Back to work

Hi all! It’s been a while since I posted and it’s been one whirlwind of a month. I returned recently from my trip to New Mexico via Los Angeles where I took my Junior Intermediate 1 assessment. Unfortunately, I did not pass the whole assessment. The good news is that I aced the written test with a 92.5 and passed the demonstrated practice which I was most concerned about. However, the next day I did not make the grade on the teaching portion.

The nice thing is that if you don’t pass you get to schedule a phone meeting with the lead assessor. I won’t share who just because I don’t want to have to ask permission and it is a personal thing to boot. However, I called this person who gave me wonderful feedback. It felt like a nice hour long chat with a friend who has a lot of knowledge and experience in Iyengar yoga.

The feedback I got is similar to what my mentoring teachers tell me I need to work on. In fact I really thought I had this stuff down, it just didn’t come out right on the day of the assessment. The Iyengar system is no cakewalk. You can’t just write a poem or essay about how great yoga is and expect to pass. You have to give it your all an then some. Even then, as was my case, is still not enough to advance.

The good news is that I am still a certified Iyengar teacher and if I choose, I can try again next year and only have to do the teaching portion (40 minutes to teach 6 poses from your syllabus with 10-12 students). I also have another year to get these poses down even better.

On an even brighter note, this past week my younger brother and his new wife gave birth to a healthy newborn boy. I look forward to being an uncle and maybe teaching my nephew yoga as he gets older.

The featured image is the New Mexico sky in Rio Rancho at sunset.

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14 thoughts on “Back to work

  1. ambfoxx

    Wish I’d known you were in New Mexico. It would be great to meet you. Next time, perhaps. The teaching portion of the assessment sounds worth redoing. Congratulations on doing so well on the other portions.

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks Anita. I don’t want to make excuses for myself. I walked out of the assessment feeling confident, but the assessors saw something else. I couldn’t sleep well for the life of me during the whole trip. I missed my wife and community very much, and LA opened my eyes to what a dog-eat-dog world it is for many who live there. However, the Iyengar community in LA is very special and they took very good care of me. The students in my assessment taught me a lot more than I probably taught them.

      For me what matters most are my students and my mentoring teachers and our yoga community here on O’ahu. I shared with them this news before I blogged about it (except for one who is on vacation). I learned a lot from this experience and had a wonderful chat yesterday with the lead assessor who has many many years of Iyengar experience. It was a nice consolation prize for not passing.

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      The combined 1/2 sounds brutal. I did it back when it was separated. It was hard back then too. It is a difficult pill to swallow getting that email that you did not pass because it takes a lot of time and energy and money. My suggestion is to practice what will nourish you during this time. I haven’t decided if I want to try again yet because I need to be in a better head space to do that. For the holidays I’m just focusing on my family and recovering. Many blessings to you Linda.

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  2. k8macdo

    Congratulations! I say that because I mean it. The whole process you’ve gone through must have been an intense learning process. I respect the Iyengar standards, and yet, as a retired school teacher – I can’t help but think that the whole process of evaluating someone at one particular point in time on one particular task can be fraught with a lot of subjectivity. Even though we might try our best to be objective evaluators. You look at the experience in from a broader perspective, which I think is both healthy and realistic. Evaluation, from a deeper perspective, is so superficial. We all carry the Divine light within. Love to you, and happy holidays!

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks k8! I’ve been missing you on the blogosphere. Your partner-in-crime Sonia from Pune gives me a gentle nudge to write again after I’ve been AWOL from WordPress for a good length of time.
      In my conversation with the lead assessor, we discussed our roles as householders versus sannyasin. Wouldn’t it be nice just to practice yoga all day in the forrest and get food from people paying alms? Not happening to me anytime soon unless I decide to go homeless 🙂
      At any rate, one snapshot in time of one’s teaching style in a foreign environment, with unknown students, under pressure, after doing an intensive two hour practice the previous day under a critical eye, with sleep deprivation, jet lag, with poses that are just north of most people’s ability creates for not-so-ideal platform for evaluating one’s mettle as a teacher. But for those who can still shine with all that, more power to them 🙂
      It is interesting comparing this process with other professions and disciplines, particularly education and psychology. I often have told people that graduate school was a walk in the park compared to getting my Intro I and II. Borrowing from the Gita: “On this path no effort is wasted, nor is there any danger of adverse effects. Even a little practice of this Yoga protects one from great fear.” That verse has largely been true in my experience. I even thought that if I didn’t pass, it would make much more interesting reading than if I did pass.
      Many blessings to you k8!

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  3. Kim

    Dear yogibattle
    Thanks for your posts which I always find very interesting. It’s great to share experiences.
    I am sorry you didn’t pass but it sounds as if you have been informed on what you need to work on. Here in the UK most people fail on teaching and it is the aspect I know I need to work on especially observation and correction. I know I learn slowly and also the harder I look the more I worry that I’m not noticing what needs adjusting and also not sure how to help to improve the pose.
    Best wishes
    Kim

    Liked by 1 person

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