This is an extremely daunting post to write. I want to capture the experience accurately, and as I sort through my thoughts and memories about my month long training to be a Forrest Yoga instructor, I can already tell that it’s going to be a difficult task. As time rolls on, it becomes more apparent that every single day housed about a billion lessons, and they all led me to the point that I’m at now.
So lets try and start with the highlights during the first day. The first morning, before we began, I tried to take a few deep breaths, and tell myself that there was nothing to be afraid of. We gathered around the room in a large circle and we all faced each other, smiling, eager to see what this experience would bring for each of us.
At 6 a.m., Ana Forrest saunters into the middle of the circle, holding a shell to catch the ashes from a bundle of burning herbs. She breathes in deeply, and from the look on her face, it seems that she enjoys the smell and taste of the air around her. She told us to breathe and waited a second. Her look seemed to reveal that she was both disappointed and hopeful when she told us to really breath. All I could think was that I was already really breathing. I mean, I was still sitting there, with a pulse and all. I’m pretty sure oxygen is what makes that possible. But since she was the lady we were all coming to learn from, I began to choke down as much air as I possibly could. I started feeling light headed and weird. This was the first time that I thought this woman was actually trying to kill me. It wouldn’t be the last.
She told us to sit up, and since I already thought I was, I just stayed in my hunchy position until she gave us precise directions on how to sit. I lengthened my spine, used my breath to telescope my ribs and grew about six inches. I didn’t know my body had the ability to travel skyward with the assistance of my breath. This was the first time I realized that this woman was going to save me. I just didn’t know what an understatement that was.
I don’t remember the intention or the meditation, but I do remember how stupid I felt during chanting. I didn’t know the words, so I felt unprepared. I didn’t know the melody, and I felt unsteady. I would sing louder once I knew everything.
Writing that made me realize that that was one of the most important lessons that I learned about myself throughout the month, and it’s just sinking in at this very moment. I wanted to know the words before I sang. I wanted to be an expert before I could consider myself a teacher. I wanted to know every side of the argument, before I stood up for what I knew to be true. I wanted to be perfect before I was proud.
This morning, as I write this short overview of the morning on the first day of my training, another lesson bubbles to the surface. You only need to be a page ahead in order to teach. You only have to be step in front of your peers to be a leader. You don’t need to be part of the argument to stand up for your truth. And if we all waited for perfection to believe in our abilities, humanity would be in trouble.
So you can see why this is a daunting task, eh? I only got through chanting on the first morning before running out of time and space… Oh well. We’ll pick it back up next time!