Getting Educated – A Note from a Teacher Who Is Always in Training…
Deposit down, required readings (and suggested readings, if you’re an eager beaver) purchased, new leggings and water bottle at the ready, and you’re off to your very first day of [INSERT ESOTERIC YOGA STUDIO NAME]’s Yoga Alliance certified teacher training. Spirits high, coupled with a few expectation-fueled nerves, you take the proverbial first step on your journey towards a deeper personal practice, and possibly towards a flirtation, or even long-standing love affair with teaching.
And so marks your beautiful journey into the practice of teaching…
Or does it?
For many dedicated yoga practitioners, the bridge between student and teacher seems simple and logical – work, practice, put the #cashmoney down for a teacher training down, and undergo the metamorphosis from diligent student to devoted teacher with grace and ease. But the transition may not be quite this smooth.
The journey is on-going. After completing both Teaching Fundamentals and Advanced Teaching Yoga Alliance-certified trainings, a teaching mentorship program, a Pilates certification, and various supplemental anatomy courses coupled with weekend workshops and experiences, it’s become blatantly obvious that one “teacher training” is simply not enough. I’ve realized that the process is continuous, and with every additional course or weekend-intensive that I enroll in, I feel my perspective shift and my certainty in what I’ve been instructing and passing on to students change – and let me tell you, it’s precisely this shift that as a teacher, student, and explorer, make you re-evaluate basically everything. Scary? Yeah.
But let’s keep ourselves in check…
We live in a world that is constantly evolving, and as a result, to ensure that as a teacher and as a student you’re able to provide your students with the most informed and catered guidance possible. It’s (more) than a little bit necessary that you take it upon yourself to consistently strive for improvement and be aware of the changes that take place in the movement community around you. The moment that you become comfortable or complacent in both your practice and your teaching methods, take a quick moment to remind yourself that the path you’ve chosen to pursue extends far beyond you and your ego, and expands to envelop those all around you. And although it’s not always easy to accept fault in that which you’ve known for many years to be true in terms of alignment of an asana or a pranayama practice, it will enrich your ability to serve those around you on an on-going basis.
The (New and Experienced) Yoga Teacher’s Quick & Dirty
- EXPLORE – As you delve further into your yoga practice (as either an instructor or practitioner), you’ll realize that there are a number of potential avenues for you to explore. Experiment and take your time to play with and try out these various paths, and try not to take the “master of all” approach – unless you’re an anomaly, it never works.
- SPEED UP THEN SLOW THE F*%K DOWN – When you first venture out into the teaching world, you’ll voraciously digest any opportunity to be in front of a group that you have – which is great; this is how you gain experience. But as you become more comfortable leading others, take it upon yourself to recommit to yourself and your practice. Relax, scale back, and focus in on your own practice to nurture and grow your own creativity.
- INGEST, ANALYZE, and GROW – Be curious, and be willing to change your perspective. Take that weekend workshop, sign-up for that “movement” training, and above all, question what you have been taught, and don’t worry about the insecurities that may surface as a result. The moment you start accepting without challenge instructions that are passed down to you, is the moment you need to check in and assess where you stand as both a student and teacher.
And above all, remember it’s not the end result, it’s the journey. Cliched? Perhaps. Relevant? Always.
The eternal student of this “yoga” thing – CC
Growing up with a background in competitive figure skating, Cass’ journey with yoga began at a young age. What started as a way of maintaining flexibility and mobility has since shifted to focus on building strength, by combining elements of functional movement into her practice and sequencing, helping to explore the different ways in which each individual’s body moves and changes shape. Since completing Octopus Garden’s 200 hour teacher training, and Rishikesh Yog Peeth’s 300 hour advanced teacher training program, Cass has pursued Barre and Pilates certifications through Stott Pilates, along with Essentrics movement training. The most important thing she’s discovered along the way is that you’re always a student – be curious, always question, carefully analyze, and continuously seek new avenues towards unexpected answers. ‘Yoga is the journey from cosmetic to cosmic beauty.’