a suburban-city girl stumbling her way through central PA.


on yoga and baby elephants

i found this entry on my computer last sunday. coincidentally, i wrote on the first day of teacher training and found it on the last day. i think i'll share

Today was the first day of yoga teacher training. I guess I should take some notes on how I’m feeling, what I’m doing, etc so I can assess some sort of process and forward progress. I don’t know if that’s where this is going. I’m not exactly sure what I should be writing about. I don’t know that there are these measurable things... I guess I can start with OM. I really don't think i can om long enough. I feel like I never have enough breath and such to make it as long as everyone else. Do other people have this crazy, neurotic fear of OM, too?

So, anyway, we started out the day with chanting to the Hindu god, Ganesha. I am just guessing that Ganesha is a Hindu god, though it's a pretty good guess. I know he is an elephant, but that is all. I just did a Google image search and it kind of looks like Ganesha might be a girl. There are some images with some curly, curly eyelashes. As you can also see, I don’t know shit about Ganesha. Except that he/she is pretty important, is an elephant, and likes to bash shit down. Ganesha is Wack-A-Mole of life’s obstacles, apparently, which is probably why we opened with chants to him. Starting something new, especially something as committed as a yoga teacher training, is bound to have obstacles within it. So Ganesh, I hope our chanting worked. I hope I can remember your powerful elephant trunk when obstacles pop up.

After opening mantras, we spent a lot of time going through everyone’s name, astrological sign, pets, and their own yoga stories. D told hers, which involved her falling into yoga to avoid getting her perm wet sometime in the 80s and I told mine which included vomitting during a Bikram class. We all have to start somewhere.

There seem to be a lot of dancers or ex-dancers in this class and a lot of people really into that whole Energy Moving, Reiki Healing stuff. I felt a little intimidated, as I guess most everyone did.

After introduction time, A came in to break down Sun Salutations for us. We did a few together, then she turned it around on us and had us break into groups of three and four to teach/watch/do our own Sun Salutations. The other girls in my group all shied away from the teaching/speaking portion first, and normally I would too. I guess because no one else stepped up, in a very unlike me move, I said, “oh alright, I’ll start.”

I’ll tell you right now, it was a god damn mess. I had the girls inhaling their exhales and going from Down Dog to Headstand and it was just all messed up. (I didn’t actually have them go from Down Dog to Headstand, but that’s what it felt like). I must have done hundreds of Sun Salutations in my life. I can do them in my room right now, just to show you. But for the life of me, telling someone else how to do a Sun Salutation was HARD. So hard, in fact, that I thought, “just what the HELL am I doing here right now?” I’m 100% sure all the other girls (or at least, the ones in my group) thought the same thing. At least that was comforting.

We all got to run through giving out the instructions to each other a few times and by the third time, it was much easier to remember “inhale, raise your arms up overhead.” Perhaps some of us are born with the ability to roll perfect Sun Salutations off our tongues. Perhaps the mouth needs to warm itself up, not unlike the rest of our muscles.  Perhaps it takes time for these things to unfold.  Or perhaps, we’re all just baby elephants, blinding trying to get through the first few days without our big, giant trunks getting in the way.

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