May 03, 2009


This is a hard weekend for my kid brothers and sisters, the 2009 Class of WHY Teacher Trainees. A 4 day training weekend (new for this year) which started on Thursday with an extended WHY power II class (2.5 hours, I assisted). Friday's practice was reportedly 3 hours. Yesterday (I assisted again) was pretty strong. And of course, long days of training. Sitting with one's mind open, drinking in information, doing practice teaching and assisting's exhausting.

Many of them seemed pretty beat, although I really liked the energy (very bright and strong) in the room yesterday during practice. And last night, Part II of the Teacher Training practice class, in which some of these folks got their first chance to stand in front of a room full of yogis, and teach, as well as walk through the room and assist. It was so sweet watching some of them preparing - putting on fresh clothes, maybe some makeup and jewelry, fixing their hair. They did an awesome job, and I was really glad to be in the room to witness it. Last year, the second practice class was kind of a disappointment, in terms of turn-out (the non-teaching 1/2 of the training class had to put down mats, and do a second practice, and were none too happy about that). But this year, the room was full. These folks have a lot of support - within the studio, within their families and social circles.

I'm joining them in ludicrous overpracticing today. I've been slowly working myself back to full strength following the intensive (wherein my back of heartspace / inner shoulder blade area got completely tender, making even the simplest up dog / down dog transition painful). I've been assisting a lot (Thursday night, Saturday noon), teaching a lot (Wed night, two classes on Friday), and slowly ramping up my practice (Core-Ab with Barb on Monday, guerilla with Nykki on Tuesday and Thursday, gentle with Sharon on Wed, Power with Nykki on Thursday and Saturday, and the TT practice class last night). So I will probably be right down there with them in the land of little miss tired and worn out crankypants yoga today. That will be me moaning and sighing in back of the room, and slamming down the rolled up mat after abs....

But all this practice - this taking oneself to various physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual limits - has a point. When I did Sean Corne's detox flow workshop last spring - I pretty much hit my limits. Twelve hours of yoga in three days, and not really spread out or "long, slow, and deep" - this was vinyasa, with a lot of chaturanga, strong standing flow, sun salutations, etc. To this day, when I want a laugh, I pull down into ostrich and start talking about fecal matter in drinking water - usually somebody within ear shot was in that workshop and will laugh. It was pretty much yoga torture; I ended up straining my wrists during the very first practice (she had us lower down from plank about 20 times until we got it right) so I bought some wrist guards (which I've had to use occasionally, but not often, since) and I ended up doing a version of Rocky on the yoga mat - standing in the ring, taking the punches, and saying, over and over to myself "You ain't so bad" as each new impossible sequence of postures assaulted my body.

When it was over, I hated yoga. I ended up needing a week of very conscious practice - gentle, restorative, yin, and waring into power - to reclaim my body, and my yoga practice. It was a singularly unpleasant (at the time) experience.

But yanno, to this day, that weekend remains a milestone, perhaps a turning point, of my training. I'll work through a really hard practice with Barb, who will grin afterwards with pride and a little mischief and ask "How was it?" and I have to confess "You can't hurt me anymore". Sean Corne broke me, and when I healed, I became something different. Like annealed metal, I came out stronger, more flexible, tougher.

I'm hoping my TT friends are getting the same experience this weekend. I stood at the back of the room yesterday, watching them move through sun salutations. I'm seeing a lot of changes from their first weekend - confidence, strength, energy, fluidity, focus. I'm seeing individuals taking the WHY Power into their bodies, shaping it into their own style. I am sure we moved through similar changes last year, but I was not able to really watch it from within, and without really knowing it was happening or going to happen, I did not really take note. So it's been a real honor to be folded into this year's training now and then, to witness their proces, their struggles, their growth. In some ways, it's like looking back in time and watching my own training.

I'm so fond of these folks, even with the limited contacts we have had. And I will happily lay out my mat with theirs this noon, and walk with them to the edge of the volcano. As we stand beside the fire, sweating and straining and feeling as if just falling in and being consumed in the fire just might be an easier choice, I'll remember my own journey, my own limitations, wounds, and scars.

Nameste, class of 2009. You folks bring it!

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