Hi. My name’s Nikki. I’m about to start a 200-hour yoga teacher training class at a studio here in Boston. I’m excited. And totally freaked out.
Since I have no idea what to expect, I thought I’d document the next few weeks of my life here. The entire session lasts for two months. Starting Monday (less than 48 hours from now–eeek!), I’ll begin the opening 10-day intensive portion of the training. This means 10 days straight of yoga all day, every day, no weekends. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did anything for 10 days straight. After that, the class will go into every other weekend throughout July, then end with another intensive 10 days in August.
I’m spending this weekend getting my life in order because I expect I’ll have little energy for much else besides getting myself home after class, especially during the first few days.
Anyway, a little bit about how I got here: I started very casually doing yoga when I was in college at my university’s gym. I was really intrigued by yoga, but also very intimidated. I remember trying several On Demand classes at home for quite a while before I had the guts to go to an actual class. My preparation didn’t do much good, though. I felt like such a sore thumb at that first class. I had no idea what I was doing. I’m surprised I went back … but I did.
For the next couple of years, I did yoga casually through school and then at a YMCA down the street from where I worked in NYC. In 2007, I moved back to my California hometown for about a year. It was a bad time: I had just broken of an engagement, my brother was extremely sick, there was a lot of turmoil in my family, I hated my job, and I had the worst feeling of being “stuck” having moved back to California. It was at this point that yoga really began to mean something to me. I looked forward to that hour or hour and a half reprieve where I could just completely lose myself in the poses, and walked out of every session relaxed and with a new lease on life. Yoga became a haven for me. It was around that time that I started kicking the idea of teacher training around very casually. It was more like a daydream about an alternate version of my life than anything else at that point.
Life got better, but the yoga stayed. Over the years I’ve hopped around to a bunch of different studios and tried out a large spectrum of practices: hatha, vinyasa, kundalini, power, you name it. Several months ago, I stumbled into a studio that’s come to feel like a second home to me. It’s conveniently close to my apartment so, since I’m a freelance writer, I like to break up my days by going to early afternoon classes with my favorite teacher. It’s like having two beginnings to the day: One in the morning and one after class. In the past few months, I started realizing that I was looking forward to yoga class much more than I was looking forward to my real job. The idea of teaching came back, only this time as more of a real idea: Maybe I can mix it up and be both a writer and a yoga instructor, I thought.
But the idea of it was still scary and the notion of throwing down $3,000 for training on a writer’s salary (in pursuit of a second career that doesn’t pay well, might I add) was rather daunting. So I started placing the idea out there in my future: “Next year,” I would think. Then, as the idea took more root, “Maybe in a few months.” I began talking to my favorite yoga teacher about her experience training and, from there, looking into schedules.
The yoga studio I’m doing my training through is offering two sessions this summer: one beginning in June and a second beginning in August. Although part of me wanted to do the June session, I had already booked some vacation time with friends in Maine the same week it started. I felt somewhat regretful that I would have to put it off until August, but also felt guilty bowing out on my friends. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about this June session and how I wished I could do it.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, a relationship ended abruptly. I didn’t see it coming, and it resulted in one of the few instances in my life where the pain of loss was so much that it was physical–I was nauseous and felt like I had been punched in the chest. There was a gaping hole where this person had been–I didn’t even realize until it was over the extent to which this person had become somewhat of a touchstone in my life.
I realized I needed something and I needed it now. I didn’t want to sink into depression over the loss or fixate on analyzing all of the things that must be inherently wrong with me or that weren’t good enough. I wanted to get stronger and turn my attention toward myself–the only thing I did have control of in this situation (or ever, for that matter). It became abundantly clear to me that I needed to take this class and I needed to take it now. After all those years of dilly-dallying, any uncertainty I’d had was gone. I told my friends (who were extremely supportive and understanding, BTW) that I would have to back out of our vacation. Then I went to sign up for the class, only to find out that it was full. I sent off a pleading email to one of the instructors, asking to please let me know if any space came up in the class.
Last Monday (less than a week before training starts), I received an email back telling me that someone had just dropped out. The spot was mine if I wanted it. I immediately snatched it up. And now … here I am.
This week has been a bit of a blur of mentally preparing myself and rushing through the pre-course work my classmates have been working on for quite some time now: writing essays and reading books in preparation for class. Which is a story in and of itself. But more about that tomorrow …