Month five of yoga teacher training is finished and we have now passed the half way mark. It doesn’t seem possible, but it is. June and July were tough and tiring months of training. We focused on breaking down poses in June and this month we focused on advanced arm balances and inversions, sequencing and teaching. The work is mentally and physically tiring but I have never been happier.
A friend from my triathlon life uses the hashtag #dowhatlightsyouup for her photography business and for other posts. This phrase just kept coming to mind all weekend. The practice of yoga, being with this wonderful group of women, and working towards sharing what really lights me up is a joy.
I did a fair amount of observing during the advanced poses section of training this weekend. Inversions will never be a full part of my practice or my teaching due to issues with my eyes. My vision is worth more than the ability to do a headstand. Arm balances are not part of my practice yet but I am very, very close to being able to come into crow. What I observed this weekend was a combination of determination, beauty, grace and ease, and amazement at personal achievement. There are a number of my classmates who easily go into a headstand, shoulder stand or other inversion. Their strength, beauty, grace and ease are lovely to watch. I know that these poses have not come to them without practice and building strength and that makes me appreciate what I see even more.
Most of the weekend involved discussing sequencing classes and practicing teaching. As someone who has been an educator for over 30 years, I know that it still takes a lot of work to thoughtfully plan and carry out a class. I have to be prepared for the unexpected, for things to not work, for people to be jumping over people’s mats on the dock as happened last week when I was leading a group through yoga. For a teacher practice does not just consist of our own practice, perfecting a pose, or knowing the Sanskrit names. It consists of being ready, understanding that we are all human, that it is a rare day when everything goes perfectly, and continuing to show up anyway. Through the practice of teaching we become better teachers. By practicing compassion with ourselves we become more compassionate with others (and I think the opposite as well). It takes work to figure out the order and transitions of poses, how to breath and how to assist our classes so that they benefit in practice and are safe. Aspects we may not think about as the student are of prime importance as a teacher. It’s all a process and the journey of the process is part of the overall point, I think.
Part of the joy in teaching this weekend was watching the rest of the group practice after I finished my section of teaching. I will end this with a few photos of my lovely classmates. Kayla’s grace, the beauty of reverse Warrior, and the grounded strength of standing on our own two feet. This work has brought so much to my life. It really is what lights me up.