Yoga Teacher Training: Week 2
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This week of training was so fun and enlightening that I found myself wishing it would never end! I realize that sounds strange - it’s time consuming and exhausting, but it's worth it. We had the opportunity to teach a segment of class this week and I was buzzing after our yoga history and philosophy lecture - more on that later.
We started the week with a posture clinic the first night and round robin teaching the second night. The week ended with a yoga history and philosophy lecture. We're about halfway through the C1 sequence and it's hard to believe we are only on our second week of training.
The round robin session was pretty exciting. We set up for class and took turns when called upon to teach a particular portion of class. I was a little nervous, but mostly excited to teach and assess where I was in my training. When it was my turn, I felt confident teaching the postures I landed on and marched to the front of the room. I cued breath, posture and tried some deepening cues, but it became a blur and I can’t really remember what I said! I also planted myself in one spot like a statue. I kept telling myself to walk around, but it seemed too daunting to walk and instruct at the same time! After we all had a turn, our instructors provided feedback and I was anxious to hear everything. They did an excellent job providing feedback to everyone and when I was up, they gave me positives and things to work on - like not being glued to the floor!
My favorite part of the week was the yoga history and philosophy lecture. This is what I’d been waiting for - a deep dive into the spiritual exploration of yoga. The yoga sutras really resonated with me and if you've never heard of yoga sutras, I hadn't either. The sutras are guides to living a yogic life and create alignment between mind and body. I realize this sounds very zen-like and something that isn't easily achieved, but as with everything in yoga, you take from it what you want. The sutras include the eight limbed yogic path along with yamas and niyamas. Sanskrit, sanskrit, sanskrit.
I'm going to focus on the sutras now because that was my favorite part of the week. Without listing all the sanskrit names for the yamas and niyamas, I'm going to talk about the overarching themes and why I walked away feeling happy and peaceful - for a few hours, at least!
The yamas talk about being kind to others and not intentionally doing harm to anyone or any thing. This also includes how you treat yourself and self care. This really made me stop and think about all the ways I harm myself either in my thoughts or my choices everyday. I'm fairly good at self care, but I think we can all relate to speaking kinder to ourselves and eliminating harmful things and people from our lives.
Moderation is also a theme of the yamas - controlling desires and realizing that when we become obsessive or focused on things in life, we lose sight of what is really important and our true selves. Letting go of things in the past that don't serve you or things you can't control. I struggle with letting go the most and in the practice of yoga, you have to let go to reach a point of balance and harmony.
Contentment - finding gratitude in all moments and phases of life and not wishing things were different. My dog had cancer a few years ago and we were able to catch it early and he's been doing well, but that experience taught me gratitude. Every day I'm aware of how lucky I am to have him and I'm just thankful for any time we get together. He's a senior dog requiring more care and vet visits, but I see it as time I get to spend with him. Now, translating this to every other aspect of my life is challenging!
We spoke about desires we have such as a loving relationship, success, things, but really we are searching for a feeling in life. Contentment is realizing that you can create that feeling anytime you want. Desires can be a good thing or can distract us in a way that causes harm to ourselves or others - going against the whole non-violence/freedom from harming yama! The yamas work as a hierarchy of sorts in this manner, which is fascinating to me because this really brought everything together.
Many themes in class revolve around being present in the moment and realizing we can waste our lives thinking if we only had this or that, we would be happy. I'm anxious to read so many books being recommended in class, but The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is at the top of my list.
As a student....
This week in class, I'm going to make taking a C1 class a priority so I can start focusing on the flow and really hone in on the different cues given for the segments we've learned so far! I'm also going to try every alternate option for poses so I can feel what I'll be instructing to students.
My aha moment....
Meditation is a big part of yoga, but meditating isn't easy! Meditation is finding that place where you are not even aware you are in a meditative state. To me, it's when I'm so relaxed I hear what's around me, but my mind is quiet. My aha moment this week is realizing where I find meditation - my Dhyana.
I've found my Dhyana in class during savasana or corpse pose - sometimes, I don't want to be guided out of this pose! I also find my Dhyana on the water - either on my paddleboard or simply floating. Water has always brought me peace - being anchored in the middle of the lake listening to the city sounds, floating in the middle of the caribbean on a wooden sailboat or letting go - surrendering to the current by floating on my paddleboard down a river. These are my happy places.