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Flying Chitta Vrittis

March 3, 2011

So as luck would have it, I appear to be enrolled in yoga teacher training to begin in late May.  I’m not quite sure how this happened.  All I know is that one day I was talking to a friend about her teacher training program, possibly over wine, and before I knew what hit me, there were applications accepted and books ordered and deposits made and a month-long leave from work booked (proof positive that boss does not pay attention to any of the forms he approves.  He’s lucky I didn’t buy the team a pony on my corporate card.)

While I’m excited about the program, and about taking a month off work to do yoga in a city full of great food, as usual the old brain monkeys just won’t let me be completely happy.   You see, some of the monkeys are Ashtanga purists who say things like:

My chitta vrittis have an agenda

  • You really ought to do your given practice six days a week.
  • We here in monkey land aren’t so sure about you doing 2nd series poses when your Authorized sometimes-teacher hasn’t given you permission.
  • Only Sharath can make you an Ashtanga teacher, so what kind of teacher will you even be?

Some of the others are a bit more flexible (no pun intended) in their yoga doctrine.  They counter with such arguments as :

  • You can’t practice daily Mysore here anyway, so you might as well grab a Vinyasa class from time to time. Besides, low lunges and pigeon prep are pretty great, and it’s healthy to include them in your practice from time to time.
  • You need to do salabasana if your stupid gimpy back  is ever going to support the weight of your linebacker shoulders.
  • Yearly month-long trips to India are not in your future.  Take what you can get, kid.

The studio where I’ll be training is very much Ashtanga-based, but not strictly an Ashtanga studio (because of course, a strict Ashtanga shala wouldn’t even offer teacher training).  They’re alignment junkies, which I like, having injured myself a couple of times in some aggressive yank-n-crank adjustments… and in my own over-exuberance.  The primary teachers there are, by all accounts, pretty amazing, and I haven’t taken a bad class there yet – I don’t doubt the quality of the program.  So I guess all this doubt must be about me.

You see, there’s this third group of monkeys, the ones who hang out behind the zoo smoking cigarettes all afternoon and who steal old ladies’ purses.  These monkeys tell me things like:

  • You have to be a moron to think about going back to school full time and maybe teaching some yoga on the side when you’re lucky enough to make decent money in the middle of a recession.
  • What makes you think you’ll even be a decent teacher?
  • Maybe you’re miserable at work because you’re a miserable person and a long protracted career change ain’t gonna fix that.
  • You’re wasting a lot of money on something with little chance of financial return.
  • You like “Light on Yoga” more than “Yoga Mala,” so you’re probably going to Ashtanga hell, where every day all you practice is 5000 rounds of navasana and if you put your toes down in any of them you have to do 5000 more.
  • Your hair looks frizzy from the back and you don’t even know it.
  • You’ll shoot your eye out.

Shut up, monkeys.  Just. Shut. Up.

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