Yoga Teacher Training: Week 7
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“If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” – Yogi Bhajan
I’ve read this quote in the past and thought – oh yeah, that make sense. However, I fully understand this now. Does this mean I’m a master of yoga? No. Does it mean my understanding of yoga and my own practice has rapidly progressed over the last 9 weeks? Yes!
When I started teacher training, I wanted to deepen my practice - a journey of betterment and enlightenment. Whether or not I would actually teach was an unknown for me, but now I know. We taught a class of beginners last week and our students were people that have been our personal cheerleaders and source of support in this journey we started 9 weeks ago. During our feedback session after class there was one common theme – it was fun. It makes me happy to think about sharing yoga with everyone I love and anyone ready to learn about yoga.
Baron Baptiste was the pioneer of Power Yoga. His book, Journey into Power, was assigned reading for our training and we spent a couple hours this week discussing the book. Baptiste studied with influential eastern teachers, Ivengar and Desikachar. From his studies, he created a study of yoga that empowers, strengthens and focuses on physical yoga postures, meditation and self-transformation. Baptiste recommends a daily yoga practice of 90 minutes, but even 5 minutes of daily yoga can be beneficial. Daily practice will keep you in tune with the needs of your body and mind. We all know it’s hard to find time for ourselves, but this daily commitment is a form of self-care. Yoga is accessible to all people of all abilities and you may be surprised what your body will do after a few weeks of daily yoga!
On bring a beginner night, we all brought a student to take our class! This was the highlight of the week for me. It was really exciting teaching a class full of beginner yogis and students that were not our peers! We each had an assigned section of class and it went so well – I was so proud of everyone! The feedback I received from my beginner was that we didn’t seem like beginner teachers and it seemed like a regular class to them! I thought this was a high compliment. We had a feedback session after class and reviewed all the positives and opportunities for growth, but the most important aspect was we all enjoyed teaching and had fun. It wasn’t stressful, it was fun.
In Journey into Power, there is a section about the eight universal principles for stepping up to the edge. Living in the present moment seems to be something that is hard to master for everyone. We are always regretting the past or fretting about the future. One of the universal principles is “we are either now here or nowhere”. All we have right now is the present moment. Rhythmic breathing in yoga forces you to be present and be grateful for the present moment. Be in the now and you will know the how – by looking inward and paying attention to what your body is telling you – you will find the “how”.
All of the universal principles complement each other from being in the moment, knowing how to heal by feeling, thinking less and my personal favorite – don’t try hard, try easy. These universal principles combined bring us to our edge and tell us when to push past our edge, but doesn’t that require work? Isn’t it hard, not easy? We’ve all been taught to work hard and nothing comes easy. Does this mean we don’t have to work hard? No. It means letting go of ego and unrealistic ambitions and being content – surrendering. Content with where we are in our personal practice and trusting we are exactly where we should be – not doing crazy inversions like the student on the mat next to us! When you know your edge, become content with your place in practice, relax and try easy, you’ll be amazed at what your body can achieve. Maybe you’ll be the one doing crazy inversions!
“When you change your focus from limitations to boundless possibilities, from doubt and fear to love and confidence, you open your world in entirely new ways.” – Baron Baptiste
As a student….
As of now, I have taken 50 yoga classes in about 12 weeks – 50!! I’m still short 10 classes and have two weeks to complete them. I noticed in class this week how much deeper my seated forward fold is and how much stronger I feel in high plank and crow’s pose. My body and mind have gone through a transformation. I feel a pull to do yoga every day – even if it’s just 10 minutes before I go to bed at night. Yoga has changed me and I want to continue my daily practice.
My aha moment….
If I had any doubts about teaching, I know the answer now. I feel happy when I think about teaching yoga! I want to share the benefits of yoga. I want to design a class with music and flow. I want to teach. I’m not sure in what capacity yet, but I have my answer now.