Last week, I was in Connecticut for an intensive week as part of my yoga teacher training program. We had our normal weekend session (Friday evening, all-day Saturday and Sunday) and then had to be in Connecticut by Monday evening for 7 days of training.
It was an incredible week and I am grateful for having that concentrated time dedicated to exploring the practice of yoga, my own practice and the art of teaching.
Yesterday morning, I sat on the back porch and watched the sun rise on my left as the just-past full moon descended on my right. The rays of light reflected off the surface of the Long Island Sound, the northern edge of Long Island peeking out along the horizon. The water was particularly active that morning and there were actually lines of waves bulging and rolling their way towards shore. A small fishing boat sat just off shore.
It was the last day of our week-long teacher training. Although we have only been in Connecticut for a week, it felt much longer like we have been there for a month. It was a full week and physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting – but in a good way.
We have covered so much material this week – balancing poses, inversions, twists, hip openers, arm balances, seated postures, pranayama (breath practice) – and learning how they are linked to each other as well as how to adjust students in poses. We practice Surya A’s, Surya B’s and Chandra Namaskar. And teaching. We spent a lot of time teaching and learning how to teach.
I think that’s been the most empowering part of all of this. We aren’t just learning the material and anatomy and names of the poses. We actually learning how to teach and convey the information in an interesting and useful way.
You know how during the auditions for American Idol, they make you work together in groups and you have to put together a piece to perform? That’s what it’s been like for us. We’ve been doing group teaching exercises like this all week except that we literally had about 7-10 minutes to create the opening section of a class and maybe 20 minutes to put together an hour-long class.
At the beginning of the week, I have to admit, it was kind of ugly and kind of a train wreck all around for everyone. We stumbled over our words, forgot the sequence of poses, had a hard time instructing the “students” how to come into the pose and providing alignment cues, and didn’t know how to give good adjustments in the pose.
However, by the end of the week, it felt like everything started to come together. We spent Sunday morning teaching, working in groups of four to create and teach an hour long class. We improvised and put together a pretty great class.
It was amazing to see how everyone progressed during the week and began to step into the role of teacher. Everyone just seemed more solid on their feet. It was a fairly profound change.
For me, that crazy anxiety and discomfort started to fall away. There’s a great comfort level with the material and information and slowly, confidence is starting to settle into me. I loved the process of putting together a sequence, linking the poses, figuring out how to link the breath and how it all ties to a larger theme. It’s like putting together a puzzle and I loved it.
“Let yourself be silently drawn to the strange pull of what you love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi
It was a hard week on many levels (particularly as a more introverted person and not having the time and space to retreat and recharge). A lot of personal and emotional issues surfaced. My body feels pretty wrecked after all the yoga.
But the things is? At this moment? I am content.
The week away was also good for us as a group. I think that it brought us closer together in a way that I’m not sure would have happened if we only saw each other on the weekends. It was great to get to know our instructors better, outside of the studio and their typical role as “teacher.”
After a morning of teaching class to each other, we made our way back to NYC. It’s cheesy to say but this place was magical. I can’t think of another word to describe it.
4 more weekends left. Craziness.
How was your week and weekend?
More about my yoga teacher training experience:
- Yoga Teacher Training – Weekend 1
- Teaching Voice
- Compassion and the Yoga Sutras
- Teaching final
- Yoga Teacher Training – Graduation
- 9 Lessons from Yoga Teacher Training
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