Don’t believe what you see on Instagram.
We’ve all seen the “Instagram perfect” yoga pictures where girls (and guys) have flexibility that just seems inhuman.
I’m guilty of comparing myself to these pictures (especially because I’m a dancer and “should” have the flexibility) and feeling disappointed in my body when I think I fall short.
Going into my first weekend of teacher training I was incredibly nervous that the entire room was going to be full of these inhuman, “Instagram perfect” yogis. I could see it clearly, during out first class together everyone would be going into binds, doing birds of paradise, and difficult inversions. Then there would be me on my mat trying to not fall on my face in crow for the hundredth time. I expected everyone to question my ability to be a yoga teacher if I could not do these difficult variations and poses.
I could not escape the fear of judgment.
The week leading up to our first night of training I was constantly worried that I wasn’t going to be good enough, that I wasn’t prepared enough, that I needed just one more week to get myself to the other trainees’ level, and I questioned if it was really the right time to go through training. The other teacher trainees seemed so confident in their practice and their decision that now is the best time to go through training.
Meanwhile, I decided the week before training started that it was the right time. I’m a first year Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech, my husband and I are finally living together after four years of long distance, we just moved to Atlanta away from our family and friends, and I decided why not do teacher training. I must be crazy, right?
Fast forward to how the weekend actually went.
The first night I learned some of the trainees did have inhuman, “Instagram” perfect yoga abilities and some of the trainees had yoga abilities equivalent to mine. I found out that we were all at different levels, but we all had the same goal—to go through teacher training and deepen our knowledge and practice of yoga.
That night we went around the room and said our reason for going through training. There are some people who want to be teachers for specific groups, some people just want to teach yoga in general, and some just wanted to learn more and improve their practice. There were trainees who are going through school (just like me), that are dancers (like me), that have families, that have full time jobs, and other responsibilities. Suddenly, I didn’t feel the weight of the fear that I was going to be judged. I didn’t feel like I wasn’t good enough or ready.
I felt accepted. I felt excited. I knew that there would not have been a better time to go through teacher training than right now.
The reality of teacher training is that you can convince yourself the timing isn’t right, you’re not “good” enough to be a teacher yet, you’re not prepared enough, you’ll do it next time, and so on. You can continue to let fear and worry dictate your decision or you can give it up. You can give up all of the excuses and make room to say yes, to believe in yourself, and to grow not only in your practice, but in your life.
It's only been one weekend of training, but I know that this is one of the best decisions that I’ve made. I’m learning that going through this training is not just going to teach me about yoga, but it’s going to transform how I approach things in my life. I left the first weekend feeling completely reset and ready to tackle my responsibilities in school and at home. I’ve been anxiously counting down the days until our next weekend together.
My biggest advice to anyone thinking about teacher training is to just say yes. Give up any fears you have about if you’re ready. You are ready. I stayed in that fear for months until I decided to say yes when instead I could have been excited about training. I wish I would have said yes sooner.
“Regardless of your circumstances, if you’re a ‘yes’ for possibility and declare it, embody it, and align yourself to the vision that inspires, this creates energy within you and around you that will bring your intention into reality. In yoga, we call this ‘taking your seat.’” – Baron Baptiste
It’s not about if you’re ready for teacher training, it’s about if you’re ready to take your seat and say yes.
P.S. Almost a year after writing this, Zoe is now a RYT-200 certified yoga teacher and you can meet her on your mat every Friday at 4:30 PM @DDY Atlanta for Power Hour.
When she sent this post to us, she said in her email “It’s crazy to think how much has changed since then.”