Teaching Yoga

Another yoga teacher training weekend has passed. They fly by. There are only 3 weekends (7 days) left, and we are teaching to the public for each of those days. It seems unbelievable that we've come so far in what seems like such a short amount of time. We've met for 5 weekends (11 days) since September, and it's amazing to see the progress each and every one of us has been making since the beginning.

I love the way this teacher training is set up. We began by teaching to (and learning from) 3 of the other students in the class, for 2 sets of 10 minutes at a time. It was a rocky start for all of us—we listened to Jacqui's (the YTT teacher) advice, read our manuals about the transitions in and out of each pose, and jumped into teaching. I know I'm not the only one who felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

Then we switched to another set of 3 students, and each time we taught and got more advice from Jacqui, we grew a little more and felt a little more confident. For the last 2 weekends we've been also teaching for five minutes at a time to half the class, which is about 16 students, while the other half of the class works on assisting the students who are following the vocal instruction.

Five minutes may not seem like a whole lot of time, but it's incredibly informative what can be learned during those 5 minutes. It's an amazing experience to vocally guide 16 people through physical movements—to see how each one of them moves differently. What's really amazing is that THEY GUIDE ME too. As I look around the room I see their feet, and their shoulders, and their hips. Because I can see where they are, the words are beginning to come naturally to encourage them toward better alignment. If someone's shoulders are all scrunched up by their ears, I'm reminded to guide everyone toward relaxing their shoulders. So, each student is there to help guide the other students as well… I love that.

Not only does my voice guide their body, but it can guide their mind as well. There are unseen cues that can be given to guide them within; to feel their breath; to focus their attention on the space on their forehead between their eyes; to think of someone they love and send the positive effects of their practice to that person… the cues are endless.

I'm slowly learning that there's a part deep inside of me that really knows the poses. I've done them (the ones I teach, anyway) and felt them all in my own body, so I have the body memory of what they feel like, and how a tiny adjustment can really feel amazing.

I'm also really starting to feel comfortable being myself around the group. It can sometimes take me a long time to really open up and show my heart and soul to a group of people. This Saturday was the first time I walked into the training weekend feeling open and receptive. Each of the weekends before I felt anxiety and self conscious. Perhaps this has to do with feeling more confident about the teaching of the poses. That meek feeling of "I don't know what I'm doing" is passing, and it seems as though the part of me that knows what to do is able to shine more.

The experience of yoga-teacher-training has been, and I'm sure will continue to be a transformative experience. Each of us has shared a moment in our lives when we have been touched by grace. This weekend was my turn to share, and like many others in the class I ended up in an emotional blubbering mess while trying to talk about it. It's incredibly humbling to be so vulnerable in front of 35 people, who just a few months ago had no idea who you were. I have so much respect for the lives and processes that each and every one of the other yogis in the training. They have all gone through so much, and overcome so many obstacles. It really is teaching me that we can't judge any other person. Everyone has a story that we don't know, and they're all beautiful—as hard as they are, we're making it through, and THAT is what's beautiful.

So, I invite you to join me and all these beautiful people in one (or more) of the community classes that we're offering over the next 3 weekends that we meet.

January 18, 19 and 20
February 1 and 2
March 8 and 9

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