Sunday, December 18, 2011

Level one Teacher Training at the School of Yoga San Marcos with Christi...

We had a full 4-days of teacher training in San Marcos this weekend. I was so happy to be teaching in my own space and initiating this new cycle of my work with such an awesome group of people. The group was intimate, kind, generous, funny, smart, profound, insightful, exacting, dedicated and sincere in the best ways imaginable. I was really moved by their work and bolstered by their support, enthusiasm and receptivity. It was four long days that brought out the best in us all, I think.

There is such an interesting thing happening in my schedule right now. In October I resigned from Anusara Yoga but the majority of my teaching work is teacher trainings right now- all of which began as Anusara programs but are continuing under the School of Yoga banner, which has been very exciting. I think it would be one thing to have resigned and be sorting out what this un-planned-for-transition meant for me as an asana teacher and the whole resulting set of challenges- use a theme or not? Use the UPA language or not? how much to talk about all the things I learned from John? How much to include teaching stories from my time with him? etc. But teacher training straight off the bat really takes it up a notch beyond all that. It has required such a clarity from me right away and some serious soul searching about skills and attitudes I really think are important for teachers to have and how best to create experiential training exercises to teach those skills. I have had to get off my routine of how I train people to meet the demands of the Anusara labyrinth and dive into the freshness of the immediate circumstance with each group and respond as authentically and skillfully as possible. Its been quite an amazing process for me and I feel like I have grown by leaps and bounds every day.

And that is just in the technical domain of offering these trainings. Personally, its a whole other thing to see my students stand for their practice, their relationship to yoga and to me, in a new way. I have talked about it a bit before but as a trainer in a system that is popular and "in demand" as product in the marketplace it was really hard to know if people wanted to study with me, or wanted Anusara hours or some combination of both. I recognize that Anusara is a marketable item and therefore Teacher Trainings in the method that"count" towards certification are sellable and in demand. And I think that is totally fine and I have no problem with that. All of that makes perfect sense to me as I was once an aspiring certification candidate who was counting hours and fulfilling requirements and so on. So I get it. And having said that, it has been the most amazing, heart-warming, affirming and humbling experience to look out into a room and see that people want to train with me and not just train in the Anusara method.

In fact, it has been such a powerful experience that I am going to say it right out loud: I wasn't sure that would be the case. I honestly did not know, in my heart of hearts, that people really wanted to learn from me, Christina Sell, and not just get Anusara training and hours that "counted" toward their career goals. (And again, it's not that I blame anyone for having career goals, because I don't. I have plenty of my own. I am talking about me here, not the students in or out of the room.) Being me, Christina Sell, and looking out into a room of people who are stepping away from the safety of conventional boundaries and certification standards and going into unknown territory with me AND trusting me to teach them and guide them has been the Number One most empowering, frightening, humbling, thrilling, demanding, affirming, lovely and enlightening experience of my life to date. Honestly, words don't describe it. And I have been trying. But one thing is for sure, the profundity of the situation is not lost on me.

We spent a lot of time on the basics this weekend and I implemented teaching techniques I have never tried before and I found the results overwhelmingly positive. The power of the basics and the potency of simplicity is staggering, really. The more I train teachers the more I realize how much we need to just back the whole thing out to the majestic challenge it is to get people into and out of well-aligned postures. And that one simple-sounding task is full of such rich terrain in terms of the skills, perspectives and insights it offers. The theme for the weekend was "Foundations" and that is what we focused on. We laid A LOT of groundwork that we can work with in the Level 2 training. I kept thinking of this weekend's work like creating a scaffolding that we can hang embellishments on later. Once we have getting into and out of postures with an clarity and an economy of words mastered, its a lot easier to fill in key actions, themes, and various other creative strategies.

All right, thats it for tonight. More soon.


mark said...

While I got caught up in "getting my hours" done, every time I trained with other anusara teachers, I always loved training with you the most.

You are an amazingly gifted person who, like I've told you before, was a giant influence in my and Hannah's lives. For me, you not only gave me a new relationship with my self, through my body, but you (again, like I've said before) helped me stay connected with God during a time that I did not feel God. You taught me that what I want from my life is "a sustainable sense of meaning" (those are your words), not a feeling of connectedness all the time. You taught me a new command over my body and the pulse of life in me and, in doing so, helped me to know that God is in me, existing as me. You are such a gift to the world and I have so much respect for you and the gifts you give to the world.

And I just got a little emotional seeing the school filled with a new generation (mostly) of your students. I made so many breakthrough is that room. Made so many life-long friends. So happy that new people are experiencing the same grace I received in that room.

Love you, C.

Christina Sell said...

Mark, have I told you lately that I love you?

I am, of course, having to write that through my tears of gratitude for what you wrote and the feeling behind it.

I, too, have been touched by you in countless ways. If I remember back, one of the most important offerings you made to me was your acceptance and receptivity at a time I needed both a lot.

And having people like you and hannah to share my passion for practice with was (and still is) nothing short of miraculous.

I know the feeling about that room. Its like a salve for me, in a way, being back there. And also bittersweet and full of a feeling of rightness. Like I have come home again.

Love. Love. Love.

Unknown said...

Although I have never taken a physical class from you, you inspire me deeply from your committment to going deeper into the current of Grace. My certification exam was sent in 3 years ago, but my heart continued to prompt me to bow out; not because I didn't love and respect Anusara, but because there were so many things beyond the walls of the Anusara boundaries that my heart was yearning for. You are an example of the deep courage that it takes to follow the heart. That's ultimately what the principles of Anusara teach us. It's not about the piece of paper, but rather, the depth of the heart's pulse, and our own ability to listen and respond with that courage that you have demonstrated. Thank you for your teaching. Even though we may not be in the same room or asana practice, you teach in so many ways!

Christina Sell said...

Thanks for your reflections.

It's an amazing thing to me how online forums like a blog or written materials like books can connect us to each other and to the teachings even though we have not met in person.

Thanks for taking the time to share the journey with me.

Christina Sell said...

Oh and I really mean it- I so do not want to be understood on this particular point-

I know training, who you train with and methods and non-methods and all that is not an all-or-nothing game.

Like Karlie told me, she really would love to do it all, its just that she can't do it all at the same time due to practical considerations like time and money!

I totally get that and I love that so many people I trained in Anusara Yoga love the method and want to continue with it due to their own resonance with Anusara and not just with me. That is also a cool thing- just a different post!

This post was really an attempt to express my profound gratitude or the direct and immediate support I am receiving in the transition.