Friday, 24 October 2014

What yoga teacher training has taught me about surfing and myself.

I'm mid way through a yoga teacher training course and I hate it. Something that ordinarily brings me joy and solace has become something which is a source of stress and unhappiness. The course itself is mismanaged and taught in a manner which is strict, sometimes mean and very, very demanding. Whilst its easy to blame this on course leaders and start using terms like 'bullies' in actuality its myself I am most frustrated with. 

I'm angry that I didn't read the small print and reviews with a fine tooth comb as both would have given me insight into how tough the course is. Doing this qualification has been a bit like tipping acid over myself, its peeled back all the layers that I consider 'me' and revealed the ego and the fears that govern my thought processes. 

Did you know that hip opener postures in yoga bring emotion to the surface? 
No seriously they do. On hip opener day nearly all of the course participants 'hit the wall' and left feeling raw with emotion. 

For me it revealed something as way back in the past as school days still affect my conduct today. Because I was bullied I validated myself by being studious so when I graduated university and no longer had the academic shield to cling to, it wasn't surprising that I became massively lost and depressed. 
I also realize I'm passive aggressive, that because I'm a people pleaser I've become so fearful of upsetting others that I completely ignore my own feelings in favor of being 'nice.' 
Its no wonder then that when I got criticized in yoga teacher training (which was constantly as I'm one of the weaker students), I couldn't be like Teflon and let it slide, every single comment wounded me deeply. 

Here's positives that I did learn and am continually learning as I pursue this qualification: 


A Slovenian traveler named David said this to me when I was seventeen and working in Croatia, its a comment that continues to resonate with me. The one massive consolation of this yoga course is the other participants, we've cried, hugged and eaten together supporting one another through this hard experience. If you look hard enough you can always find great people. 


Finally something relevant to surfing!! There's this saying; 

'...find something you love and you'll never work a day in your life again,' 

Its a phrase I recently encountered again over at The tale of a Mermaid, Devon wrote that she didn't believe it because even the things we love involve work and hardship, that's just how it goes. I agree wholeheartedly, I LOVE yoga but becoming a teacher is physically and emotionally draining. Its something I can't let happen to my surfing. Surfing is my sanctuary and whilst I want to do it everyday I realize that by trying to make it a business I put it in danger of evolving into something I no longer like or recognize. I think this means I'm a:

Soul Surfer. 


This is going to sound weird but animals have saved me over and over again these past few weeks. The most obvious candidate is Bruh my beloved surf bunny, he's been my little heartbeat during the many hours I've spent slaving over yoga coursework on my computer. 

There's been a few trippier animal encounters also. During mediation (we had to do an hour at 5am every morning), I kept having the image of an elephant come into my minds eye. We'd put our foreheads together and he'd wrap his trunk around my shoulders. Every time it happened I had such a feeling of calm and strength. I also kept seeing myself underwater swimming alongside a whale. The whale would let me lie on its back and I could see the light penetrating the surface of the water. Both experiences left me feeling serene and strong. On the second day of yoga camp when I'd literally had enough and was sobbing ready to quit I went for a walk and got blocked by a cat. This little black cat kept weaving in and out of my legs, eventually I lean't down and gave it some fuss, but every time I tried to step forward it would prevent me. Finally I gave in and started walking back to the studio. Well the cat walked me back and watched me go!!! Ok universe I get it! 


I cried, tried to quit but returned and this I realize is resilience. I don't feel strong or especially 'together' but I do possess strength and to get through some of the things I have past and present is testament that I have it.

Life doesn't give you anything you can't handle.

Right I'd best get back to doing some yoga coursework 
(...whilst planning the next land locked surfers trip)!

Until next time 
Stay strong, surf well 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sophie. Great post! Maybe you got some help from Ganesh, the 'remover of obstacles' (the Elephant)? It sounds like you needed to! I appreciate the honesty here; no "it's all so amazing blah-de-blah wow", so thanks for 'keeping it real'! Oh, and you could probably turn your toes in a lot more in that warrior 2 above! Just sayin'! Stay strong and stay with it gal!