Saturday, September 1, 2012

Diary of an AcroYogi

"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being." ~ Albert Schweitzer

My light felt veiled completely before I arrived at teacher training and upon departure, I could feel my strength and resilience as a student, teacher, friend and mother renewed. If you've ever experienced the power of community, then you'll know what I mean when I say that I felt enveloped, accepted and loved by my peers and teachers through metta, loving kindness. 

Here are just a few snapshots from my journey over the nearly 3 week period. 

Journal Entries from AcroYoga Teacher Training Level One, Group 8


Day 1
What's the point of being alive if I don't at least try to do something remarkable? 

Day 2
The first day was an orientation and settling in. Today, the real work begins. The Solar Asana sequence was lead by Jenny to prepare us for acrobatics and incorporating the inversion pyramid. I feel weak from a long break, a little insecure, and my head is still foggy from jet lag and no coffee. The 4 months leading up to the training have been some of the most transitional of my life. I began again as a 40 year old single mom, said goodbye to my Texas roots and kula there and moved to a new country. Travel has been nonstop, and many times I've woken up and had to think hard about where I am. Today was no different as I looked over at my roommate, Sandy and smiled at the fact that we're sleeping in a yurt in beautiful yet desert-like Ojai, California.
the yurt

Singing: Maa Durga Jai Jagadambe Ma Durga. A chant to burn off what doesn't serve us today. My insecurities and feelings of unworthiness linger under the surface. 

We ended the day with reflections and affirmations on what our greatest offerings are as a teacher. Mine are: strength, passion, connection and building community. There, feeling better already. Ma Durga!

Day 4
Began the day with the sound of a gong, announcing 10 minutes to go before class begins. Another acrobatic day of drills, same size trios, trees and elves and even some 2 highs outside on the charming lawn preparing us for our initiation to the acro green on Sunday. Acro green is a patch of grass near the Santa Monica Pier where acrobats have been coming since the 1940's and 50's. AcroYoga has helped revive it. I've never been, and I feel nervous thinking who would want to fly with me when they can do more and greater tricks than I can base? I'm still excited and am beginning to feel and believe I deserve to be here. 

Accepting and recieving because I have nothing to prove.

Day 5
Trust yourself, Mel. You know way more than you think you do. I think I can becomes... I know I can.

Day 7
We had an in depth overview of the Inversion Pyramid 1 with Jason. "Every physical exercise has 3 elements: strength, flexibility and technique. Technique is when you use the right amount of strength and flexibility skillfully." I believe this is one of the factors that makes AcroYoga so unique. It's one thing to do tricks or therapeutics, but it's another thing all together to be able to do it well using these 3 skills. He continued "speed is the spice you add when technique (the foundation) is good." 

Yuki's handstand clinics
He also quoted his teacher Lu Yi saying, "It's not one technique for 100 students, it's 100 techniques for 1 student". I love this. It follows my belief that we have to teach to the body in front of us with a discerning eye. 

Began refining my handstands with Jason. For the first time I understood how to pike slightly in handstand to make my body more aligned. "You can't choose your obstacles. It's what you do with it." Jason Nemer 

Day 8
Angry birds (teaching the correct foot placement in folded leaf) in my awesome group of 4. Co-teaching with Bex. Today could not be better. 

Day 10
Group teaching each day and learning the ins and outs of co-teaching has been fun. We have a wonderful, cohesive group. They've named us Euro-Asia, however, we renamed ourselves Jambalaya because we feel like a really diverse mixture of personalities and locations. 

teaching group
The group teaching aspect of the training has surprised me most. Teaching for over 22 years, I am continuously humbled by others who have only been teaching a short while or not at all. We all have so many different talents we bring to the table. At the end of the day, for me, it's how we can allow each other to shine, be playful and safely layer the elements in class while helping students feel confident and wanting more. Or, better yet, the manifesto and song that our entire group created was: "we empower playful revolutions in communities around the world by sowing the seeds of compassion and joy." 

My absolute biggest challenge thus far has been to give myself positive feedback in a group. "What I felt I did well was…". Why is it so hard to affirm myself? 

Maha Teaching
We are also required to give solutionary/ evolutionary feedback which is far easier than affirmations. 2 of the phrases I've incorporated from Jenny in providing solutionary feedback are "I would invite you to…" and " I wonder if…" in other words, to have "benevolent curiosity" when offering what could be better next time. 

Day 13
"Your mind is the strongest muscle in your body." Jenny Sauer-Klein. 
My hurdles up until now have been more emotional than physical. Today I began to feel a twinge of inflammation in my left shoulder. One thing that our facilitators stress continuously to us is: "use accurate self assessment". To not push ourselves beyond what is necessary. We have nothing to prove. We all have the skills and have earned the honor of being here. Now is the time to dig in and learn whatever it is that our bodies have for us to learn. Today I am hurting.

daily hike
Day 15
Hard to believe tomorrow is our last day. I took some time this morning to hike, as I have every day. There is a beautiful trail that leads up the mountain to spectacular views of the winery and valley below. While others have braved 6am meditation with Pau, my daily walking meditation is where I have processed each 12 hour day and reflected on how I will take all of this knowledge back with me. Today, words from Abraham Hicks sink in deeply, "When you let go, you are transformed". I finally let go of my unworthiness and my feelings of "I'm not like them, why am I here?" 

Immersing in the AcroYoga teaching philosophy has only solidified my commitment to this incredible practice. What is the deeper learning? It's not about handstands. I believe we cultivate what we embody, we receive what we give, and create relationship by realizing we are all the same. One + One = One. 
AcroYoga Teacher Training Group 8 Graduates

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