Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quest Entry. Meet Yael of Houston Texas

Ahoy! Below is the lovely Yael, who is the leader, and core of the six person team dubbed the Transformers, or maybe it was Transformation In Motion. I don't remember. We named the team, and I subsequently started to call us the Transformers. Anyway, we bonded, as did our entire team. We did a whole lot of laughing. You can see a picture of the entire team by clicking here. The experience has left a rather permanent mark on me, as it did on most who put their heart into the experience. Here is Yael's experience in her own words. If you like, leave a comment or sent her and email.

Houston, Texas
Had to Cut Ray Out. Sorry Buddy!

So, I’m new to this whole blog thing.  I don’t have one of my own and honestly, before Christian, didn’t know anyone personally who had one.  I don’t even know how I got roped into this.  One minute we’re talking about acne (?) and the next, I’m being invited to write a guest blog. At first, I think our dear friend is soliciting gratuitous self endorsement, but he assures me otherwise and tells me I can write about whatever I want.  I think an appropriate topic to share on someone else’s blog is my viewpoint on our shared experience: Baptiste Yoga teacher training boot-camp!  It’s nice and G-rated!

Post Bootcamp, Operation Fixa-Flat Near Austin

I’ve had a couple weeks to sit and reflect on the experience- not to mention several dozen conversations- I always have my deepest moments of clarity after I verbally articulate my thoughts, which I have to say really came in handy at boot-camp- since there is no way you’re going to get out of talking and sharing during that experience—EVER. 

When I arrived at boot-camp, I had no idea what to expect.  Despite the many opinions I solicited from my various yoga teachers, no one really shared with me what teacher training is about.

I think in my head, I assumed it would be yoga practice, followed by intense yoga lecture and finish with practice teaching.  While all of those pieces certainly had a place in the program, they were not the sole focal point. 

Teacher training can best be described as part teacher training/ part group therapy (and I use that term lovingly- I assure you!).  I would say that would have been good information to share with a rookie, no?? Apparently it’s “common knowledge” and not that important to be so “forthcoming” about.  Whatever.  While I’d like to say I wish I had known upfront, in hindsight, I really don’t.  I’m quite pleased that I didn’t have the opportunity to over think (or set expectations) ahead of time and feel pretty confident saying that it made for a richer experience.

So, on we go.  I show up on day 1 and find there are about 130 participants and that the chef is preparing a low fat, low mucus, gluten free, “life giving” menu.  I don’t even really know what most of those words mean, but I’m an open minded girl (and starving), so I eat.  [As an aside, I think it’s important to note that I thought I had been focusing my entire life on a low mucus diet- isn’t that really the main reason to be nice to the waiter?  (yes, yes, of course, treat others as you wish to be treated, blah, blah, blah, but really??)  We all know what happens to the token jerk before his food leaves the kitchen, right? Come on, work with me here.]

After dinner we are treated to Baptiste’s signature “journey into power” sequence.  It’s challenging and hot, but you can’t imagine how amazing it is to be in a room with 130 other people, whose mats are no more than 1” apart, and whose excitement and enthusiasm are palpable!  I left feeling energized and ready to start the week!  Oh and sweaty.  Very sweaty.  This becomes a theme, by the way. 

Day 2 starts out with an hour long, excruciating meditation followed by 5 hours of yoga.  Why excruciating, you ask?  Have you ever sat in the same position on the floor for an hour and tried to clear your head of the chatter?  Trust me when I tell you it’s harder than it looks.  My feet fell asleep, my hips starting aching and my back was screaming! Unlike the owner of this blog, I was far less successful. The rest of the day is filled with therapy and more yoga.  All in all, they set the precedent for the 16 hour days which will fill the rest of the week. 

We get very regular intermissions to reflect and discuss what is going on in our heads and our hearts and we start to get to know each other- one on one and then, if you chose, one on 130.  At first, I’ll be honest.  It freaked me out!  The first time someone openly cried in front of the group (which was on Day 1), I thought to myself: “Sweet Jesus What on EARTH is happening?!?!”

I came to learn that I was one of very few who did not know what the program was about and the overwhelming majority was more than ready to dive in.  They NEEDED this.  So did I.  I needed it just as much as everyone else. If not more. 

For me specifically, it was a huge challenge.  I needed it, but that certainly did not mean I was ready to receive it.  I think the people who know me best would use the word “strong” to describe me (of course among other things, like smart, funny, and really pretty).  And I would agree – about the strong part.  This means however, that it’s extremely hard for me to show vulnerability- especially with people who don’t know me. 

They did an amazing job however creating a very safe place for people to share, break down and be built back up.  I feel like the program was designed to create a “crisis” of sorts.  You are repeatedly and constantly fatigued to the point of exhaustion- physically, mentally and emotionally, so that you can no longer fight back, repress, or avoid the feelings you’re having.  You have no option in the matter, really. 

NOW, picture sharing that with 130 people – your deepest insecurities and fears.  It’s amazing.  Added bonus: they found 130 truly REMARKABLE people (which I’m still baffled by- Every. Single. Person. Amazing.) You build pretty deep, very rich relationships and friendships—quickly!  It’s not like anything I have ever experienced before.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve only known these people for 30 days.  I feel like I’ve known them for years.  And I feel I am a better person for having known them. 

If you’re out there reading, THANK YOU.  From the bottom of my heart.  You changed my life.  Namaste.

Yael Iffergan