NEWBIE chronicles the journey of a new yoga teacher. From teacher training to building a business, follow Annie Carlin as she details the highs and lows of finding her place amidst one of the worlds oldest practices.
On the Mountaintop
When I arrived in Santa Fe for Prajna Yoga teacher training, it was late, dark, and I was exhausted and anxious. The morning wasn’t much better. But when I stepped outside, I was struck by the stunning beauty of the desert. The landscape is so different from DC or NYC and if it weren’t for the familiar site of Starbucks or Trader Joes, you could have convinced me I was on another planet.
The amazing views from the Prajna temple and later from the Museum Resources Building helped me transition from “analyst” mode into “yoga student/teacher” mode. Aided by a full night’s sleep and some real food, I reunited with old friends and joined fellow Mala Yogis, Marcus Bernadino and Brogan Ganley in exploring the fluid body (Session II of Prajna Teacher Training).
The Wall: Part I
Yoga teacher training is an amazing experience. It can be incredibly profound, exciting and deeply spiritual. We are so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to spend several days immersed in meditation, wisdom training and asana. Often people experience huge breakthroughs on their yogic path.
But I don’t want to talk to you about that.
What I feel is more important to tell you about is what I call, “The Wall.” Not the Pink Floyd album, though the experience can be quite trippy at times, but rather “The Wall” is a block that most people reach at some point during the training when the body, mind or heart (or all 3) shut down, refuse to do anything and the student, “loses it.”
For me, this happened around day 3 or 4 of the session. The day before, we did a really intense and very long physical practice. I was quite fatigued but, in my mind, I was impressed by how well my body had held up. I think I might have gone into my ego a bit too much because asana practice the next day went so badly, it was almost (but not quite) comical. Nothing felt good, or right. My body refused to cooperate. My thighs wouldn’t wrap, my arms wouldn’t bear weight. The frustration and anger towards the sequence, the teachers and myself grew so strong that I put myself in a yoga time-out. Despite efforts by the teachers and assistants, I was done. As I lay in savasana, tears poured down my face and I questioned everything that had brought me to training. I felt very alone.
Once we came out of savasana though, I started chatting with concerned fellow yogis and I realized that what I was going through was pretty normal. Some wonderful support from Stephanie and Marcus bolstered (pun intended) my confidence. The support that poured out to me and other people in the training who’d “lost it” is what really makes these trainings precious to me. The commonality of experience is so important and comforting.