She SAID: Confessions Of a Yoga Teacher (Trainee)

Shahada Karim

omFor the first time in what seems like forever, I’m doing absolutely nothing of any significance. I just polished off a plate of Curry Mifun Noodles, and I’m watching some horrible movie with Sylvester Stallone and the former Governor of California about some old dudes in some prison on a ship. It is truly awful. But to be honest, I’d rather not be doing anything else at the moment.

I’ve officially graduated from Yoga Teacher Training, and now I’m supposed to take my certificate and go out into the big wide world and teach yoga. But I’m not ready to do that just yet. For this moment… for at least this moment… I’d like to take a second to breathe.

This all began on a fluke; I was taking a class from a CorePower Teacher that I truly love and respect… and she casually suggested Teacher Training. It stuck. So I said yes, and I signed up without fully realizing what I was in for. The schedule was easy enough. Two meetings twice a week, and a crap-ton of yoga classes in between. I figured I’d learn some poses, pick up some Sanskrit, and maybe lose a couple of pounds. What the hell… I was up for the challenge.

It turned out to be so much more. At the risk of sounding ridiculously clichéd, it changed my life. I hear the other teachers talk about it now, and I see the skepticism on their student’s faces, and I get it. I was cynical about it too, convinced it was part of the company rhetoric… some sinister way to simply reel in more money. For one thing, Teacher Training is NOT cheap. And some studios insist that you be paid up before the first class ever starts. Things get too tough for you? Too bad! You may not have a refund (at least no refund of your very large deposit), so either suck it up or drop out. The money stays with the studio. But CorePower reached out to my class with all manner of opportunities to get the most out of our training. Some students paid up right away, while others went on payment plans or did YFT (yoga for trade) to get through the program without ending up on the streets. This impressed me, and softened me to the idea of learning more.

During our training, ideas and lessons snuck up on me in ways that you cannot imagine. The first thing I learned was that becoming a yoga teacher is lot more involved than a few poses and fancy Sanskrit terms. There’s Anatomy, CPR training (and certification), business lectures, insurance… the works. I took an outside class, and suddenly all the stuff I’d been frantically scribbling down in my notebook took tangible shape. I could ‘see’ the way that teachers taught, and I could see what my teacher trainers meant when they instructed us to use certain cues and postures. Yoga became increasingly easier for me to practice. I closed my eyes and started feeling the postures, instead of checking the mirror to see how I looked in them. I started forgiving myself for not being able to do the most advanced expression of the postures, and cheering for those who could. The competitor in me fell away (one of my trainers often says that you cannot ‘win’ at yoga), and I began to open to the possibility of being my best self. My practice became stronger, and opened me up to the potential of doing more… of becoming more.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” -Marianne Williamson

My mind continues to race with possibilities and poses and ideas that I’m convinced will make the world a better place. I’m idealistic that way. There is so much that I want to do… to see… to experience…

But not tonight.

Tonight I will watch a bad movie, indulge in spicy noodles, and lie in Savasana until the sun rises tomorrow.  Namaste.


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