Last week in the YTT, the end of a journey?

Here we are, reaching the end of the training. This week is all about reviewing the theoretical, practical and teaching material we have studied through this very busy month for the final exams. As I spend hours studying, I wanted to give a brief summary of this month and what I hope will come next for me.

First, I have a non-yoga related full time job that I love and will definitely not quit (I am a researcher in medical imaging). So then you might wonder: what are you doing here, doing an intensive yoga teacher training? Well, I have been a yoga student in various studios, with various teachers for 3-4 years and I love the yoga practice but after a while I felt that I was missing a lot by being just a student. My rational and scientific mind wanted to know more. Why do we do these poses? What is the yoga philosophy about? Is yoga really beneficial? How can I improve? Why should I improve? Is there more to yoga than the group classes I attend for one hour here and there?

I am really happy to say that this YTT answered all my questions. You don’t need to be a yoga teacher to have all these answers, I just wanted to understand what I am doing so I can start to enjoy yoga on my own. First, I learned in this training a lot of physiological aspects of our body. Not to the level of a medical degree, of course, but deep enough to practice safely, teach safely and help people with muscle pain, joint pain, depression, anxiety or similar mental troubles, or just people wanting to improve their life. Additionally, the yoga philosophy is very rich and makes perfect sense. Everything is rational, even if as human beings we tend to be greedy, jealous and self-destructive. These guidelines in the 8 limbs of yoga can really make a difference in our lives and I know they will do it in mine.

I have a very competitive mind (the Pitta in me probably), so for me being able to master the hard poses was one of my biggest motivation to join the program. However, we barely touch these poses since the class is made to make you a teacher for beginners at first. I was a bit disappointed at the syllabus when I realized that I could already perform almost all the poses. However, what I quickly discovered was that I would never be able to perform hard poses if my foundations in “easy” asanas were wrong. Take the downward facing dog for instance, as I described in my first post, the proper technique is very different from what I had been taught, no wonder I could not progress since I was not using the right muscles. Thanks to the course, I have much stronger foundations and I will now be able to practice on my own, and slowly, one step at a time I will be able to  push my practice further.

I did not know Ashtanga style before, and since it is a fixed series of asanas, I was quite reluctant to work on it as I was afraid it would be quite boring. However, after having tried several times, I discovered that it engages every single muscle of your body, is very dynamic, flows nicely, is an excellent work-out while improving your breathing, holding of poses, flexibility, strength and stamina. I am really looking forward to have some free time now to practice this sequence and with time and dedication I am convinced it will become a very fulfilling yoga practice.

Finally, to the question: will I teach? I honestly do not see myself quitting my job, or even going part-time to replace it with teaching yoga despite the great pleasure I experienced teaching during this training. I like to think of it as a possibility if something goes wrong but most importantly, I cannot wait to share my knowledge with my friends and family in an informal friendly setting. If I can help them in anyway alleviate their body discomfort I would consider myself extremely lucky.

– Stephanie –

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