To all the Yogi’s and Yogini’s out there – it’s time to get an insight into Yoga Teacher Training. Why? Because Yoga is more than what you think it is. Incomprehensibly more.
If you’re a practicing Yogini, get yourself into a Teacher Training Course. It will deepen your practice in a way you didn’t think was possible. I’ve just finished my 5th day, and my mind has already been cracked open more than once. I have a whole new appreciation for Yoga Teachers (as will you).
I’m currently training at Level 1 with Yoga Arts. It’s a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certified Course – which apparently matters because you can’t teach without this certification in Australia. My course runs from 2 July – 30 July. We spend 12 hours a day, 5 days a week in training. Plus a “short” 8 hour day on Saturday.
A typical day goes a little something like this.
6:30am – 8:00am : Meditation and Pranayama
We sit in with our legs crossed yoga style for one and a half hours. We have one short break to stretch out our legs, but we never leave our mat. For the first half of the class we do breathing exercises (called Pranayama), and we then sit in meditation for thirty to forty-five minutes. No music, no distractions, just you, your breath, and the little voice inside of you screaming “WHY WON’T YOU MOVE”.
This is the most challenging part of any day. Have you tried to sit perfectly still for more than 10 minutes? Whilst focusing on your breath and not entertaining your thoughts? Have a crack. It’s hard. It seems I’ll do anything to avoid stillness (as will you).
8:00am – 10:00am : Vinyasa (a typical Yoga class)
Each day, we target a different area of the body. I’m constantly aching. I’m sure I’ll be ripped like Arnie by the end of it.
11:30am – 2:30pm : Study Time
We study Yoga Philosophy, Meditation, Ayurveda and even Anatomy. I’m learning all the medical terminology for the bones in our body. Cervical, Lumber, Thoracic vertebrae. Ischium, Ilium. Wow, look at that. I’m almost a doctor.
3:30pm – 6:30pm :A Lucky Dip
Sometimes we “Forget everything anyone ever taught us, about right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, and we just dance. We dance the way you do when no one else is looking, when you have no reputation to protect, or inhibitions to keep you from being free” – other times we “Sing like you do in the shower when you think no one else is listening”. Thanks to Rainer Rilke for those poetic words. We chant, we dance, we practices headstands and handstands, we learn about vaginas and periods and pregnancy.
It’s my kind of time slot.
And yes, it’s a long day. Yoga Teacher Training is the most physically challenging program I’ve put myself into (even more so than training for a half marathon).
But it’s so much more than a physical challenge. Honestly? I think the physical challenges will be easy compared to the emotional and spiritual.
Prepare to be challenged, challenged, challenged until you transform.
Yoga is so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. Yoga isn’t just about getting into a few postures that stretch our hamstrings and tighten our ass. Yoga isn’t just a way to look good in tights.
Yoga is a way of life. It’s a state of being. It’s a pathway to freedom and liberation. An exploration of wholeness. Yoga is a journey of epic proportions.
The next 22 days are going to be quite a ride. I hope you come along.