Can you think of the last time you did something that, despite being good for you, made you feel absolutely, completely 100% uncomfortable?
That most recent something for me was going to Montreal last month for the first instalment of a course I feared would have me feeling “out of my element”, to say the least.
About six months ago, my strength coach/friend/confidant Lovedeep Dhunna told me about a program called SomaTraining, and how the creator—a renowned French osteopath named Guy Voyer—would be teaching the course for the last time over five weekends in Montreal from 2015-2016. Knowing my background in yoga and interest in therapeutic training, Lovedeep suggested that this course might be the right fit for me. He was already committed to the full three year program, and advised that I look into even attending select weekends, if not the first year, to better establish my understanding of anatomy from the highly technical, uncompromisingly thorough perspective that Somatraining provides.
I digested the idea, knowing that this commitment came with significant challenges: traveling to Montreal 5 times during the same year I am co-teaching my first Teacher Training program; taking on additional work at a time when I knew the last thing I needed was a heavier schedule; and perhaps best of all, learning in a bilingual classroom, where French would surely dominate. But something in my gut told me I was overdue for some in-depth education, and I decided to bite the bullet.
So last month Lovedeep and I boarded the train to Montreal, neither of us really knowing what to expect. We had no idea how many people were enrolled in the course, or if any of our classmates would speak English. We had received a brief introduction to the weekend’s topic – the abdominals – via email, but aside from that didn’t know what exactly we’d be learning. As someone who thrives off having a plan and knowing what lies ahead, the sense of uncertainty that followed me onto the train was the first clue that this weekend would surely be taking me out of my comfort zone.
The next three days were a blur. We were in class 9-10 hours Friday-Sunday with thirty other students, only 6 of whom spoke English (including us). The first day felt like getting hit in the face with heavy French dictionary; from there, there was no where to go but up. Or so I thought. Midway through Saturday, I hit a wall. For the first time since forcing myself through high school Calculus, I was getting frustrated to the point of tears. My brain was being challenged in ways it had forgotten was even possible. Sunday morning, I woke up with a sore throat, and could feel that the overwhelming focus each day of the course required was taking its toll. But then halfway through that last day of class, I felt a weight lift off of me. We started to interact more with our classmates and develop a report with Guy. Things were starting to make sense. I was called on to demonstrate various exercises, and I actually understood what was going on. Each time I found myself arriving at the right answer, I felt like doing a little victory dance. The clouds were beginning to part.
At the conclusion of the weekend, I was faced with the decision of whether or not to commit to the rest of the year. I had flip-flopped over the answer throughout the three days there, at times certain that this course was a mistake and not the right path for me, and at other times assured myself that if I stayed the course, I’d have no regrets. The easy way would be to back out, to say thank you for the little bit of exposure to Somatherapy that the weekend provided, and relax knowing that I wouldn’t have to juggle so many things over the coming year. And yet, it looks like the hard way is winning out. I find myself looking at the material for the next weekend’s course, and thinking, “How can I not do this? I have to go back for more”.
I remember on that last afternoon, working with LD and a couple of really intelligent, interesting guys on a “puzzle” Guy proposed for us to solve, and really having a good time. My brain was totally engaged, and we were thinking in ways that only 24 hours prior hadn’t been possible for me, about anatomical reference points I never knew existed. So I think that’s reason enough to get uncomfortable, and venture out of the comfort zone, again and again and again. Along the way there will likely be some hiccups, but I’m hopeful that when all is said and done, I’ll still have no regrets.
If you’re interested in SomaTraining, check out the Instutit de SomaTraining. The weekends are each available to take à la carte (see, my French is getting better already!), so if there is a particular area of interest to you, perhaps consider it.