Wow…I don’t even know where to start. It’s hard to believe that this whole experience is coming to an end. There were times throughout the training where I felt as though I was so far in, yet had so far to go (hence the Yoga Haze) and that I would never finish. Each day played out exactly the same that I got lost among the yoga and the dialogue and the studying in the nine weeks, but now that we are done, I’m daring to say that it all kind of flew by.
During our last six classes of Teacher Training we had some of the best, most experienced teachers lead us through class. On Tuesday morning, Emmy taught us for the final time, and she was followed by Jason Winn on Tuesday afternoon. Jason was certified in 1997 and has been teaching the Beginners’ Series since then. He also is certified to lead the Advanced Series – a flow of 84 advanced postures. His teaching style is different than any of the other teachers we have had throughout training. He demands that his students work their hardest, yet he does so in a calm, almost passive aggressive way. During one of our savasanas he told us that making friends or developing relationships with our students is never a good idea; we are there to teach and instruct, not be anyone’s friend. He taught so effectively that without a doubt I had my best class on Tuesday afternoon up until that point. I maintained my focus, which I feel largely depends on the teacher, and my strength, balance, and flexibility all seemed to work together.
Jim Kallett, a senior teacher from San Diego, flew all night to be able to teach us on Wednesday morning. Towards the end of class he compared the training to running the Boston Marathon. While both extremely challenging, I think that this training is the most difficult experience I have ever had – even more so than running Boston. I’ve thought about this comparison quite a bit throughout Teacher Training, and one aspect of the Boston Marathon that comes to mind is the fans. During the marathon, there were times when I didn’t think I would be able to take another step forward but the crowds and spectators kept me going. Here at Teacher Training, I have felt solely responsible for keeping myself going. There are no crowds cheering. There are no spectators. We take instruction from the staff and follow directions precisely. I’ve found that I have had to depend on myself to keep me going more so here than during the marathon.
Of course we couldn’t escape Teacher Training without Craig teaching us one last time. During the Wednesday afternoon class, instead of holding both sets of awkward pose for a ridiculously, ungodly, painful amount of time, he had us stay in the first set (second part) for as long as possible. When we fell out we fell out, we just had to sit down. The last student standing ended up holding the pose for a total of 3:28. My legs hurt and shake just thinking about that! For his awkward pose prize, he then got to take the podium and teach the second set to all of us…Craig included! The guy who won was so out of breath but managed to deliver a solid dialogue for awkward. This by far was one of the best moments of Teacher Training. We that student took the podium, we could feel how close we all were to becoming teachers.
As expected, Rajashree taught our final morning class and Bikram taught the last class of Teacher Training. I know for a fact that I have never worked as hard in a yoga class as I did in those two classes – I knew I had to finish strong. I think my adrenaline was running the entire time because I did not feel weak or exhausted until the very end of each class; I wasn’t temped in the least to come out of postures early. When I realized the kind of balance and concentration I was able to maintain, I was frustrated with myself for not working that hard in every class. Then after about a split second I came to my senses, realizing that in almost every posture in Rajashree and Bikram’s class I was saying to myself this is my last set of (or second to last set of) triangle pose, tree pose, bow pose, camel pose, etc. of Teacher Training. That sort of mentality would never have worked in the midst of Week 5. When class ended everyone ran around the room hugging each other and giving congratulations. We returned quickly to our mats for the final savasana, and the overwhelming feelings I had were relief and accomplishment. I don’t know how I – how all of us – took two classes a day for the past nine weeks straight, but however we managed, we completed this journey. Now, as the staff has told us, the real journey begins.