I can’t believe it’s already been six weekends at yoga teacher training at Essence of Living!! Like little Alice said, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of worrying about all the assessment that’s due, but really, we should all just relax and enjoy the ride because as sad as it is, it’ll be over soon!
Last weekend Michelle acknowledged the huge effort everyone was making despite their crazy busy home life and work commitments and it really opened my eyes and made me stop and reflect on how amazing all my new friends are! I realised that I tend to get so caught up in my own hectic busy life that sometimes I forget everyone else’s lives are just as hectic and busy! …anyone else do this?!? Everyone has their own crazy busy lives, little dramas, commitments, and changes they’re working through and are still fully and completely showing up. Everyone makes such a huge effort to be at all the trainings, coming in when they’re sick even if just to observe curled up in the corner on a beanbag! Not only that but everyone is super prepared for every assessment, come into the studio during the week to observe, practise or adjust a class, are meditating and practising most days during the week, and are just generally bloody amazing people! It’s really humbling to reflect on because as I said I tend to get so caught up in the millions of things I’ve got going on that I forget about everyone else’s super busy amazing lives too! Everyone is on their own journey…
Here’s a quick (or not so quick) recap of the last two weekends.
Week five at yoga teacher training at Essence of Living was spent learning to teach kids’ and pregnant ladies’ yoga classes and sitting our written exam!
Pretending to be kids in a yoga class was so much fun, we spent the morning running around doing activities, dancing, singing, and doing yoga with stuffed animals! It was bloody hilarious. It was so much fun just letting loose and dancing around like kids again. Sometimes we forget how to be silly and have fun as adults! It was so great to just pretend to be kids again! Not being a natural ‘kid person’ I never ever thought I would want to, or be able to, teach kids yoga, but after that weekend I actually feel relatively confident in being able to lead a kids yoga class and have a lot of fun while doing it!
We then got fake pregnant with a blown-up balloon in our bellies! We did a normal class while being fake pregnant to understand how some poses are just totally not an option, and then did a prenatal class which felt sooo much better. It was super eye-opening and bloody hilarious! It was really interesting learning would it would feel like to be pregnant and not be able to do some of the yoga poses that I wouldn’t have even thought of as a problem, and then learn how to easily modify them to suit pregnant ladies.
We also had our written exam which was on a lot of the theory behind yoga – the benefits of deep breathing, the limbs of ashtanga yoga, how to teach pranayama techniques, how to sequence a class, the types of yoga, Sanskrit terms for yoga poses… you get the gist. Most of the content we had to learn for the exam could honestly be weaved into the teachings during a yoga class – I found myself when I was teaching this week reeling off the benefits of deep breathing that I’d memorised from my exam and realising how relevant they were to mention in a yoga class!
Last weekend we had lots of assessment due including teaching two 1-hour yoga classes each!
We each had to teach a beginner’s class and a private class specifically tailored to one of the other students. It was everyone’s first time ever teaching a whole yoga class (except mine so I had a massive advantage) and they all lead them so beautifully. I’m so incredibly proud of all my yogi teacher babes! Everyone did so well! It’s so great getting so much practise actually teaching and getting feedback from Michelle and each other on how we can improve. It’s also super reassuring having Michelle constantly instil confidence in us, saying ‘when you graduate, you’ll already be a great teacher, you don’t graduate from Essence of Living Academy unless you’re great!’ It’s so lovely to know that and really gives everyone the faith that they’ll be able to teach straight away. I know when I first graduated my first TTC I did not feel confident or competent enough to teach. It’s so beautiful being given those tools from the start. After teaching our first class we sat in a circle and shared our feedback and Michelle gave us hers. She really built us all up and showed us how amazing we are!!
Apart from teaching our classes we also gave two 2-minute talks on a special population of choice (e.g. someone with a hip replacement or obesity), and on an athlete group of choice, focusing on what yoga poses would be most beneficial for each client group. I found these talks super beneficial as a yoga teacher because so many different people turn up to your classes and having the tools to modify your class to them is really necessary. Just this Monday in my general yoga class I had: two rugby players who were complete beginners to yoga, one with recently broken ankle; a guy with a recently slipped cervical vertebrae; and an advanced practitioner wanting to move & flow dynamically. The talks over the weekend really helped me in being able to modify the class to these students and really highlights how the fact that aaalll kinds of people will turn up to our classes! I’m so grateful for everyone for sharing their research over the weekend!
Over the last two weekends at yoga teacher training at Essence of Living we’ve also been guided through four more concentration techniques*. We’ve also been practising our adjusting every weekend, pairing up and either adjusting or being adjusted for a whole class each day. I love adjusting so much!!
*read my last blog post for an explanation on the difference between concentration and meditation
Here are my favourite concentration techniques.
So Ham: we sequentially cleansed the seven main chakras in the body, energetically sending energy from the earth up to that chakra while chanting ‘So’ and then sending energy down from the cosmos to that chakra while chanting ‘Ham’. I especially loved Michelle’s explanation of how to visualise the chakras. She said it’s about getting beyond our bodies completely – letting go of this physical manifestation, of the world of form, and feeling the chakra energy centres from the inside. At the same time you also become the black void of space and see the balls of energy floating from the outside in. It was really beautiful.
Do you think we’re crazy yet?
Bhramari pranayama is probably a little more doable for beginners, and a bit less out there! In this technique you cover your eyes and ears with a special mudra (hand gesture) to bring all your senses within and them hum mmmmmmm like a bee. Okay maybe it sounds a little weird too now that I’m writing it… BUT it’s a really great one for when your mind is a super busy bee. Omg maybe that’s why you hum like a bee 😉 Anywaaaay it worked a treat for me that day as I had lots of thoughts rushing around and so needed a more solid technique to shut up my monkey mind. It most definitely did!! As I said in my last blog, the more you give the mind and body to do during a concentration technique, the easier it is to concentrate.
Another thing that came up for me this week at yoga teacher training at Essence of Living was to continue to embody yoga off the mat. To continually grow into a kinder, more compassionate, more loving, and more accepting person and to live my own authentic truth. It’s always so refreshing to see a teacher that really lives and breathes yoga, one who is the same person when they step on the mat at the front of class to who they are off the mat. I think this will naturally grow in us as our self-confidence grows and as we work on complete acceptance of ourselves. All of us on the course are so hard on ourselves, yet we fully see and appreciate the incredible gifts, beauty and light in everyone else on the course. I wish we could all see ourselves through each other’s eyes!
Anyway… I better wrap this up. My blogs just seem to get longer and longer!
Like I’ve said before, my favourite thing about yoga teacher training at Essence of Living is the incredible love and support we all give each other. It’s just so bloody beautiful. Everyone in the group is going through their own personal transformation; some of us working through massive life changes, so there’s often tears at least once throughout the day. I really love and respect the space Michelle holds for all of us to lean into that transformation, to cry and talk through the big things in our lives that are happening or holding us back, and in doing so brings out the supportive nature in each of us. Basically, it’s a massive love bubble and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
As always, I LOVE YOU ALL!!