Thoughts on Confidence/Yoga Teacher Training – Weekend 8

Somehow I never ended up writing about Weekend 7. It’s funny: as soon as I think I’ll have extra time to study and write and start practice teaching, life accelerates even further and the opposite happens. I remember Weekend 7 being a good one and for the actual physical practice, Kate led us through a beginner’s level class. It was great. She is so good at what she does that even her beginner’s classes have value for anyone at any level due to the way she links poses together and has her students focus on fine-tuning. I may not have sweated, but I still felt like my body was put to work.

I am only halfway through Weekend 8 but I wanted to put fingers to keyboard on a significant thing that happened. We started today with Philosophy and had lots of discussion about Book Three of The Yoga Sutras. (I could probably write a whole post on just that.) But the actual physical practice was a more vigorous one and Kate had us doing Inversions again. One of the written assignments from Weekend 6 was to compose an essay about one of the Kleshas that resonated with us. I wrote about Abinivesa, which is literally translated as a “fear of death” but can be interpreted much more widely than that. There was a lot of personal information that I shared in that essay which explained why I had this fear, but ultimately I related it back to my mat and how it held me back from getting into poses like Headstand. I did not grow up very flexible or strong – physically, but probably in other non-tangible ways as well – but both of these things have certainly improved due to my asana practice. I feel like I am at the point that I could lift up into Headstand but then I (literally) feel my head getting in the way. During today’s more vigorous class, Kate called me out on this. I started to well up into tears; not because Kate was being cruel – because she was right. And she knew from my essay that I would know she is right. (Also, I have my period.)

But even when Kate was preparing us to do Headstand, I could feel myself getting anxious. I started to feel the tears welling up then, long before she said that my confidence was getting in the way. What’s crazy is that I have been criticized in the past for how confident I am and here I was being called out for not having any. Which is it? 

And as Demi Lovato sings, what’s wrong with being confident? But I am confident about the things that I know that I am good at. I am not taking this course because I think I am “good” at yoga or because I think I would make a “good” yoga teacher. I am truly trying to push my boundaries of comfort and see where this journey takes me. Although it has been stressful at times, so far it has taken me to a place that I haven’t regretted going. After this weekend, we only have four weekends left. We are 2/3 of the way through! But it’s true that I keep psyching myself out – which honestly is unusual for me. How humbling it’s been to step outside of my confident zone.

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