🌺🌸 THOUGHTS ON BECOMING A CERTIFIED YOGA INSTRUCTOR 🌸🌺
I couldn't decide on keeping this short and sweet or if I should go into depth about my journey as a Yoga Instructor. But I prefer the scenic route, because my hope is to provide information to other Yogis who may be interested in becoming an Instructor one day. Last night I taught my first yoga class and it was such an outer body experience, maybe because I was so nervous and didn't want to disappoint. But before that moment, there was so much more to it. It was and still is a journey. So for anyone out there on the fence or wondering about the phases of pursuing their own dreams, this is for you. This is not a "how to", but rather a description of various components, or building blocks that got me this point. I am no expert by any means but the goal is share my experience and give back the positive energy I've used.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
After almost five years of yoga practice, a light clicked on, a crazy thought came into my mind. Maybe it was because of my past struggles and hurdles I jumped through. Maybe it was that I finally felt more confident somehow, or just a need to be creative. It was probably a combination of things. I had looked through a periscope of plans my whole life, going to school, graduating, getting a job, going back for a graduate degree, paying off the loans, etc. EVERYTHING had a plan and a purpose. I was on schedule for a long time. Once I had finished those things, I realized I was at a place where I could begin looking inward, to finally rest and focus on what I wanted to do next. I've always been the kind of person who has to be moving, going out, talking, etc. Finally, it was time to be still, to reflect.
PURSUING THE DREAM
Is it a dream? Or is it a phase? I think no one has the answers to these questions, but I do know that I believe in the here and now. I know that since I had practiced something for so long, I should finally try my hand at it. It was a natural step that I needed to pursue. It was scary, I was kind of terrified. There's so many things I would have to work on: confidence, speaking in front of people, having knowledge to teach, enjoying what I do as a passion. How the heck was I going to do that? I never really had to do it that much. But what I can tell you is this. A dream is worth pursuing if it a.) scares you b.) nags you for attention c.) can't be accomplished that quickly. After my third and fourth year of practicing Bikram, that burning feeling, the desire to be creative kept coming back. Again, this is coming from a person who has never really delved into the arts & humanities of tings. I always wanted to be creative, I wanted to have a passion that didn't involve structure. It was a major curiosity for me because I believe that Yoga is an art form, there is an aspect of surprise to it, every class is different, there's a discovery of self, it's healing, it's human.
Of course my parents, especially my mom encouraged me to teach. My mom introduced me to yoga as a kid. She's very Gemini, she always taught me how to meditate and of course, I'm a lot like her. She never forced any of this on me. It was just always in my house, subconsciously speaking to me. I also give credit to my Yogi friend, Shayla, for telling me about the Yoga Teach Training Program at Summit Gyms. Then, there was this trip to California a few months prior to see my cousin Ginger. She told me about the endless opportunities for health and wellness and it got me thinking about my potential. My brother also being an athlete rubbed off on me, he encouraged me about new opportunities in the yoga industry. Not to mention my friends, Kaila, Zach, Mariah, Kenneth, Jeff, and Lio who always were there for me, never judging me, always listening to my ideas, always uplifting me. I started doing my research in the Fall and began making a list of possible programs I would be interested in taking.
TAKING THE FIRST STEP
The support definitely helped me, it reassured me. But I also knew that I had a journey ahead of me, I had to put that work in on my own. I tell you, it's hard to motivate yourself, to take the plunge and do something that you love to do. It has a lot of skepticism attached to it because there's a fear that you may realize that you don't love it anymore or that you won't be good at it. I had to ask myself those questions before I registered for the Yoga Teacher Training Program. Not because I was scared I would be wasting my time, but I had to come to terms with why I wanted to be an instructor. It took some self-evaluation. In all honesty, as an instructor, it about helping people reach their best potential, it's not about YOU. I wanted to be sure that I was doing this because I felt ready and was not trying to put myself on some pedestal. I also had so many worries and questions about my own knowledge and skills. I decided to categorize those thoughts as "noise" because I didn't want to talk myself out of it. I signed up for the program in October of 2016, it would start in February and finish early April. I decided to start reading up on a little anatomy and holistic and continue practicing at Bikram.
YOGA TEACHER TRAINING
I began the program with 11 other awesome yogis. I was so new and unsure of what it would be like but I just kept an open mind. Each week we had a set of modules plus homework. We had to design two to three yoga sequences and come prepared to teach it in class. I was so nervous my first time! I had practiced but the fear of failing was present. So I had to remind myself to just relax and pretend that you've been friends with everyone for ten years! Act like you know them. This helped me so much because I had to learn how to project my voice, put heart and soul into what I was doing, received feed forward and helpful criticism, and come to terms with my own abilities. There were definitely other Yogis who were so talented and strong in their practice. But each day I reminded myself that I am only working to get better than what I was yesterday, not better than the next guy. Teacher Training taught me how to stay in my own lane. For two months, every Saturday and Sunday (minus one break week) I woke up at 5:30 AM and trained, studied, and practiced for 12 hours. The one thing I took away from this 200 hour program was learning how to get students into and out of poses safely! We had a lot of class time to work with each other and learn from excellent yoga teachers. Each new week, we were provided with a set of modules, materials that would guide us through the series of yoga topics essential to our teaching. On our last class, we had the opportunity to teach a community yoga class! I really enjoyed seeing my fellow Yogis teach their sequences. I learned so much from them and realized that we are similar in many ways, we crossed paths for a reason.
TOPICS IN TEACHER TRAINING
Vinyasa, Hatha, Restorative, Acro, and Ashtanga Yoga
Pose Adjustments and Corrections
Giving Instructions and Cues
How to Use Blocks, Resistance Straps, and Cushions