I decided to attend the yoga teacher training in Madrid to further my practice with the support from my yoga studio where I practiced. One of the teachers told me, “You’re going to come back a better version of yourself.” She was completely right.
The thing I dreaded most was teaching clinic. Public speaking every day for 4 weeks straight. This was going to be hard for me. I don’t give presentations. At work I hide behind my computer screen all day. I’m softer spoken in conversations, as a result, people talk over me. It’s something I’ve gotten used to in my life.
The first two weeks were so terrifying and I dreaded teaching clinic. I’m so hard on myself that I wanted to get every single word out of the asana essentials perfectly every time. There was so much that I would worry about: the asana essentials, people’s reactions, everyone looks, and feeling that they hated my voice. I was getting into my head. My nerves, oh my nerves were the worst. I would study the asana essentials until 2am and think I knew it. Then when I got up there, my heart would be beating like it was coming out of my chest. At that moment I would just forget all of the words and I all I could hear was my voice cracking when I spoke. I was so disappointed in myself. I wasn’t sure why people would want to listen to me speak. At the end of the standing series I would just speak faster because I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. I spent my entire life thinking people don’t want to listen to me, and here I was just forcing others to listen to me for four weeks straight. I have never felt so vulnerable in my life. Being so exposed up there.
Then finally, I broke down. During one of the teaching clinics, I just cried. I wasn’t used to people actually listening to me. I was questioning myself. I was planning on teaching in Stuttgart, Germany at Bikram Yoga Stuttgart afterwards and instead contemplated canceling the whole trip because I felt like I was a failure. I couldn’t even teach one asana let alone one whole 90 minute class. What was wrong with me? I know I agreed to be impeccable with my words but, I felt my best wasn’t even the best. Breaking another agreement.
Jelena, Maria, and Lou were so patient with me, with their words of encouragement, and practicing methods. I would practice in odd places around the apartment. Listen to music before it was my turn to calm me down. Zefea even talked about a teacher switch. The whole training class was so amazing in their support. Their words of encouragement. There was one thing that Priska told me during teaching clinic that really stuck with me. She told me, “We are here because we want to listen to you, not because we have to.” For the first time in my life, I felt like people were listening to me. Slowly, I began to relax and my nerves were getting a little better after each clinic. By the time the 60 minute class happened, I was able to do it without crying, or being completely hard on myself.
After teacher training, I hopped on a plane and went on my way to Stuttgart, Germany. I didn’t know what to expect. Oz e-mailed me the schedule and I was going to be teaching 5 classes that week. 5 Classes?!?! It was a big accomplishment for me to do a 60 minute class, but now I was teaching 90 minutes to actual students? I’ve never spoken for 90 minutes straight before in my life! I didn’t want to disappoint Oz. As I was checking people in, first it was 5 people, then, 10, then 25 people. 25 People? I felt nervous and my jitters started coming out again. I was scared I was just going to run out crying out of the room. I think Oz knew what I was thinking or felt my nervousness because she looked at me and said, “There’s nothing you can do to disappoint me. You’re going to have a great class.” It was time to start. I stop in front of the hot room door and just breathe. Slowly the nerves started to melt away. I slowed down, waited, opened the door and began. I came to yoga teacher training to deepen my practice, but along the journey I ended up getting into a deeper relationship with my voice.