I did a thing.

It is perhaps a crazy thing. But it's a thing I've been thinking about long and hard.

I've signed up for a RYT-200 teacher training. And not just any teacher training. I am ridiculously honored to be doing my training with Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga. This means that I'll be traveling across the country for four one-week stays in Nashville (spread out over 2014).

Doing training with Anna was an easy call. Her book "Permission to Curve: Inspiring Poses For Curvy Yogis and Their Teachers" was (and is) an invaluable resource for me, and it taught me how to modify asanas for my body in safe and effective ways. Her TT (teacher training) is not merely focused on the physical poses -- it is also substantially oriented around issues of consent and privilege, spending a non-trivial amount of time on the philosophical underpinnings of yoga and teaching. And Anna is explicitly anti-diet talk (she doesn't let her "Curvy Yoga" brand to be used to promote weight loss!!!), so you know she's someone I'm proud to study under.

No, getting to spend time with Anna is the brilliant part.

The part that feels crazy is me doing a RYT-200 training in the first place.

I have never felt more under-qualified in my life. I am in my second year of a regular yoga practice, and in the past, when my friends asked me if I thought about doing a yoga TT, I always dismissed it out of hand. I mean, I'm not good at asanas! I am working on my forward folds, not rocking handstands. Don't yoga teachers need to have decades of yoga experience? And be able to do every pretzel-pose on the planet?

There aren't a lot of things that bring up insecurities for me like yoga can.

And in the end, that's why I decided to do this training. I realized something very basic. Yoga allows me to face myself and confront my own vulnerabilities. To embrace this opportunity -- to face the scary mental stuff -- I need to practice in a way that is physically and psychologically safe. I need to know that I am not inviting injury getting into certain poses, and that I can trust the compassion and wisdom of the teachers I study with. And no matter how well-meaning many of my yoga teachers have been, because they lack knowledge or experience with bodies like mine, that safety isn't always a given when I show up to a yoga class.

I am a professor by day, and I I love my job. I have no desire to make a living as a full-time yoga teacher. And I am no expert on the journey inward -- I am no guru, nor do I play one on TV. But with this training, there is something I can offer. I can offer that safe space. I can offer experience with bodies that don't look like the ones in Lululemon ads. I can offer anatomy and modification knowledge. And I can offer a commitment -- through actions, not just words -- to making my yoga classes radically welcoming places for every body.

So I shut down the voices of insecurity and signed myself up. I have been looking for safe yoga spaces for two years now, and it is time to put my money and effort where my mouth is. Here's to an amazing 2014.


11/22/2013 10:49am

My favorite yoga teachers haven't been bendy people :-) I think it really helps to see a variety of bodies, all kinds of bodies, in yoga settings


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