by Sarabeth Harrelson
People are drawn to yoga for a variety of reasons. I started taking classes on the advice of my doctor because I love running and needed to find a way to strengthen my upper leg muscles to compensate for knee pain. Practicing yoga gave me the strength I needed to run again, but somewhere along the way I discovered that yoga was transforming a lot more than my quadriceps and hamstrings. I love the way that it can both energize and bring peace, how it unites me with my body, and the people and places it’s brought into my life. (Fun fact: My wife and I had our wedding reception at Bread and Yoga last fall–THANKS FOR EVERYTHING MARCELA & MEGHAN!). I have been drawn to the idea of teacher training for a while–less because I knew that I wanted to teach and more because I wanted to develop a personal practice and learn more about yoga’s philosophical underpinnings.
I have a pretty full life though, so I wasn’t sure where or how teacher training would fit. I’ve purposefully avoided the phrase “busy life” because I’ve thought a lot about the things that fill my life and they are all important to me for a reason. Sure, I enjoy some reality tv now and again, but for the most part, I’m pretty intentional about how I invest my time and energy. I knew adding teacher training would mean that other things–things that I value–would need to shift and the process might not be easy or pleasant. Turns out, I really underestimated just how much would shift in my life, both voluntarily and involuntary–and how much I would dislike it. I feel like I’m missing out on stuff that’s important to me. My personal practice is difficult & uncomfortable at its best. I feel awkward and stilted when I practice teaching.
However, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt an uncomfortable sensation in my yoga practice. In fact, I feel some discomfort pretty much every time I take a class with Lisa. Not for the entire class, but for a few moments (ok, so every now and then I feel uncomfortable for the entire class). I’ve been learning not to attach value or judgement to sensations; rather to feel what I feel and to observe it. It doesn’t feel good to feel bad, but denying something doesn’t make it not exist. If I’m honest, at least I can act with full clarity. Lisa tells a great story to illustrate this point. It’s about a wedding in which the groom invites both gods and demons, but I can’t remember enough of the details to share it myself, so you should totally ask her about it.
All to say, that for now, I’m just focusing on staying steady, experiencing, observing. I don’t enjoy a lot of the sensations that I’m experiencing, but I’m trying to be honest, trying not to judge. Earlier I mentioned that my life is full of things that I value, that I’ve chosen to prioritize. Here’s to bringing more clarity to each of them.