Thursday, July 1, 2010

Devotion, by the numbers

On the application for Teacher Training which I completed yesterday morning between 6:30 and 6:40 am, I was asked to quantify my yoga time, list all workshops, trainings and classes participated in with certified Anusara teachers.

Now that I'm in the two-week countdown to Bali, every waking moment is scheduled with tasks.  And there're a lot of waking moments, since I'm up with the birds every morning around 5 and can't seem to get to bed before 10 or 11 (anathema).

Applying for Teacher Training wasn't even on my To Do list.

But I've been thinking about it a lot recently, ever since I was privileged to observe the mixed-level classes as a gift for my seva when John Friend was here in February.  I was seated on the floor next to Laura and admiring how the clean alignment of the mats (aaaaaaah) allowed us to look down a line of 30+ yogis -- any "variation" on the pose, anything out of true, was immediately clear.  And in a few classes lately, when partnered, I've enjoyed the way the words of reminder about the finger pads, about the kidneys, have come out of my own mouth, an echo of what I've been hearing for years from my own teachers.

So even though it wasn't on the list, it was time.

A post from Well-Read Life, the fabulous Levenger people's blog, entitled, "To learn a second language, it helps to do the math," already had me ruminating on the subject of how much time I had into my practice.  Basically it's the concept that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in Outliers (but which is not, if you click through the Levenger post, necessarily just his idea):

Rising to competence in any skill takes 1,000 hours.  Mastery 5,000.  Virtuosity 10,000 hours + probably some innate gift.  In all of this, the number of hours may be dramatically reduced if you train with a master.

My (imperfect) total number of hours spent practicing yoga over the past three years: 1,092.5.

By the time the Teacher Training starts in October, I will have added, between Bali (37), Estes Park Grand Gathering and regular practice, at ;least another 100.

Now I get why, when I was originally signed up for Teacher Training in 2008, I didn't feel ready.  It took me until now to practice my way to competence.  And though it's not the word I would have chosen, I suppose I did feel incompetent in October 2008 when I pulled out of the TT just a week or so before its start.  I truly wasn't ready.

What a difference two years and 500 hours of devotion make!

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