In today's guest post, YBCer Desiree shares what it's like when you've just graduated yoga teacher training, aren't quite sure what the next move is, and coming to terms with that. Hope you enjoy. xoCandace
It is almost noon and I am still laying in my bed reminiscing over the beautiful graduation ceremony for Yoga Teacher Training. The pure white outfits, the heartwarming speeches, the warm tears rolling down every face in the room; it was the most intimate gathering of loved ones I have ever been a part of. Every person there to support us on our last day before we ventured out on our own to spread the teachings of yoga. Ask any yoga teacher about their journey from that point on and they can paint and inspiring picture of self-discovery, the lessons that come with teaching, and how every hurdle was a learning experience that leads them to where they are today. Ask anyone, except me.
The weeks after YTT was expected to be challenging but never did I expect to find myself elbow deep in a tub of ice cream debating if I was “teacher material”. I expected to find my first teaching gigs to be challenging but challenging would mean that I had at least found opportunities to try out for. With so many teachers and studios around, the requirements even to be considered were beyond my reach. Intimidation and the downward spiral of insecurity set in after looking at other yoga blogs, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. It was a visual reminder of just how more advanced many are in their asana practice then I am. In a world with an abundance of yoga instructors, where is the need for timid newbie me? What could I possibly have to offer and what do I do now?
On a regular Tuesday, a phone call from my sister presented an opportunity for me to teach at her home in the back yard to a group of her coworkers looking for an introduction to yoga. A hot night time yoga session in the grass sounded amazing and any opportunity to teach was not going to slip by. With nervousness filling me and strangers' eyes upon me, slowly the fear melted away as I took my own advice of breathing into areas of tension. After a 75-minute class, I spoke with each student and was amazed to hear how long each person had wanted to try yoga but was too uncomfortable to ever go into a studio. One girl confided in me and my sister about her intense anxiety and the desire to work through it. Like floodgates opening, I had so much to share with her about my own anxieties when I was a new student and now a new teacher.
As I crawled into bed exhausted from the emotional rise and fall from teaching, I realized that even with all the tools I had gained in YTT, I have not been using them since. I had allowed doubt and comparison to deplete my sense of worth as a yogi and a new teacher. I allowed challenges to dismantle my contentment with the progress I had made so far and set goals so far into my future that all I could see was the distance from them. Instead of surrendering to what would come next, I convinced myself that I had been failing before ever really getting started. While standing in front of doors waiting for them to open for me, I was missing wide open ones all around me. This shift from teacher training out into the community seemed like a plummet down to the cold hard ground, but it was really an opportunity to implement all that I had learned into my everyday life. Resorting to the habitual negative thoughts is not what I want for myself or my students, so welcoming my challenges and learning from them will only help create a more resilient and still mind.
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With my journey just starting to unfold, I do not have a grand success story to inspire you with or many obstacles that have been overcome thus far, and I realize that this is okay. Each day presents itself with many opportunities to continue stepping forward, training and communities are showing up faster than I knew was even available. And for the days when it seems as if I am standing still, extending my hand out for guidance is always an option. I can see and accept that my willingness to receive is not only an opportunity to gain but also allows others to give and share with me what they have to offer as well. I will be honest that even with brighter days, some can still feel gloomy when my direction isn’t apparent. On these days or even in these moments, there are a few things that help remind me that I have not lost my way, I am on my way. Without a studio to clock into at this moment, here is what is next for me to stay in motion and moving forward:
Remembering my intention
My desire to teach yoga did not come from the desire or need to get hired in a studio right away or to become a social media celebri-yogi. When I remind myself of the original reasons I had wanted to teach, it becomes easier to apply my energy there instead of worrying about the unknown. Goals can change, but the intention for that goal will steer the ship in the right direction and on course.
Staying a student
There is no finish line when it comes to knowledge, but depending on the area of yoga I would like to specialize in, there will still be so much to learn. Being a student will keep my perception sharp when it comes to planning for my students and being skilled in my practice.
Maintain my personal practice
Getting to the mat can be the hardest part of yoga. We all have busy lives, and if you are not teaching full time, then there is probably a lot going on your day that doesn’t involve a yoga practice. Already understand the benefits of implementing yoga into our daily lives, it is time to practice what I preach. Even if it’s a few minutes of meditation, pranayama, or asana, my day is always better afterward.
Utilize my yoga tool kit
Life has a funny way of throwing obstacles onto our paths. Like a game of dodgeball, we spend a lot of time avoiding these challenges by second guessing choices to avoid risk and failure; but without risk, there is no reward. In YTT I discovered a valuable set of tools that can assist in overcoming any challenge. Moments of self-doubt can be reassessed by remembering Ahimsa towards myself (non-violence) and contentment by practicing Santosha. Even when emotions run high, with remembering the practice of Satya, truth, I am better equipped to recognize when I am reacting based off a feeling or acting in consciousness. Everything needed is already within me, and my yoga tool kit is always there to help guide our way.
With no specific direction of where my yogic journey will take me, I know that should I surrender and accept, instead of fighting the changes of life, I will always have a still mind presenting me with the clarity to see all my options. When our paths cross again, may it be filled with long lasting impression, laughter, and connection.
Bio: Desiree is a new face to the yoga teaching community. After relocating from the central coast of California over to Arizona, she decided that her life needed more than just a change of scenery. Desiree found support and connection with the local yoga community and completed her 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Breeze in Cave Creek, AZ. Desiree is constantly encountering new challenges with raising a strong willed preteen daughter, and a houseful of beloved fur babies. Having traveled tough roads before, Desiree now seeks out the simpler things in life such as good company, food, and quality family time. A true believer that laughter is the best medicine, Desiree is inspired to help others see the brighter side of life. Connect with Desiree today on instagram.