Where I become a yoga school drop-out

nobody said it was easy

Question 1: How do we make decisions?

Some decisions are committed to consciously, perhaps we weigh up the pros and cons, ask a friend, define our goals or our priorities. Other decisions we make less consciously, often unconsciously even. We might go with gut instinct, or follow our habit. Most of the time it’s probably some messy mix of these two styles, the conscious and unconscious.

Question 2: How do we unmake decisions?

This is the bit I’m stuck on. I’ve been carefully not thinking about a decision I made last year. It didn’t feel quite right at the time, but I put that down to fear and thought that I would tough it out. That this was part of the growing and learning process, the place outside the comfort zone where the magic happens.

Now I’m not so sure.

Actually I think I got it totally wrong. I asked the wrong questions of the wrong people. I was looking for answers in places where there are in fact only more questions. What I should have been learning in my yoga is that it simply is the journey, that’s all there is. There are no certainties, no destinations, no absolute knowledge or truth (I have to put Brahman aside, I’m so not there with my understanding… no offence intended to anyone!). No-one can really teach me my yoga. Only I can do that. I don’t know how, other than “practice, practice, all is coming”.

And the upshot of all this contorted thought? I’ve decided to withdraw from the teacher training course I’d signed up for. I won’t be doing it this year. I’m not even sure I’ll be doing it next year. It seems crazy to me now that I ever thought I could or should embark on this. I understand so little about how to practice on the mat or off it, let alone how to guide someone else in navigating their own practice.

So today I’ll begin my practice again. And tomorrow I’ll begin again. And on…

And it won’t be easy. I won’t have the safety in numbers with my cohort, or the security blanket of a destination: a course followed by a certificate, a tangible achievement to prove something to myself and to others. These are the things I crave, but they are not what I truly need. Instead I’ll have to define my own curriculum, find my own teachers, seek opportunities, ask questions, be humble, be proud, act with compassion and courage, judge when to push on and when to rest. And I will have to  learn and re-learn endlessly as my horizons change and my body strengthens. It will be lonely, but I hope it will also be liberating.

end of practiceSo today I’ll begin my practice again. With eyes and ears and heart open, full of curiosity about what might be.

Nobody said it was easy.

And there’s maybe a 0.5% chance I’ll wake up tomorrow and have changed my mind…

I’ll let you know!

7 thoughts on “Where I become a yoga school drop-out

  1. Wonderful decision! There is so much avidya coming out of teaching training programs, that it is best to find your own truth through abhyasa and vairagyam. Best wishes on your journey 😄

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  2. Of course, all of the individualized investigation we all need to do in yoga (and in life) still goes on, especially if you sign up for a teacher training. Taking a teacher training does not mean that you’ve made it to some pinnacle of practice – only that you want to explore the practice more deeply. At a certain point in our yoga practice, I think that it is so natural to want to give something back through teaching. It might mean volunteering to go into a prison and teach the inmates some asana and meditation – or showing an elderly parent a few asanas – it doesn’t have to mean teaching a studio class, if that is what scares you.
    Look deeply into why you were drawn to take the teacher training. Has anything changed at that deep level?
    My first teacher training did not answer all my questions. Not by a long shot. But it did enlarge my scope of inquiry…
    And that was extremely helpful.
    It also introduced me to a community of practitioners…
    And that was helpful too: )

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    • thank you for these thoughts k8macdo. I”m glad you’re pushing me to think. I am genuinely wavering (more than 0.5%)…
      I guess what’s changed is me starting to realise something about self-sufficiency, the inner teacher, and not seeking validation externally. Working with my hamstring injury has made me more independent. When I signed up for YTT it was because I was looking for someone to teach me yoga and give me the proof of that. it felt safe and structure. In some ways I am drawn to teaching, yes (and used to teach at uni in my non-yoga life), but I am so unsteady in my own practice (asana and everything) and still feel so new I don’t see how I could hope to lead anyone else anytime soon. and is YTT the best way to learn yoga? I don’t know, but I doubt it…

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      • Certification is often overrated, I agree with that. But on the up side, taking a course can be very effective in cultivating a focus. It simply creates a container for investigation. I see the yoga practice as a vocation – something I live (ideally) every moment. So of course a YTT is not going to give you that – it has to come from you. A YTT from a studio that you respect, given by teachers who may have gleaned some insights into the practice, is simply another tool in an ongoing investigation.
        Dismissing all YTT courses out of hand comes from a mindset that is similar to advocating them as the only way to learn about the practice.
        (The guru-student relationship comes in many guises, I’m sure.)

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  3. I think it’s an incredibly brave thing to admit to yourself that certification is the driving force behind your determination to do the training course. This shows real strength of character. Whatever path you venture down I’m sure enlightening and exciting times await you.

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