It’s currently 4:08 CST on Thursday afternoon. I sort of feel like this is the first moment I have stopped running since yesterday morning. I didn’t post yesterday because, frankly, I didn’t have time. Know what I was doing? Honoring my commitment to yoga.
It is an exciting time for Yoga Sol. This week we offered an amazing discount on unlimited yoga classes for one month on the inaugural week of Groupon in Columbia, MO. I hope you got yourselves a deal! We are adding teachers and classes left and right (most will be starting when we move,) and that requires planning and consideration. As manager, I get to be involved in a lot of that. The new studio is coming right along and it looks BEAUTIFUL! The light in there is incredible and the plans for the flooring, window treatments, and lighting make my toes curl with excitement. We want to do it right, so it’s taking time, but will be worth it.
Yesterday had me running to lunch meetings with an amazing children’s yoga teacher (fingers crossed she joins the YS family,) to the new studio to oooooh and ahhhhhh and awe over the incredible work going on in there (and to support my Polita – love you the mostest, Polly,) and then heading off to teach my Wednesday afternoon class. Lunch was lovely, the studio is awesome, and class was … perfect. Not perfect because I said all the right words or got everything in there that I had planned or established world peace and an end to hunger, though. Nope, it was perfect because it felt just right. There was the perfect blend of planning and going with the flow, intelligence and inspiration, and wisdom with reality. I really feel like I am not just leading a yoga class these days; I feel like I am really teaching yoga. It isn’t forced or planned – there are just times when I look at my students and pull everyone out of their asana and tell them what is going on and why and what they might expect from their bodies and what that means and and how it can be different if they want or whatever. Walking through my students and laying hands on them for correction, assistance, or reassurance is almost instinctual and intuitive for me now. We did some crazy balance flow that I made up and folks were falling out left and right and it was exactly as it should be. Yoga represents life. In life we fall out all the damn time. We stumble. We fall. We get off the path. We sway. We falter. But yoga teaches us that a) it’s okay to fall, and b) to get back up and go again without shame, blame or guilt. We tried old things and new things. One student even attempted Sirsasana for the very first time and, with a lot of support and assistance, managed to feel what it was like to turn her world upside down for a few moments. AWESOME!
As folks were filing out after class, I had someone sign my form from White Lotus that will go towards my final registration with Yoga Alliance. It completed a certain section and I realized that I will be ready to submit within 2 weeks. I have really mixed feelings about that. I am not at all sure how I feel about Yoga Alliance. Yes, it gives the alphabet soup behind my name, but honestly, I have EARNED those letters already. The only thing registering with Yoga Alliance means is that I pay them some money and they put me on a list of folks who are registered in this country. Honestly, it doesn’t mean much – certainly not as much as it once did. The Alliance isn’t doing much for anyone these days except charging annual fees. As I have written about before, there is no mathematical equation that makes a yoga teacher. There’s been a huge uproar in the yoga community this week spawned a NYT article about former-model-now-celebrity-yogini Tara Stiles in which she states (and I’m paraphrasing) that her yoga teacher training was “crap.” She is now training yoga teachers, but based on what I’m not sure. The point of my bringing this up is not to rake Stiles over the coals, but to bring up the issue of the importance of QUALITY yoga teacher training and to question the importance of Yoga Alliance. I won’t get too deep into the discussion here (google it, read YogaDork.com, or search ElephantJournal.com – if you read the comments, you’ll get more of the scoop than you wanted, trust me on this,) but I’m full of opinions (surprise, eh? heh.) I have met folks who have completed some 200hr RYT and they seem to come out thinking they know it all! This amazes me because I went through one of the premier yoga teacher trainings in the country ( White Lotus was one of the very first – Ganga White himself has been referred to by others as the man who brought Yoga to the US in the 60s and has the title Yoga Acharya x 3, and Tracey Rich is … well, there is no comparison to Tracey Rich) and I left that training knowing SO much my head was exploding but the number one thing I learned was – THERE IS ALWAYS MORE TO LEARN. Drives me freaking crazy when folks have been practicing or teaching for a year or two and calling themselves Master Yogis or some other bullshit… ugh.
This all reminds me of the years I spent as a doula. I went through a fairly intense training and through a massive reading list and attending lots of births and had evaluations done by nurses, obstetricians, midwives, and most importantly mothers and fathers. I went through the whole rigormorole and still I had questions about whether I should certify or not. It was very much the same deal as is Yoga Alliance. Eventually I DID end up certifying. I paid, I filled out forms and I got my alphabet soup and my name on a massive important website and…. it did nothing at all to change the level of care I was giving already, nor did it bring me more clients nor credibility. What it did do, however, is give me a sense of accomplishment. I didn’t think those letters after my name made me any better or any worse, but it did say to me that I earned them, that I made it (somewhere – although I was already there anyway, just hadn’t checked in on Four Square, so to speak.) I didn’t particularly love my doula certifying organization or believe in everything that they stood for nor did I pledge allegiance to said organization, BUT I DID certify through them and felt … credible in the eyes of people who care about such (possibly) inane things.
There has been a call to overhaul Yoga Alliance and make it something that means something again. I sincerely hope that it happens because I will be sending in my information and my check. Not because it matters. Not because it changes anything. Not because it makes me better or more important, but because it honors my intention that I declared when I set out on this journey and it is part of the commitment I made to my family, my students, my studio, and myself. I don’t think there’s anything crappy about that.