The room was well over 100°. The humidity inside rivaled an Amazonian rain forest and the sweat dripping off our bodies onto the tiled floor evoked the sounds of the rain falling to the forest floor.
“Again,” said the instructor, not quite yelling but also not leaving any room for dissent. We followed his orders, grunts of effort carried forth on steamy breath.
Guiding us to a seated a position, arms and legs held out at 45° angles. “What, you didn’t think I forgot about core, did you?” he offered in a jovial tone. “Besides, this is sensitivity training.”
We must have looked perplexed because as we entered a grueling routine of lowering alternating heels down to the floor, he explained.
“When I was in the army, ordering the men to change their socks on a long hike was sensitivity training. Demanding that they run one more mile was sensativity training. Making them do 5 more minutes of PT was sensitivity training. Requiring them to finish their meal was sensitivity training. Because out in the field, those things could make the difference that allowed them to come back alive.”
“So this is your sensitivity training. Your one hour in here where you practice how to handle discomfort, how to come back to the breath when you’re panicking and how to find the calm within the storm. So that when you go back out there, you’ll survive.”
My grimmace turned into a smile of appreciation. Even though it’s often nicer to be taught in the quiet nurturing ways of a preschool teacher, life often has other ideas. And it’s good to be prepared.