Here we are! The purpose for which this blog was created. I just finished my first weekend of yoga teacher training, and I’m ready to try to share with you all a little bit about how that went. I have to say up front that there were moments that will not, perhaps, translate well to the written page. Nevertheless, I am full to bursting with gratitude and excitement, and I will do my best to make that come across here.
What Brings You to Yoga Teacher Training?
Our first act of business was to create a name card that could double as an intention card. We were to write “I Am” and our name. We then went around the room to share those cards and a little bit about what brought us to yoga teacher training.
My group is all female, but there is still such diversity. We have women who have lived in or hail from other countries. There are a few new mothers who got into their practice during their pregnancy and hope to spread that joy to other expectant mothers. There are stay-at-home mothers and business owners and everything in between. It was so wonderful and exciting to meet these wonderful women and hear the stories of how yoga has impacted their lives.
We also got to meet our wonderful instructor and the woman behind the Moonbow Wellness YTT program. I know that more than a few of us were nervous, but we were put instantly at ease. Our instructor has led one other group through yoga teacher training. However, her calm and organized demeanor and experience as a co-teacher shine through. It’s really exciting to be such an early part of this program.
What Does It Mean to Be A Teacher?
After introductions, we had a great discussion on Saturday morning on what it means to be a teacher, both generally and as it applies to teaching yoga. There were so many wonderful answers, but my favorite was from someone who said they compared it to being a server in a restaurant. She said she believed the purpose of a teacher was to ask what a student needs and how, as a teacher, she can help get them what they need. So many people think of their instructors as being above them. This answer flips that perspective on its head, as the teacher is really there to be the servant of those he or she will teach.
We also talked about some other important qualities to have as a teacher, like passion, engagement, and making sure to do no harm to the student. On the flip side, we talked about some things we dislike about some teachers. These qualities included someone who seemed to neglect those who may not be at the top level of the class and those who “show” versus those who “teach”.
The entire discussion was so helpful in crystallizing why I want to teach yoga. I really do want to go to my students with the heart of a servant and plant the seeds of a passion for yoga that will serve them in so many ways throughout their lives.
What Is Yoga?
We had another great discussion on what yoga means to each of us, right now. We all had very different answers here as well. There emerged a sort of dichotomy where some of us defined it in terms of the mind-body-breath connection, while others had more concrete definitions of specific ways it can impact health. Our instructor pointed out that both answers could be of use depending on the student who is asking. Some are looking for a healthy-living type of approach while others just genuinely want to know what yoga can do for them, right now, in a concrete manner. It’s another discussion I’ll keep in my back pocket for the time when I am at the front of the class.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
One of the more interesting activities we did was to discuss the Eight Limbs of Yoga, particularly the Yamas and the Niyamas, while doing asana in correlation with the aspect we were talking about. So for instance, we would do our forward fold, and then do it again keeping in mind the principle of sukha (ease). Feeling out the differences and physically applying what are more often thought of as ethical and philosophical precepts was fascinating. It really helped to cement in the mind what these principles mean, and to me at least, introduced the idea that they can be applied even in asana practice.
Wrapping It Up
At the end of our afternoon session, we had a short meditation/practice session and learned a song we will use as a parting at the end of each day. I really enjoyed this first day of yoga teacher training and went home energized and grateful for the day and the next eight months to come. I genuinely feel we have a very special group of women, and I hope to forge some new friendships over the coming months.
Obviously, I’ll never be able to cover everything, but hopefully you were able to get a taste of what the day was like. Be sure to come back next week to read about Day 2! It was even better than Day 1, and I can’t wait to share it with you.