Thursday, November 04, 2010

When Doubt Creeps In

Last weekend I spent three days with my fellow yoga teacher trainees practice teaching, learning new postures and assists, discussing the ethics of yoga (the yamas), practicing mindfulness, and meditating. It was an awesome weekend filled with love, laughter, hard work, and doubt. Yes, I said doubt.

Every now and then I'd glance around the room and wonder what I was doing there. Am I really cut out to become a yoga teacher? Do I have what it will take to knowledgeably, accurately and gently teach others not just the physical but also the mental, ethical and spiritual aspects of yoga that I'm only now beginning to wrap my own mind and body around? Will I ever learn all those Sanskrit terms?

Sometimes I'm not sure what to do with this doubt. I try not to judge it, knowing that it rarely lasts long. I remind myself that every yoga teacher started as a beginner student. I begin to trust that in time I will grow into the teacher role, just as I have grown into the student I am now. I remember that I have a teacher's heart, that I love sharing knowledge and experiences with others, that I have always imagined I would teach in some form throughout my life.

When the doubt passes, I see myself changing. I look back over the eight weeks since our last training weekend and I can see vividly how much I've learned and accomplished in just two months. Poses that I thought were completely out of my reach, that I was sure I'd never be able to achieve, are now part of my regular practice. Just last night, I balanced in Crow (Bakasana) for 10 full breaths. Two weeks ago, I pushed myself fully into Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana) and remained there, steady for 10 deep breaths, as well.

Of course, some postures (Head Stand, most of the arm balances, and even Bow) are still out of my reach. And there will always be days when even the postures that usually come easily, like Tree (Vrksasana) and Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), are more challenging than I expect. It's those things, those perceived failures, that I too often focus on. I judge as good or bad everything I attempt, and it's the bad on which I usually dwell.

So with my intention set on ahimsa (one of the yamas, meaning nonviolence or to do no harm), I will try to recognize my self-judgment and let it pass. Until our next training session, just a few weeks away, I will be kind to myself, knowing that every day, even when it's not noticeable, I am growing like a tree, my roots sinking into the ground and my branches sprouting new off-shoots toward the sun.

(Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

This piece was cross-posted at, where I'll be journaling about my experience as I learn to teach yoga (and become a more dedicated yoga student in the process).


Rebecca said...

I really love hearing about you becoming a yogini!!

Not that you haven't sounded peaceful before but you sound very calm and content.

very late on the bandwagon, I just got around to reading Eat, Pray, Love and have become very interested in meditation. Since I don't know a lot, do you have any suggestions of good reads?

Ami said...

Thanks for the comment, Rebecca. I do feel calmer and more content (most days), but there's still a lot of turmoil. I'm certainly not enlightened yet! :)

Unknown said...

you are doing it, ami! and i am so proud of how far you've come in spite of whatever doubts you may have. you're amazing! keep it up!


sachin said...

Thanks great article I really like your article you can also visit dhanurasana Thanks. Mey, I found this site for yoga you must try and achieve your goals meditation to pranayama.

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