Yoga Teacher Training
Starting on July 11th I will be collaborating with Kate Ainsworth on a 200hr Teacher Training at Shockoe Slip Yoga. I am humbled by the opportunity to assist Kate with this training for I admire her ability to communicate her truth & knowledge in a way that feels accessible. If you have not had a chance to take her class I would highly recommend Sundays, 9:30am at Shockoe Slip Yoga.
My intention for this Journal Entry is to open up about why I believe YTT would benefit anyone who made the investment, even if one has no desire to teach. Yes teacher training is designed to develop the skills to lead a class through the Asana (physical postures) of yoga, but the experience of the 200 hours one spends dedicated to this practice holds so much more meaning. Of all the reasons I would recommend a Yoga Teacher Training, here are my top 5.
1. Self Study
One of the things I love about YTT is it provides the opportunity to dive into the meaning of Yoga beyond Asana (postures). Yoga is a science of self study or study of the mind. The Yogis who practiced thousands of years ago were scientist using their direct experience as their object of study. As a part of YTT this method of study was asked of me. As I began to develop a regular practice of yoga & meditation I felt a light shine inward on parts of the myself I did not even know were there; & the addition of journal reflection, introspective questions, & group discussion created an optimal environment to uncover inner wisdom. This discovery process will continue throughout my life but I am grateful to have begun this work in YTT, because it provided a safe space to process, with support.
The human beings who I shared space with for my YTT, taught me the importance of community, the power of listening & being heard, and the beauty of seeing myself in another. To be able to have a intimate group to process and learn with is my favorite way to learn. I believe that to truly understand we must exchange perspectives. If a group is open to see their unity & explore it by sharing, listening & holding space, then new insight is promised. The community formed in YTT provides the perfect environment for this type of exploration.
3. Lifestyle Skills
In YTT I learned some of my most valued life skills.
To be able to teach pranayama (breath work) I had to learn through direct experience. I discovered how to use my breath to settle my nervous system & de-escalate my anxiety. Beyond that I learned how different breaths can be used for different things, there is a pranayama for relaxation, one for raising energy & even one just to bring balance to the body & mind.
Meditation is a crucial tool in my tool box. It helps me align with my core, my self, the Divine essence within me. In YTT is where I began to develop my meditation practice ( I am still practicing and learning everyday) in my own self study I have found that meditating in the morning helps me to cultivate an awareness of myself & others, so that I am able to sense & express gratitude for the abundance that each day brings.
YTT taught me how to slow down & be more present. The days can be long and the information dense but that information is guidance on how to take each moment for what it is, each breath as something fresh & lively.
I'm not sure if there is a way for 200 hours of movement, philosophy, meditation & introspection to not alter a person. At least in my experience it created shifts in me that I am still benefiting from today. Physically I developed a much deeper relationship with my body. I learned how to sense spaces within me that had been left dormant, unconscious for years. It opened my mind to ways of thinking that I had not navigated before, which created new understanding & stimulated a desire to continue to expand my mind. Above all else how I relate to my physical self, my emotional self, my sacred self has transformed in ways that are more patient, understanding & willing to see the truths hidden within. Of course this is still a practice of mine, but the seeds of self love & compassion were planted and nurtured in my YTT.
5. Personal Practice
The main reason I feel that YTT could be beneficial to anyone, even those who have no desire to teach is because of the knowledge & experience developed for their own personal practice. The intention of YTT is to empower individuals to be able to practice, explore & gather insight from their direct experience & to share it with others. It provides the space & time to dedicate to oneself. Even if I had never taught a class after my training I was prepared to continue my journey navigating those questions, who am I? What is my life's purpose? & what is the nature of my existence? With the instruments of movement, meditation, pranayama & self reflection I feel better prepared to ride the ups & downs of life.
If you have any questions about what I have written here or about the upcoming Yoga Teacher Training please feel free to contact me, I would love to hear from you and answer to the best of my ability.