate about. To be able to learn and ask questions and get answers and ask some more! I didn’t realize that there was so much to teaching yoga. I didn’t realize that there was so much to knowing yoga! It’s incredible. But, it’s constant. It’s so much. It’s continuous, with very little time for breaks. Early mornings, long days, and so

much

information!

And the past few days, it’s kind of got to me. In addition to the classes and long days, there have been weddings near by that has continued loudly into the night, cows and dogs that never sleep, and storms that hit full peak in the middle of the night. So that definitely hasn’t helped. And the style of the past week has been Ashtanga – a super strong, intense practice that has really, really tested me.

I’ve always been a bit intimidated by Ashtanga. It’s difficult: it requires a lot of strength, and a lot of dedication. And this week I’ve gotten lost in it. My body feels one way about it, and I feel another way about it and somewhere in that I’ve gotten really confused. I love the theory we are learning about it. I love that it is so inclusive, so beneficial – mind and body, so straight forward. I love that it is so traditional, and that it isn’t just a workout on the mat, but a really beautiful lifestyle. I love that it’s intensity leads to strength – both mind, body and soul. But, my body disagrees.

 At the beginning of the week, despite the intimidation I felt, I began to gain a real appreciation for the practice. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, especially with some modifications. I could make it through the practice and feel positive about it & it didn’t make me want to cry! But through the practices this week, I’ve had a ton of ups and downs. I’ve had my best and my worst practices this week.

Monday – observed the class (part of the learning requirements) & I realized how much sense the practice made
Tuesday – practiced & made it through better than I thought!
Wendesday – practiced & was taken out due to pain in my knees about ¾ through
Thursday – practiced with the modifications my body needed and had an extremely strong practice
Friday – sat out due to soreness
Saturday – walked off near the end in tears

I was literally all over the place. I went from a day of being stronger than I thought, to discovering inabilities, and then the next day was the strongest practice I’ve had. After that, I went from listening to my body and needing a break to the next day where I tried to find balance but ended up pushing myself too hard. At first I blamed my lack of muscles for the practice being so challenging. But through it all I think I’ve realized that it just a really tough practice. It’s not even my muscles that are sore! It doesn’t feel like I just need a rest and some good stretching to get back on track. My joints hurt. My bones hurt. It’s tough!

And also, It’s hard on the ego. Since I sat out on Friday, I thought that my body should be good to go by yesterday. I got on my mat with full intentions of finishing the week of strong. I wanted to prove to myself that I do indeed have it in me to do this style. And after all if I’m going to teach yoga, I need to be able to do it, right? And so I gave it my best. And despite thinking that I had made some real progress learning the limits of my body, I went in as much as I could. I went so hard that I walked off my mat in tears. And the worst part? My “so hard” was skipping every second vinyasa, hanging out in child’s pose often, and massaging my knees and shoulders between poses. My body hurt. And I didn’t listen. I didn’t listen because I wanted to be on my mat. I wanted to be doing the practice like everyone else – they could do it, so why couldn’t I? I pushed myself because I felt that I needed to. My ego needed to. And I can see now that that is absolutely ridiculous.

All of this has lead to a bit of a breakdown yesterday. A breakdown entirely fueled by exhaustion & the need for catharsis. I needed to let it all out in order to get a grasp of it all and to make space for all the positivity that’s really happening here. I needed that to realize that the ego needs to take a hike, and I need to learn my mental limits as well. And I think that’s much harder to learn than how much weight my knees can take, or how to modify asanas to work with my body.

Maybe this is all part of learning to be a teacher. Maybe in order to be a teacher, I need to understand limits: mine, before anyone else’s.

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