I taught yoga for the first time on Monday. Three whole sun salutations.
I’m skipping ahead.
We have had one week of yoga teacher training.
It’s really difficult to explain how training has been so far. There’s a quality I’d never be able to fully communicate: an instant, mutual click between people who all come with something to share, and something they are looking for. Backgrounds are diverse, from country, to education, to job. But those are the basics. The stories and journeys are the real stuff. I just want to keep unpacking the pieces of everyone, including myself, because each piece I’ve been lucky enough to see has been different. Many people have turned their lives upside-down to be here (me). Many are at a crossroads in their personal lives or journeys (also me). There has been tragedy, trauma, and heartbreak, triumph and determination. You can’t really explain it, but you feel that everyone was drawn here for a purpose. It’s been every bit as wonderful as I hoped, but to get all the sparkle, you really have to wrench yourself open. In a week I’ve witnessed – and experienced my own – breakdowns and breakthroughs. I’m completely out of my comfort zone almost continuously, but I’m proving to myself that I can be really brave, and not just when a reptile decides to join me for a shower. It’s intense work. It’s draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. But it’s like being in a big hug every second of every day; it’s judgement free; it feels like home.
The yoga itself is different from anything I’ve done before. Not strictly in poses or flow (although Eoin Finn is a creative force within yoga unlike any I’ve witnessed; simplicity and ingenuity at their finest), but in intention and thoughtfulness. Each morning we quite literally salute the sun, flowing to our hearts content, pushing our limits, respecting our boundaries and slowing our busy brains, leaving us buzzing with energy, open to old wounds, or simply content and present. As a recovering chronic do-er with a monkey mind to match, this has been a breakthrough. Physical practice is exactly intentioned to bring that calm, and for me, movement quiets my beautifully broken brain’s ugly little voices.
I’ve been conscious of slowing down here. Bali time is about half-speed of Maddie time. I ordered a fruit salad with an hour and a half before our training started and ended up having to take it to go with me. (I expected a swan sculpture of carved watermelon with mango roses; no such luck, but I digress.) It feels good at this pace. Really good. I have no desire to blow through my time here and miss all the little sunshiney bits just getting from A to B. It would be so easy to hurry past the sights and sounds from this new setting and start taking it for granted. I walked back home from a fire-red sunset picnic with a group last night and I took a step back to think about how much I’m going to cling to every one of these moments: highs and lows, funnies and kinds. Looking up – at a full moon so bright, it illuminates every fluffy cloud in the sky in the middle of the night. Being Eoin Finn’s wheelbarrow in a relay race (eating sand right off the mark in said relay race). Finding myself covered in sweat and tears at the end of practice and not knowing where mine end and someone else’s begin. Guiding three sun salutations and feeling like I could explode into fireworks. Holding hearts. Being held.
This is yoga; this is therapy.
And there have been moments of feeling space in the little holes in my heart, whose pieces are waiting patiently back home. And even though sometimes I worry about them being held so far away, I know they are all in good hands and that this experience is giving me even more heart capacity for when I come back to them. I’m fearless, at least for this one moment. And I can’t wait for what’s next.
Getting sparklier (and not just because of perpetual sweatiness)