Jan 26, 2016
One of the things I dreaded most about taking the Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training (FYATT) was teaching a sequence that I was not in control of in front of Ana and my colleagues. Key word here: CONTROL. When my turn came, I was sweating buckets and my brain froze. I honestly can’t remember much of what I actually said, but I do remember Ana coming up to me and saying “You are so much better than this, will you give them some of your gifts?”
Inside, my inner critic went wild: “I have no gifts to give. I’m a complete failure, I suck. I have no idea what to say. When will my time be up? Get me off the stage.”
I went home that night and cried -a lot. I called friends to commiserate on how horrible and mean Ana Forrest can be, and how unfair that teaching exercise was. I was ready to bail on the training. Everyone I called that night wasn’t in the training – they weren’t even in the same state.
I am not a quitter though, and I knew deep down that I may have been overreacting, so I went back.
There was so much greatness happening every day all around me; I wanted to complete this training.
I walked in and immediately Willow, the Lead Assistant, came over to ask how I was doing. I burst into tears at her kindness and told her about my inner train wreck. She replied “When you try to be perfect, we don’t get to see who you really are.” I’ll never forget those words as they changed the course of my experience in that training.
The story doesn’t end there though. Months later, I was talking to Kelley Rush who was also in the room that day. I said something like “Well, then Ana yelled at me…” Kelley stopped me and said, “Wait a second, I was in that room, and Ana never yelled at you.” I had no retort, no defense. I realized the truth of it. Ana saw me and the gifts I have to share. She knew I could be so much better than the perfect teacher I was trying to be.
All positive…no yelling, no meanness.
My teaching changed for the better at the Advanced Training, and not because I learned to teach and do advanced poses. I learned to recognize what triggered my fight/flight/freeze mode and how to work with it rather than against it. I also learned that the person everyone wanted to show up and teach was Me…not the perfect version of me that lives in my head.
One of the reasons I want to always repeat the trainings, so that I have to teach in front of Ana and can get feedback. Are we ever ourselves when we’re on stage in front of people we give great importance to? Deep breath … maybe we can tap into our wiser selves in those moments just a little, then a little more, and then it floods in. I liked reading about your experience, Michelle. Thanks for sharing!