It’s a little over a week since Tash Scott and I completed facilitating SOYA’s 200hr Immersion Yoga Teacher Training program in the Okanagan. I joked with students at the beginning of the training that they might have thought they were coming to get certified to teach yoga but the Immersion training is actually a personal growth course disguised as a yoga teacher training. When I look around the room on the first day of training, I see eyes filled with
doubt, fear and excitement. Their eyes have been opened while completing philosophy and anatomy lessons for several weeks prior to arriving for the residential 16 days that follow. Participants sleep, eat and breathe yoga from 7:30am-7:30pm, and a transformation happens that is nothing short of magical.
These are some of the insights I’ve had through the great honour of ushering in new yoga teachers over the past 6 years.
1. Anchor before you speak.
Speak from a place that’s authentically and intelligently you but humbled by the fact that you are a compilation of all the incredible teachers you’ve had so far with the magic fairy dust of Grace sprinkled on top. You’re not there to make friends or blow your own horn but to be a clear and open channel so that you can convey the wisdom of yoga to the best of your ability. Speak from a place of service.
2. You will need to get skilled in holding space for awkwardness, tears, anger, extreme appreciation,
confrontation and mushy loveliness.
How do you get skilled? Through the dedication of your own practice. Can you be present with your own emotions? Can you bear witness to Life’s intensities without reacting? If we are propagating self inquiry and self compassion, the work has to start on our own mats in the jungle of our own minds.
3. Your level of self care is proportional to the level of service you can provide to your students.
Early on in trainings I noticed that when the quality of my sleep or nutrition was compromised, I didn’t have the energy to do either of the points above. Prana (life force energy) in the body is best supported through clean nutrition, rest and doing your practice and own inner work. The quality of your output is completely dependent on the quality of your input.
4. The pull towards your fullest self is stronger than fear.
Trainees often arrive and admit to feeling vulnerable, like they don’t belong, uncertain of their choice to be there or of their ability to lead a class. Yet, they show up. Not only do they show up but they recommit everyday to a strong workload and long hours. We all have the voices that don’t like change, the voices that can keep us from growing. This sense of separateness (I don’t belong here) holds us back but the underlying longing to maximize our personal potential is so much more powerful. Sometimes it needs fertilized and watered (that’s my job) but it’s always there.
5. The value of community.
For your sanity, seek out like minded people to bounce ideas off of, to answer questions, to guide and help you grow, to call you on miss-steps and to honour, reflect and celebrate paths you walk down. If yoga is a huge part of you, it’s important to have people in your life who you can talk chakras and 8 limbs with and share the revelations that this kind of transformational practice can spark. Teacher training or your yoga studio /community often provide this kind of arena where very fundamental layers of you can be seen and shared.
If a 200hr teacher training is for you next year, here are some options to consider.
4 month weekends only program Mar 7-June 14/15 at Purple Lotus Yoga
16 day residential Immersion program Mar 11-26/15 at God’s Mountain Estate
16 day residential Immersion program Oct 15-30/15 at God’s Mountain Estate