I’m not in denial about being a deeply analytical person. I come from a background of philosophy and the hard sciences, so over time I’ve been trained to ask for the “why’s” and seek concrete answers. Like many people, I started practicing yoga asana because it made my body feel good. But then, over time, I noticed that yoga classes made me feel good in OTHER ways—but I couldn’t clearly identify “why” or even “how.” So, being true to my inquisitive character, I decided to jump into yoga teacher training, to explore those questions further. I hoped that by getting a grip on these questions, I would be able to share my experience with others, and also serve as a more informed advocate of the practice in my community.
I came into the first weekend feeling a little like the outcast…you know, the “sciencey” person, who was seen as giving primacy to thoughts over feelings. I wasn’t sure how I would fit in, or how I would merge my analytical tendencies with the art of yoga. But my experience wasn’t anything like that—yes, I had to swallow my dissatisfaction at not having questions like “why are we here?” or “what is our purpose” answered in concrete terms when we discussed the Yoga Sutras (which, by the way, was so refreshing). But you know what, finding the answer to those questions wasn’t what I came to training for.
I came to teacher training to learn about teaching yoga asana. And I got precisely that, in a way that fed my analytical tendencies. My teachers had a well-rounded understanding of yoga asana and sequencing. There was always some type of logic behind a sequence. I also loved that my teachers did not see a yoga class as limited to just the sequence. Part of the answer to why yoga made me feel good, I learned, is that there is a strong psychosomatic component to yoga asana; and needless to say, I really enjoyed learning about ways to add to student experience, beyond asana.
So that fear that I came into training with—that I would be an outcast—ended up easing away as the training progressed. I found that when I opened my horizons to topics that were important to my teachers (but often foreign to me), they opened themselves to mine—and we were able to arrive at intersecting grounds. This was the component of the training that made it personally meaningful to me, because it gave me space to develop a voice, as a teacher, that was sincere and unique to me. And my appetite for asking questions? It was satiated and made more hungry at the same time. Sure, I got answers to a lot of the questions I entered training with, but I also developed a whole new set of questions that are sure to keep me moving along this beautiful journey called yoga.