The excitement was present all day. Today was finally the day that I would get to start yoga teacher training. Today I would finally get to start this journey. I have no idea where it will lead but today it finally starts.
I got out of work early to go to a doctor’s appointment, I stopped at Target, and then I made my way to the studio. I had never been to this (new) location so I was fine to arrive early, knowing I could either go inside or just sit in my car and scroll through Instagram for awhile, which is exactly what I did.
Shortly before I felt it was an appropriate time to go inside, I felt the anxiety start to build. I noticed my mind wandering to unhealthy thoughts and places and I knew I needed to get it in check. I turned the radio off and meditated for a few minutes, focusing on my breath. My anxiety simmered, though it was still present and with it came the nerves.
What in the world did I sign up for? Am I crazy for not asking more questions but rather just diving in to this experience? And there’s 13 people doing this! Last I knew there were 8 of us. I like the idea of a small group better, maybe this was a bad idea!
I messaged a friend and asked for a pep talk. He lives in Australia and I knew it was likely a weird time for him, so I gave myself a little push and I made my way inside. I saw a friendly face of a girl who I regularly see in some of my classes, she waved and I waved back. I put my stuff in a cubby, used the restroom, grabbed my mat, and sat down next to her on the bench. I was so relieved when she said she was nervous. Me too.
Day 1 started with a 75 minute class. THAT was what I needed. Focusing on the flow, my breath, and just moving my body took my mind away from the fear. We took a short break, then all gathered back in the room and were handed our manuals. I assumed today would just be “here’s what to expect” and while we did go over that, it was made very clear “when you teach tonight…”
WHAT?! TONIGHT?! I’m not ready! What do I know? WHAT IS YOGA?!
Immediately I felt the anxiety begin to simmer back to the surface. I tried to remind myself that it WILL be okay, I will NOT die, and THIS is what I signed up for. We broke into small groups or partners and each took a turn running through “the first 5 minutes” and then providing feedback.
“You could speak louder,” my partner told me.
When we both took our turns, we were called to join a couple other groups that were also done. “Who wants to volunteer to lead this group?” one of the instructors asked. I heard the girl whose mat was right in front of mine say “not me, whoa anxiety!” or something along those lines. I found myself nodding in agreement so I took a deep breath, raised my hand, and said “I will.”
WHAT?! What are you doing?! You’re not ready for this! There are 8 people right here! They’re JUDGING you!
I took a deep breath and I began. And guess what? I didn’t die. I didn’t faint. I didn’t even forget my name. I had my notebook in front of me but I tried to only glance at it when I found the nerves making me wonder what on earth comes after twisting to the right (um…how about twisting to the left?). I tried to watch the faces and movements of the other students and of the two instructors who were also following my queues. It was 4 minutes of my life and I didn’t die. In fact, the feedback was rather positive.
Were there things I could work on? Of course. Hello, this was only my second time. But did people have a lot of good things to say? Yes. I felt nervous, but I was told I didn’t sound it (by one of the instructors). I was told my voice was soothing and calm. And when our “official” feedback session was through, I was told I was brave.
Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. “You were so brave. I couldn’t do that.” Those words carried me the whole hour long drive home. I didn’t feel like I was being brave; I saw my anxiety staring me right in the face and I knew I had two options: let it win this battle, or make sure I did.
We all know who won that match. Me.
Note: I don’t intend to share a play-by-play of every day of teacher training. In fact, I wont. But this first day and that seemingly simple moment that most of the group likely forgot by our next session, was not simple for me, it was a meaningful win on this road to who knows where.