Ground Down Like Earth – I recited perfectly without looking down at my 5 1/2 X 8 1/2 laminated card. Nailed every other alignment cue on the card too. Cool. A little self back slap and swig of my Grande Pike Roast and I’m onto the next section. Let’s see…the 12 Laws of Transformation. Can I get them all this time?
I imagine Baptiste Power Yoga teachers reading this are letting out a collective UGH at this point. Learning this shit is hard. Sharing it authentically in a classroom harder still. This is grunt work, man. And – as I’m discovering through my own commitment to learning the basics all over again – awesome.
But it’s not fun. It’s tedious. Frustrating. And so in my face with the level of focus it takes to push distraction – my phone, my restlessness, the cute service dog two tables over staring up at me – aside and get down to work. Not since college – we’re talking decades – have I had to memorize heaps of content and regurgitate it back from memory under the watchful eye of a cranky proctor on final exams day. Since then I’ve attempted many work arounds to avoid grunt work:
- like cueing big loud breaths instead of applying a True North Alignment cue that would have been more effective. Wobbly Crescent Lunges ensued.
- like guessing gluten-free flour measurements for a muffin recipe instead of following directions. Muffins became crumbly sand balls.
- like quitting French class when my husband’s assignment in Montreal ended. The Moroccan born server at my favorite vegan cafe crestfallen I wouldn’t try – even a phrase or two – in French to give her a taste of home.
What I’m discovering here is that by committing to learning the basics is essential in acquiring Mastery. It was a big theme at a yoga Teacher Tune Up I attended recently. Several experienced teachers – me included – got a serious bucket of cold water in the face when asked to recite stuff we’d learned and memorized at the beginning of our teaching careers. Back then we learned it because we had to. But time and experience can devalue the importance of grunt work as confidence and creativity take over.
I’ve fallen victim to this, I’d realized, and have since spent an hour each day the past two weeks reading, reciting and studying the Methodology of the style of yoga I practice and teach. I now appreciate how much I have to gain from doing grunt work. My confidence won’t be coming from ego, but from discipline and the work I’m investing in my craft. From there comes grace. I’m hoping when I step up to teach Wednesday – my first class in almost 6 months – that the work will come out as a natural expression of myself. And at the same time a collective Methodology I share with thousands of teachers worldwide doing their grunt work too.
What grunt work have you been avoiding?