Yoga Teacher Training by Manon Zouai
Shakti's dear friend, yogi, and EmPower School of Yoga graduate Manon shares her experience from 2016 teacher training.
Yoga Teacher Training
This is it. For close to a year, I have looked forward to the beginning of my 200-hour, eight weekend, Yoga Teacher Training. I'm nervous. It's me and thirty-one other women. I don't know them yet, nor can I imagine what they will be like. I'm not one to try and get in other people’s minds during first encounters. I trust that in time people inevitably reveal themselves.
But will I?
For months now, I've been... out of alignment. I sit trying to still myself with the knowledge that I have entered a space designed for serious self-study, a space of transformation.
Normally, I live for new encounters like these, with people I have never met before. Normally, I love to sit in the space that comes right before the Big Reveal. Normally, my curiosity is so alive, it’s palpable: what language will they speak?
But in this moment, I can't help but think that this time I won't make the most of it. I worry that I won't be present. There's too much in the way. I don't feel ready.
After a 90-minute heated intense yoga practice, we are asked to share with the group who we are, what we do, and what our intention is for this training. The responses of the other women are powerful, succinct, and well-thought out. They seem to easily strike a balance between self-empowerment and the empowerment of others. Am I in the right place? I struggle to formulate a response for myself, but nothing sits right with me. Finally, when most everyone has spoken, I stand up.
"Hi, I'm Manon... I'm in finance by day, but a writer by heart…''
I feel nothing, not even a fleeting joy or excitement. So I surrender even deeper into the moment:
"I want to be true."
We continue in self inquiry work. ‘Why are you here? What do you hope to accomplish here? What’s possible for you in this training?’
To heal my hip flexor tendonitis.
To get back in touch with my true self.
To reawaken my hunger for life.
Even after these questions, I still feel disconnected from the group.
It’s not until the next question that this changes: ‘What’s holding you back or what concerns do you have about this training?’ I sit and listen to others’ responses, for some it’s their job, their family, or the time commitment. For others, it’s fear: “I’m not sure my yoga practice is strong enough to teach, who am I to teach yoga?”
I think about what’s holding me back: uncertainty in my relationship, lack of meaning in my work, a general feeling of dis-belonging.
And then, someone admits: “I have a fear of being found out.”
I feel a shift.
After the training is over, I run home to my journal:
Praise God. Tonight was everything that I didn’t know I needed. When I came into the discussion, I didn’t believe that I could be fully present. I felt ashamed for the months that I’d moved forward and made decisions in my life unsure of my own intuition. It was usually my strongest ally.
Instead I realized that I wasn’t alone, by far. There were so many incredible women tonight who shared stories of fear, of hurt, and of doubt. I felt a reverence and a sacredness in what had been created. I was reminded once again of how equally and beautifully connected each and every one of us are to each other.
I’m not supposed to know all the answers. I’m not supposed to figure it out all by myself. That’s why we are all here, together.
I’m excited and open to what comes next. At the same time, I’m terrified – terrified of not remembering what my intuition feels like, terrified of not being able to truly be me.
But for the first time in months, I’m OK with that.
I feel a weight lift off of my heart.
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
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