Teacher Training Transformation & Managing Perfectionism

fitness lifestyle wellness Oct 04, 2019

For years I’ve been a huge group fitness lover. From yoga sculpt to barre to pilates, I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm that comes from sweating (and sometimes suffering) alongside friends or even strangers. And while I enjoyed my role as the student, there was always a part of me that wanted more.

I felt somewhat in awe of the instructors I loved at each studio I frequented, envying their confidence and ability to put themselves out there day after day. Every time I’d take a class with my mom, she’d always tell me at the end, “you could totally do that! Why not?”.

And while I knew that I had the ability to do so, my stomach turned a little bit at the thought of what other people would think of me. What if I was a horrible teacher? Would anyone even want to come to my class? Training is SO time consuming; I can’t dedicate to that. What if I go through the training and don’t even get a job?

It was these fears and negative thoughts that kept me from pursuing any sort of instructor certification for years, despite the fact that I was secretly dying to see myself on the other side of a class.

When I left my corporate job to begin graduate school and pursue blogging, my world was turned upside down in every way. These major life changes showed me that a so-called “perfect” time to jump into CorePower Yoga Sculpt teacher training would never come. So I stopped making excuses and leaned into the discomfort, fear and excitement.

Though not always easy, my journey through training was incredible and transformative in every way. I remember on the very first day, our instructors has us start with a dance party around the studio in which we couldn’t stop moving and had to go around and introduce ourselves to other girls in the room. Considering I knew only one other person there, this activity was awkward to say the least. From that first activity moving forward I knew that this training would challenge me in more ways that I knew.

Though I don’t consider myself shy, continuously being forced to perform in front of a group of strangers and practice teach week after week was terrifying. It was that stomach twisting, shaky hands type of nervousness that I hadn’t felt in years. I wanted the group to view me as competent, fun, effortless and, well, “perfect”. Looking back now, I realize that I was so incredibly caught up in the need to be seen in a certain light which stemmed from my own insecurities and need for control. I wanted to be just like the instructors that I envied and loved for all of those years.

Yet over those 5 or so weeks, I was challenged to face these vulnerabilities face on, ultimately realizing that everyone in the group felt the same way, and those experienced instructors I idolized likely had similar fears themselves.

Over time, my skills and comfort grew, I gained a better grasp on the sequence and finally was able to audition with minimal anxiety. When I was placed in several permanent, weekly classes to teach, I was both elated and a bit nervous once again.

As time goes on, I continue to learn and evolve from both my personal practice as well as from teaching. At the end of the day, each class reminds me that it’s just NOT ALL ABOUT ME. I do play a major role in leading students, encouraging them to work their hardest and relaying a positive intention. But, opposed to what I previously believed, the class isn’t judging every word that comes out of my mouth, the unintentional flub I make in the sequence or that occasional countdown I begin 2 beats too soon. And if they are? Who cares!

While those thoughts previously ate at me given my perfectionistic ways, I now try to remove my emotions from the situation for a moment to realize how unimportant these worries are in the big scheme of things. Now, rather than feeling embarrassed and ashamed when I don’t perform at a level I perceive to be perfect, I try to laugh and move on. And you know what? My students actually respond to it! This mutual acknowledgement of our imperfections brings us closer and allows us to relate on a level that wasn’t available when I tried so hard to maintain the illusion of perfection.

Though this lesson has become apparent to me through my Yoga Sculpt journey, it’s one that I try to apply to the rest of my life. I’ve long struggled to do it all and hold extremely high standards for how I “should” perform in all aspects of my life.

Whether it’s with school, relationships with friends and family, blogging and so on, there’s just no way I’ll achieve perfection 100% of the time. Rather than be hard on myself or hide in fear of trying anything new and out of my comfort zone, I’m learning to accept myself as I am, here an now. Every experience presents an opportunity to learn and grow, and that’s more important to focus on than the need to be viewed as perfect all the time.

So while my perfectionistic tendencies and need for control are a parts of my personality that I’ll work to manage forever, I’m learning not to allow them to control me. I’ve been teaching for several months now but am still growing each and every day. I can’t wait to see the lessons and realizations I’ll discover as my transformation continues  .

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