My weekend was a lot more emotional than I was expecting.
Friday night, we spent some time checking in and figuring out what had gone wrong with communication about our group’s end-of-YTT celebration. Different people had had different things in mind for our celebration, and, not knowing that the others were planning something else, moved forward with reservations and such. The spirit behind the problem wasn’t the problem: everyone just wanted to make sure that we all had a chance to celebrate together. Things just weren’t communicated as well as they needed to be, which resulted in frustration, disappointment, and hurt for a few people. We talked it all over and cleared the air, and then proceeded to plan on having modified versions of both celebrations, which was really the best of both worlds.
We then spent some time Friday night talking with N about the business end of yoga teaching: what to charge, how to charge, where to teach, what do we need to worry about in our non-compete clause, whether to register with Yoga Alliance (short answer: yes, definitely), whether to get liability insurance (again: yes, definitely), how to react to emergency situations, and other aspects of the business. This was really useful and we all had questions to ask and things we were wondering about. After Friday night’s class, several of us went next door to Sukho Thai for Celebration # 1. A few people brought wine and since the restaurant was almost empty except for us, we really had a chance to relax.
On Saturday morning, I attended the 10:30 all-levels hatha yoga class with several of my classmates (my last opportunity for complimentary yoga!). After lunch, we started on the afternoon’s classwork. First, we talked with J about some different issues with being a yoga teacher: how to react to and deal with students. J talked about his long experience in working with different students, and it was really informative. Every person brings something different to yoga class; different people want different things, and there are often students who came with a friend who don’t really want to be there at all. J talked about strategies for working with difficult students and not taking things personally. Then N arrived and we played our last Yoga Jeopardy game. J was Alex Trebek/Vanna White again, and again did a fantastic job. My team somehow ended up with all the hardest questions, but overall our group did really well and got almost all the answers right (and really, who needs to know the Sanskrit name for candle-gazing anyway?).
After Jeopardy, N and J held our graduation ceremony. It was very simple: each new teacher came up to the front of the room and had a chance to say a few words if she liked, and then N and J presented her with a certificate. We all choked up several times as each person spoke about how meaningful this training had been and how much we’d learned from each other and from N and J. After graduation, our spouses, friends, partners, and kids began to arrive for Celebration # 2. N had picked up some cookies and pound cake from Whole Foods, and we shared tea and snacks and met the people our classmates had been talking about all this time. I was still feeling really teary from graduation, so I clung onto my husband F perhaps more than necessary. We all said our goodbyes and cried some more, and then F drove me home.
When I was first planning to do a yoga teacher training, I was thinking of it as a requirement to fill, a piece of paper to achieve. I am very good at school and at filling requirements. I knew I wanted to teach yoga, and this was the credential that would allow me to do that. I was not thinking of a yoga teacher training program as a transformation or a journey. Yoga teacher training isn’t like taking a course on web design or something; it’s not just developing some specific skill. It includes that, but that’s not all it is. When I began this program in March, I was not a yoga teacher. Now I am one. The piece of paper I received this weekend isn’t what makes me a yoga teacher, it’s just a recognition of what’s happened: I am a different person now than I was ten months ago. I think this is part of why this weekend was so emotional for me. I wasn’t just receiving a certificate, I was acknowledging a major transformation in my life and the end of a process that’s meant a lot to me. This weekend also marked the beginning of something new as I look ahead to what may be next for me as a teacher. I was also saying goodbye to a group of people I’ve come to love – even though I may see them again at the yoga center, and some of them I may even see often, we won’t really be together in the same way again. These are big, emotional things.
I just want to say here that I really appreciate everything that N and J have done for us, and everything I’ve learned from my classmates. I also want to say that I appreciate all the support and love that F has given me throughout this process. He never said no, he never complained, he just made room for more (more yoga classes; more time for me to do my homework and write papers and work on the blog; more people in our house at my home yoga class every week, and even more beyond that), and he always made it a priority, because it was important to me. I feel incredibly grateful for the gift of the past ten months.