So here I am in my robe at my desk, dog at my side begging toast, starting this most auspicious day early-early and with a bang.
Today is the day I finally start Teacher Training at YogaKula with Sianna and Noah. I say "finally" because this is my second attempt at the TT. I signed up and was set to begin in October 2008 following our return from Italy (man, that seems like way longer ago than 2 years), but realized in the week prior that I wasn't feeling ready. In 08, it seemed like the next logical step in my devoted studentship but I was non-committal about actually teaching yoga. Two years and several dozen revelations later, I am no longer non-committal, still nervous as hell about what it's going to be like to take that seat in front of a class but fully committed.
One of the aforementioned revelations took place, naturally, on my mat in Bali.
We did a lot of work around sankalpa on that trip -- sankalpa being intention. And in case you have a reaction to my use of the word "work" in the last sentence [because I did when I read it back to myself], indulge this digression, pretty please. What happens on retreat -- what might seem like nothing more than self-indulgent Eat Pray Love navel-gazing in tropical paradise -- can be, and has generally always been for me, profound, always a space in which I am able to do what I consider the most important "work": understanding who I am and why. Scoffers: scoff on! But this is what's true for me.
Anyways, in that days-long exploration of sankalpa, I realized -- it popped into my head, exited my pencil, before I could even analyze it -- that teaching is something I naturally do, that I need to move into a setting in which Teacher is my acknowledged and desired role. Yoga is a big part of this for me. Yoga is often the place where I am happiest, where I feel like I am my very best self, a shared experience from which I emerge shined-up, plugged in to the truth, ready to make the world more beautiful. I want more time in that particular place, and I want to share that transformative power with others.
But the teaching itself -- whether teaching yoga, composting, gardening or beekeeping, or just sharing my jump-up-and-down delight in the natural world, it's all one -- the teaching emerges from my deep sankalpa to help others on the path to their own happiness. It's what I've been referring to in my head, the working title of the book I'm hatching, as Stretching the Yay, finding ways to make a life that manifests the joy of being exactly who we truly are. And in many ways, to credit my parents' example as life-long teachers, teaching is in my DNA. On the face of things, my mother taught Spanish at Lowell High School. But if you ask her, and if you sat in her class as I did as a student, along with countless others who passed through that room in her 30+ years of teaching, then you know this: she wasn't teaching Spanish, she was teaching Life.
This Teacher thing is part of the problem of where I'm working now, how I'm earning my living. I think it's in the Vedas that the four modes -- Teacher, Student, Friend, Enemy -- are elaborated (feel free to correct me if I've got the source wrong. This is from my notes from various non-Laura classes, so for me it's hearsay and I do want, have looked for, not found, primary source). Each of us is one of these roles in our interactions with others; we're either Teacher or Student or Friend or Enemy. The functions of my job require that I be Teacher but I have largely unwilling Students. The workplace culture I'm in operates on the Friend/Enemy axis. Teacher becomes Enemy when Student just wants to be your Friend.
So today is a great day. It's going to be a really long day, but it's a great day. October is one of my favorite months of the year (along with August and April), which makes this day wonderful as it is. But that today I am really jumping, both feet, into Teacher Training is super-duper meaningful and exciting: this is the biggest single step I've taken this year to participate in the transformation of my work-life, to create a new platform for earning a living and stretching my own Yay and that of others.
I am so deeply grateful to Laura Christensen in so many ways, for the retreat in Bali, for her on-going teaching and for the shining example of Teacher-ness that she is, for love and friendship, and for helping me arrive at this threshold across which I now step with happy, happy heart.
Oh, what a great, auspicious day!