it’s finals week

cake
Let them eat gooey cake!

A very ironic near-blunder: the day before our final exam for my teacher-training course, I found out that we need to show up two hours earlier than usual, that day. I came very close to realizing that nightmare that many of us continue to have, of oversleeping through/otherwise missing a very important test. I’m taking the course very seriously, but it’s hard to ignore the notion that “yoga exam” really looks like an oxymoron. Why would you, and how would you test someone on their ability to let go?

So, later today I will certainly have cause for celebration, and eating of cake (well, different cake, than the one here pictured). My course will be completed, aside from a party next week with my fellow yogis. While I’m looking forward to my evenings and weekends freeing up a little, I know that I’ll be using some of those time blocks to start teaching, and yes, at first I will suck. The road looks longer, but certainly more interesting than it looked several months ago.

In the take-home portion of our final, we were asked, “How has your definition of yoga changed over the course of this training? What does yoga mean to you now?” Here’s how I answered it:

Yoga is still about awareness for me, but these past eight weeks have directed my attention to some different things, to be aware of. To name a few: the healing power of animals, the transformative powers of some of the yamas and niyamas, the health of my husband, the need for me to be more compassionate with myself, the need for me to believe in myself and to recognize my abilities, and, that teaching a yoga class requires interaction with the individuals in the class.

I now have a better understanding of the “union” or “yoke” that yoga refers to. Yes, it’s the union of body, mind and spirit, but lately I’ve been getting a stronger feeling of, “we’re all in this together.” I can derive strength and solace from (and give it back to) the people around me, be they fellow teacher-trainers, co-workers, people in my neighborhood, or the world at large. I feel like this has helped me slow down, and be a better listener.

This “yoke” aspect also applies to my asana practice: yoga had also been about asana in any way I practiced it (alone, in a group, home, at a class, et cetera). I think that’s changed a little; I’ve found that I do thrive on the energy in a heated, larger group Vinyasa yoga class, more so than on my home yoga, on a near-daily basis. The energy in those classes is very appealing, and that may be due in large part to the beautiful people that I have met through this training course, with whom I experience most of those classes. I’m also more curious about other yoga styles, especially more meditative ones; maybe this is due to my improved knowledge and comprehension of the concepts and jargon.

Hopefully I can still find some value in the simple, quiet, candle-lit time that I used to spend alone, in the evenings. I feel like I’ve been sleeping less soundly, lately, though I’m sure it’s due to the stimulation (things to think about, memorize, do, and people to interact with, often at late hours) of this course.

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