Yoga Teacher Training and Eugene Training and Life!

This week has been magical and surreal and lovely and just, wow.

There was a bit of a downer at the beginning of this week (my car almost got repossessed! HA!), but it was all big misunderstanding that we were able to handle. One emotional breakdown and hundreds of dollars later everything was fixed and I learned several adult lessons all at once! It was almost much, much worse so I’m grateful as hell it all worked out.

All I’ve done this week is yoga, run, eat, sleep, and somehow manage to fit in some nice little catch up time with friends. What can I say? I’m insane.

my sweet setup! journal, books, training manual, mat!

my sweet setup! journal, books, training manual, mat!

Let’s start with running. Running I can wrap my mind around in a slightly more concise manner. Yoga is a beast. A big, wonderful, beast I struggle to describe because we’ve done so much in such little time.

First big news with running: I got a coach! Which I did pretty impulsively. This is how I function sometimes. Impulse. I think “Well, that would be really nice…” and all of a sudden I’m doing it. We just started this week and she (Katie aka msfitrunner) came up with a fantastic Eugene training plan for me. It’s only Day 5 of the plan, but I am digging it big time. I do not want to cop out on any workouts because, by golly, Coach made a plan and I’m sticking to it! It’s really helped having a plan this week because it would have been really easy to talk myself out of runs otherwise. I would have said “Well, I’m doing 3 hours of yoga each day, and working and doing a million other things…and it’s cold…and and and and” excuses that can go on forever. And guess what? Even though I’ve been horrible busy and doing yoga all day everyday I have been able to fit my runs in, and I have loved them. So I know I did the right thing. In fact I’m pretty sure all this yoga is improving my running. Making me stronger (both mentally and physically) and helping me recover faster.

I say this because I’ve upped my mileage big time (for me) this week. Last marathon my biggest mileage week was 36? 37 miles? Something like that. I have already run 34 miles this week and by Sunday I will have run 45. And I feel great. I can attribute that partly to I’ve built up a stronger base this time, but man, I think the yoga and strength training I’ve been doing has helped!

Here’s how this week has looked so far:

Monday: 6×800

3:14, 3:16, 3:17, 3:23, 3:23, 3:23

I was supposed to do 3:15, but that was a little too hard for me. To be fair to myself the sidewalks weren’t very clear and I was doing some leaping through snow. And it was pretty windy. So I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It still feel good to get a nice strong speed workout in.

Tuesday: Fun easy 5k run with my friend for her birthday!!! Added on a little to make it 4 miles. More on this later! I was so proud of her for doing it!

Wednesday: 4 easy miles

Thursday: 16 Miles (9@”Marathon Goal Pace”)

7:48, 7:33, 7:46, 7:37, 7:37, 7:34, 7:30, 7:21, 7:38

2:11:13 Total

My goal pace was supposed to be 8:00 down to 7:55. Oops! Here’s the thing. I was dreading this run. Dreading it! The only time I could fit it in was after a full day (8 – 5:30) of teacher training and I kept thinking to myself “How am I going to do this? Will my legs even work?!”. Thankfully I was pretty jazzed after class that day. I decided not to think about it. I just put on my running clothes and went outside.

And I don’t know what happened! I decided to just run a little 2 mile out and back near my house so I wouldn’t have to worry about crossing streets or winding up in a rough neighborhood in the dark. Breaking it down like that made it very doable for me. I tried to slow down to 8:00, but things just kind of clicked. I got into a groove and didn’t want to slow down. It didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard. It felt just right. So I rolled with it. I also feel like I bounced back quickly from this run! My recovery run today was no big deal at all. No struggles. So that’s a great feeling.

Friday (today): Easy 3 miles. Yum.

Tomorrow I have another easy 3 and Sunday I have 8 miles with a tempo run tossed in. I love this training plan! I’m looking forward to all my workout days! I feel like it’s going to make me a much stronger runner. I’ve also just been really enjoying my runs this week. They’ve given me time to process all of the information we’re getting in teacher training.

Which leads me to teacher training.

How do I even start?

Simply, I think. We practice every morning for around two hours. Our teachers are incredible human beings. We meditate. We chant. I thought I would hate meditation and chanting. I thought I would think “enough of this BS! Let’s get to the physical, practical stuff!”. Joke’s on me. I loved it.

I think it’s because of the way it was taught. I always thought of chanting as devotion to a higher power or a religious thing (which it is for a lot of people) and that’s not really my jam. I’m not a religious person and things that are focused around religion turn me off. I have no problem with people who believe in God or a higher power, but it’s not something I can get behind for myself. I don’t like the idea of doing things because some sort of God said so or explaining things by saying “God did it”. Again, that’s just me! Our instructor turned it around for us. For example instead of enlightenment being closer to god enlightenment is getting closer to being as normal as you can be. By normal, he means ridding yourself of all the crap. Removing stress causing thoughts. That kind of thing. That’s something I can get behind!

When something bad happens instead of justifying it through “god’s divine plan” you just acknowledge that some things are beyond your control. I like that. Makes sense for me.

That was another thing I was worried about with the teacher training. That it would be too “hippie-ish” (I’m such a jerk) and mystical. You know? But, nope! Right off the bat our teacher said something along the lines of “Leave mysticism out of it. Reality is great on it’s own! Yoga works as a physical and emotional practice. You don’t need to act like it’s magic”. Boom.

Although I will say this week has felt pretty darn magical. Everything we’ve done has left me elated and more in tune with my body and my surroundings. It’s given me the tools to deal with my relationships and problems better. I feel like I’m better at listening! I’m calmer! What the heck is happening to me?! I guess hours upon hours of yoga and chanting and meditation will do that to you…

We’ve also been learning all of the practical stuff. Alignment in certain poses. Anatomy. Sequencing a class. The ethics of yoga. The business side of things. How to apply the emotional/philosophical stuff to our teaching (One of the yamas of yoga and basically “not to waste” so don’t waste your students time!).

And I haven’t even  mentioned the breath work! We did a form of breath work called Holotropic Breathwork and it was an unbelievable experience. I got completely lost in it and wound up feeling elevated in a way I’ve never felt before. Basically, you lie on your back and breathe to the beat of trance music. It sounds wacky, but the time flew by. I had no idea, but we did it for an HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES! I didn’t want it to stop because it was such an amazing sensation. Evidently it brings up a lot of things for some people emotionally, but for me I just felt so alive and connected to everything. I saw all sorts of incredible images and forgot where I was frequently. It’s kind of what I’d imagine being on ecstasy is like, ha! Or maybe that was just the trance music…either way I loved it.

We’ve also been teaching every single day. I was really nervous about teaching. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t like it very much or be very good at it, but it turns out that I love doing it. I can’t wait to learn more and to get better at it! I love coming up with how to cue certain poses and how to convey certain moods in the class.

Today we did a restorative practice (thank goodness!) and we got to teach each other blindfolded and then without sound. Both very neat, eye opening experiences.

Oh goodness, I’m getting sleepy. I have a million other thoughts on the training, but I am confidant that this is one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

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