Two years ago, around this time in November, I finished yoga teacher training, one of my biggest accomplishments. The program changed me and brought some amazing people into my life. Tuesday night I had the chance to spend quality time with three of my fellow teacher trainees. The conversation hit on yoga teaching, nutrition and the food system, relationships, parenting, our yoga teachers, our future plans — everything. I realized that despite not seeing each other as often as we’d like, we will be forever connected and supportive of one another. We shared parts of ourselves with each other that we maybe didn’t share with anyone else. We were all seeking something when we signed up for teacher training, and it’s been satisfying to see all the changes we’ve made since graduation. One of us is fulfilling her goal to become a foster parent, another left an unhealthy marriage and has found happiness, another is finishing up medical school and working on herself, and I’ve moved to Illinois for a new adventure and to fulfill my desire to experience new things. I can’t say things are perfect for any of us but that’s not the point. We’re on our way to becoming who we want to be thanks to the self-awareness and insight we learned during teacher training.
If you’d like to see what yoga teacher training was like, read the weekly recaps I wrote in 2013:
Teacher Training: Week 9
Tuesday was our second discussion of the yogi lifestyle. We learned the twelve habits of a yogi and discussed which we most want to focus on. My No. 1 focus throughout this year and especially the training has been to maintain a positive attitude. It’s the most difficult thing in the world sometimes. We as a society are so programmed to be negative. When people talk about their relationships or jobs, they tend to say the things that annoy them. Lately Graham has been reminding me of when I am only seeing the negative by saying “First world problems.” It’s a silly reminder that my stresses are really nothing compared with the real struggles many people face.
That Saturday I observed a Power class and was able to adjust in Downward-facing Dog, Pigeon and Savasana. I jotted down about two and a half pages of notes and cues. I’m glad I was able to get my hands on people to practice adjustments. Later, during training, we attended a class at the studio instead of our usual lecture. The final four hours were for discussing the characteristics of a class, the bell curve, transitions and other teaching fundamentals. Then we had some teaching practice in the studio.
I started Sunday by teaching my sister and cousin yoga. I led a slow beginner’s class that they seemed to enjoy. We want to make this a regular class every week or so. Training started with a class at the studio, followed by four hours of Power Flow. We first went over what the basics of a Power Flow class are, but really the best way to learn that is to practice, so that’s what we did. We would flow through parts of class, take notes, then flow again. We had plenty of time to play around with arm balances, inversions and advanced variations of poses. I went home exhausted that night but it was so fun!
Teacher Training: Week 10
Tuesday was a practicum night, so we took a class instead of our usual lecture. Saturday began with more on naturopathic medicine, followed by two hours of asana mechanics, where we went over backbends, and two hours of asana method in which we each taught a portion of a power flow class. Some of the feedback I received was that our teacher liked how I finally called out for an audible sigh and that I dimmed the lights as we started to cool down. I was told I need to work on my Titibasa call-out and flow Crow into the sequence better. Our teacher commented on how I have soothing voice; I just need to project more confidence.
Teacher Training: Week 11
Tuesday: As we near the end of our training, it’s time to learn about the business of yoga. On Tuesday we talked about the difference between community and industry, what makes a good yoga teacher and whether to get liability insurance. What most appeals to me is to be part of a community rather than a money-motivated business. Of course, you have to make a living, but when your energy is tied up in solely making money, you aren’t really serving others. The intention shouldn’t be to become a local celebrity or get rich. A parallel I see in yoga teaching and being a journalist is the desire to help others. If I can help just one person feel better after a class then I will be content.
Saturday: We started our session with our last naturopathic medicine lecture. We talked about finding natural skin and hair-care products that don’t use dangerous chemicals. We also talked about natural remedies for common ailments, reducing our use of plastic, being aware of where and how our products and food are made, and so much more. The takeaway: become a more knowledgeable consumer.
Teacher Training: Week 12
It’s a short week! We had our final lecture on Tuesday on the business of yoga. Now we don’t meet until the end of the month, when we each teach a 45-minute class.
So much to do to prepare:
- Record myself teaching my all-levels class and then run through it. (Halfway done.)
- Finalize my playlist.
- Figure out what the theme of the class will be.
- Assist one of my teachers in a class.
- Finish my makeup assignments.
- Practice teaching.
Thinking about teacher training? It will, no doubt, change your life and give you more than you ever expected. I am convinced of that.