It seems that I just cannot resist the pull of being a student again. Some people can't wait to get out of school and spread their wings. The moment I graduate, I'm trying to figure how to continue to be a student. Call it an addiction. Weez, my sister, tells me that my end goal in life is to figure out how to be a professional student. She, as usual, is right.
In 2004, I took a weekend course through Yoga Fit that gave me a very basic teacher certification. This was before Yoga Alliance became the true gold standard. I have taught free classes to friends and colleagues though now, after many years of practice, I have decided that I want to be more dedicated to my practice and to join the community of fully-certified teachers. For the practice that has given me so much, it is now my turn to provide the comfort of yoga to others through teaching. I've been trying out a lot of different studios in New York - we are blessed with many! - and doing research on different teacher training programs. While they have been amazing finds, none of them felt quite right to me until today when I stepped into Sonic Yoga in Hell's Kitchen.
The gracious and masterful Johanna quickly put me at ease, put the entire packed classroom at ease. I knew I found my home. Sonic Yoga is not fancy; it's homey, comfortable, and filled with so much positive energy and warmth. People laugh in class; it's one of the few places in New York where you are encouraged to not put on a show, but to just be exactly as you are.
Today's lesson was about surrender, letting go of the stories we tell ourselves, freeing ourselves from situations in life that just aren't working for us. Johanna asked us to continue to repeat one of the following three mantra throughout our class - "I surrender", "I don't know", or "not my will". She asked us not to choose the one that felt the best to us, but rather to choose the one that bothered us the most. "I don't know". Those words haunt me. At one point during the class, they made my eyes tear up. I'm tearing up now just thinking about this. My life is on very uncertain ground right now. While I know what I want and have an idea how to get there, I am having to give up a lot of the stories that have sustained me in order to make the change.
I am now in the process of turning away from things in my life that just don't fit. And I don't care what anyone says - the process of good-bye is hard. Even when we know we need to let something go for our own good, it still hurts. There are dreams that have to be put to rest. There are people who aren't good for us. There are situations that we must remove ourselves from. I'm now in the process of deciding what dreams, people, and situations those are. And while I have my eye fixed on the horizon of the new life I am so excited about, it means surrendering some aspects of my life now that I love. There are no certainties in life; there are many things that we don't know, that we can't know. We must learn to be comfortable with not knowing.
Throughout the 90 minute class, I would repeat to myself "I don't know". I kept reminding myself that I can do this; I can surrender, even if it hurts. Keep a stuff upper lip and just muscle through. And then Johanna said, "you don't like those words, do you?" "No," I thought, "I don't." And then as if inside my head, Johanna said, "that's okay. Acknowledge how hard this is, how much it bothers you. And then keep going." So I did the only thing I was certain I could do. I could keep going through the asanas. I could keep moving, even with tear-filled eyes, even with a heavy heart, even while saying good-bye, I could keep moving toward my beautiful life ahead.