That reality made Friday night really uncomfortable. For me and for my sweet classmate who had to sit there as I didn't say much as I held my head in my hands. He sat quietly, holding the awkward space for me. At one point our teacher walked up to me. She stood next to me, put her hand on my back and told me to breathe. Eventually my time was over and it was my proctor's turn. Those were the longest 20 minutes of my life.
The next morning my teacher approached me. “How are you doing?” she asked the question in a way that communicated that she'd seen how not well I was.
I had hoped to keep all of this stress and tension to myself, but her care and concern drew it out of me. I told her everything and at the end she said, “I think you are right to trust what you're hearing yourself saying. But I also want you to consider that while you've changed your mind about teaching, things could change again. Stay open to that as well.”
And so it was in that spirit that I entered weekend 5. I had studied my script, but not in the laborious way I had in weeks past. I managed to recite far more than I expected and can credit remaining calm with making that possible.
The weekend unfolded and almost as if on the universe's cue my classmates repeatedly encouraged me. “You know more than you think you do... Keep at it... Trust yourself... You are going to make an amazing teacher...You have a lot to offer your students...”
After two hours of intense yoga practice in the morning, we settled into teaching drills in the afternoon. Up until this weekend, these drills were another source of dread and panic, but this weekend, I turned a corner. When I 'fessed up that I didn't have the set of poses we were working on memorized, my teacher let me use a book of photographs to teach from. While I didn't have the script down, she also didn't let me use it as a crutch. And in the process of the exercise, I demonstrated to myself and my classmates that I could vocalize how to get a student into the poses. With confidence in this hidden ability, I can spend the next two weeks studying new poses with the knowledge that my efforts are sinking in.
At the end of Sunday's class, we were asked to share a nugget that we would take away from the weekend. I opened my mouth, and immediately got choked up. “This weekend is teaching me about the unpredictable nature of this journey. Last weekend, I accepted that taking teaching of my plate was the right decision. After this weekend, I'm not so sure. It may not be something I immediately jump into, but I'm no longer ruling out teaching yoga after all.”
I have had such a tenuous relationship with the future and the unknown in recent years. This training is reflecting back to me how far I have come in living in the moment, doing the work, and trusting that life will meet me where I am and that no matter what happens, I will experience joy and contentment. It's also teaching me how fun it can be to not know what's around the corner. It's helping me embrace the surprise and adventure of the unknown.
Yoga never ceases to amaze me. It has become a powerful tool for living life with deeper understanding and joy.