I made it through day one of my second yoga teacher training module...and the knees are feeling OK! Of course, I iced them in and after class, and I pulled way back in my practice, but who cares! If I can just make it through the next five days and not injure them further, I'm golden. A few more weeks off and I think they'll be back to normal.
It's so nice to be back to yoga and to practice with Dolly. Personally, I've missed her and yoga, but now that I'm teaching the kids, practicing is more important than ever—I've got to be able to bring them a fresh and interesting class every other week, and it's hard when you're a new teacher and not practicing or being exposed to new ideas in the interim.
I was thinking today while in class that I'm so glad I decided to just jump in and start teaching the kids with no experience. Even teaching my tiny classes has helped me immeasurably in teacher training exercises. I feel much more confident and teaching is just a teensy bit easier. And chanting and OMs...I could almost care less if I suck or not. Because I know life goes on with or without my shaky OM, and that is a great feeling. I really owe my progress (at least mentally) to the kids. They've given me the freedom to explore my teacher side and put myself out there without fear of judgment. I've also had to face my own fears doing inversions in yoga in order to show them asanas that channel their energy and keep them engaged. That's not to say that I've even come close to mastering handstand or Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance)...BUT...there was a time that I couldn't even do handstand at the wall. So I am making progress as well, and that always feels good.
Now that I'm back in yoga after having been off for the first time since I got into it last year, it has become more obvious than ever that I found yoga at exactly the time in my life when I would need it most, when its effects could be most profoundly realized. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder—and it does—I've missed the cathartic feeling of a good practice like crazy. But absence from yoga also makes the heart grow colder. I've noticed (and I'm sure the people closest to me have noticed) that these weeks away from my practice have yielded a bitter, complaining, self-absorbed person. The attitude change certainly isn't without reason, for there are myriad. However, now that I've practiced a few times in the last week, I can see that yoga is a gift that has arrived at my doorstep just in time, as I am preparing to act upon some pretty damn big decisions in my life, and the one thing I know will keep me sane through all of it is yoga. It levels me out physically, and the ethical guidelines of yoga make me a more spiritual, more conscientious person. I can see now that finding yoga when I did has opened up a new path in my life that I never, ever foresaw—and definitely wasn't making plans for. Now if I can just continue going with the flow, not cowering in the face of fear, I know I will find myself in a new place brimming with contentment and possibility.
It takes courage to change a routine, to evaluate, to question, to do the thing that is not the norm. I've been going with the motions for years. I think I'm finally finding the courage I need to look at my life and make it what I really want it to be. It's scary and exciting at the same time—the thought of taking a huge risk is utterly terrifying to me. But you know what? It's my life. And it's high time I lived it.