Lessons from a weekend of intensive yoga Teacher Training.
And of course, some of my favorite shots from my #InstagramYogi Phase:
This past weekend was the first of its kind for me.
Typically, my weekends are a crossover between fruitful productivity and off-the-rails debauchery. Workouts, cleaning, and grocery shopping during the day met promptly with an overpriced meal out, some good old-fashioned imbibing and a few hours of shitty sleep.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of my standard weekend. But life is comprised of yin and yang, and where there’s a benefit, there’s usually a proportionate shortcoming. Have a great night out with your friends? ...Awesome, now you have earned functioning at 50% the entire next day, getting nothing done, and sacrificing all the momentum you likely built the day before.
Stay in to be rested and skip the night out? …Fantastic, now you’ve permanently missed the memory of your friends meeting someone’s pet snake at 2 a.m. in Whataburger (yes, that actually happened to me, and no, I’m not over it).
These two scenarios do have one thing in common, though—neither consequence is all that extreme. Ok, so you have crippling hangover anxiety on Sunday and can’t peel yourself out of bed long enough to stop crying at the first season of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It happens.
Or, you can’t partake in your friends’ party story they tell strangers about that time they met a domesticated reptile over honey butter chicken biscuits. Again, it’s not the end of the world.
This weekend was different for me in the sense that I didn’t participate in a single social activity—not a dinner, not a lunch, not a single night out—and I can’t remember the last time I completely removed myself from the Dallas weekend ritual of overpaying for drinks and joining 18 of your closest friends for mimosa pitchers at a 2 p.m. "brunch."
The reason? An intensive weekend of Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training.
I know, I know. You’re all rolling your eyes. “You do yoga, Katie, we get it.” While I am, admittedly, a Sculpt evangelist, I have to say—I was a little apprehensive (and not exactly thrilled) about giving up an entire weekend (Friday night, all day Saturday and all day Sunday) for training.
It’s one of those things where you sign up two months in advance with visions of your better self in the future, being solely dedicated to your fitness and wellbeing, and then those eight weeks pass in much the same fashion as the previous 23 years of your life and all of a sudden it’s Friday at 5 p.m. and... time to spend your 20 free waking weekend hours in a yoga studio with strangers.
But for real, I was excited, it’s just that nothing conditions you to cherish days off quite like working full-time. A day where you’re beholden to nothing but the whim of your own fancy is worth its weight in almond butter, and usually I fill that time with as much socializing as possible—because, in my mind, that was the best way to make use of my precious time out of office.
Luckily, my love of Sculpt and watching myself lift weights in a mirror outweighed my pathetic FOMO and I embraced the weekend with the force I usually reserve for enduring six hours of stumbling around Uptown in heels.
And at the risk of sounding preachy, I am so happy I did.
Even the most fun weekends always leave me feeling a little…empty? It’s hard to articulate. Maybe it’s exhaustion after quasi-poisoning your body and neglecting your regular sleep schedule, or maybe it’s the fact that having a bunch of fun provides such a stark contrast to the rest of the week that the thought of going back to work the next day is miserable at best.
For whatever reason, my Sunday nights are almost always a little gloomy and lonely. I'd venture a guess that you likely know the feeling I'm referring to.
The ironic thing about this weekend was that, yes, I spent time with fellow teachers in training during the day, but I didn’t do anything with my friends. I went to sleep at 9 p.m. each night, woke up, got my morning coffee, and headed back to the studio. It was a distinctly inward-focused, solo weekend, and I felt less lonely than I have in months.
I felt so at peace with myself and the commitment I had made—and way more in control of my life. (Traveling with someone I care about is another way I achieve this sense of solace and peace, but it's far more tiring.)
That’s not to say that I’m going to swap out my ‘normal’ weekends for doing 8 hours of exercise daily, getting 10 hours of sleep on a Friday and Saturday night, and being permanently asocial—but hey, it was kinda nice. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome and how I felt about myself afterward, especially when compared to the way I normally feel on Sunday nights.
Dedicating an absurd amount of time to something you’re passionate about is daunting, for sure, and involves the sacrifice of knowing your friends are out engaging in shenanigans without you—but it’s also insanely empowering and fulfilling. My sense of self-efficacy and confidence shot through the roof following my first successful ‘practice round’ of teaching parts of a class Sunday afternoon.
Everyone needs a recalibration period, but more than that, I think everyone needs something that gives them a sense of purpose. I’m passionate about Sculpt because it’s gotten me through rough times where I felt lost and—literally—taught me how to breathe my way through discomfort, pain, and frustration.
The idea of giving that same 60-minute confidence boost to others is so meaningful.
Because here's the thing: your social life is fun, but it won't fulfill you. It won't remind you who you are (sometimes, it does the complete opposite). It won't give you a sense of purpose. It's entertaining, for sure, and the memories are worth the Sunday morning headaches. But if you sustain yourself for too long on the excitement of others, you'll eventually start running on fumes.
There's a saying in yoga: Meet yourself where you are. I can acknowledge that it sounds semantically null, but it's a beautiful sentiment about self-acceptance and patience.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, dedicating time to self-awareness and self-discovery is so underrated, and when you're bustling from one obligation to the next without taking time to breathe, you start to slip without even realizing it.
Whether it takes 20 hours of yoga training or 20 minutes of daily meditation, nothing compares to the inner quiet that settles over you when the anxiety of daily life falls hush. The clarity is astounding, and suddenly—if briefly—you see things for what they are.
Cheers & namaste, friend!