What a journey it has been so far.
If I wait for any more major milestone to come up before I internalize and commit this to memory, I’m going to end up like a shaken cola bottle of emotions spewing incoherence all over the place. So here is my attempt.
First time I heard of yoga teachers training in Treehouse
Not going to lie – the moment I heard of yoga teachers training (YTT) in Treehouse I wanted to do it. I felt excitement. I thought to myself “this is something I can do”; “I want to do this!”.
Over time, I had to reel that enthusiasm back in and carefully consider my circumstance. Initially, I’ve been wanting to do teachers training not so much to teach but to deepen my knowledge and appreciation of yoga.
Yoga is the only physical activity that I have managed to consistently do over the years. My first taste of it was during my college years (probably pre-2000s), so it has been a long time. Of course there would be years when I didn’t practice at all, but somehow, some way, I end up finding myself back on the mat and loving it all over again (in spite of your skill level almost always going back to zero after a long absence).
YTT felt like a nudge from the universe. This YTT was close to me – it was the first time that Whitespace Wellness was conducting it in the south – in Treehouse, no less! It was going to be when my kid has her summer vacation – I have the time! Plus, I have household help, for a change. My usual dilemmas weren’t issues for the first time.
Some Treehouse teachers also unexpectedly took time to chat me through their own experience and what I can expect from YTT. The sincere goodness caught me off guard, and honestly, I think it helped seal the deal.
One teacher told me I can’t wait until I’m 100 percent ready because that time will never come. I should do it if I already considered the thought. I think it’s sound advice.
My Yoga Teachers Training experience
I decided to hold off on as much questions as to what it is really like from my teachers. I decided to plunge into this experience with as little preconceived notions and expectations as possible. I was going to keep an open mind and just take it all in like a sponge.
I didn’t expect it to be tough and feeling too close like school, particularly the parts about school that I detest. It was all new and I felt bombarded with information and details, and I felt like an idiot at times, and was afraid my classmates would sniff me out as the weak link, and that made me just retreat to myself and be miserable.
I didn’t expect to be learning and be quizzed about bones and muscles. And now that that part is done, I honestly didn’t expect to retain some knowledge from all of that.
Ashtanga namaskar and high lunge taken by classmates as we assess and correct each other’s postures. Buddy teaching is a big part of YTT.
I can be unbelievably thin skinned when it comes to critiques, so I also surprised myself practicing acceptance in our buddy teaching exercises, instead of squirming in defensiveness outside but lashing out on the inside.
I didn’t expect to want so bad to be good at this training thing and come out victorious that it made me seethe inside. When I spotted that, I didn’t expect to be able to bounce back and be let in the circle again.
I struggled and then I relaxed. It really took me for a ride, and I am immensely proud to have finished the first half. So yes, I still have a certificate to chase, but I can already tell I will be able to finish this course and see it through. Yoga must really love me back, too.
I never expected at all for YTT to cost an arm and a leg, and then some.
I never imagined my last remaining savings from years of poring over websites and news clips to prepare research for foreign quasi-journalists, and preparing their topic outlines and interview questions to make them sound impressively legit, will all be funnelled to this. I am proud to embark on this endeavour without anyone’s help, but I also feel a little naked.
This also isn’t quite a drawback as much as a bit of an inconvenience – but I found myself pregnant in the middle of the course. It accounted for the temporary madness and the mood swings, certainly, but now instead of being able to take my sweet time in completing the requirements and just enjoying the process, I do have to expedite a bit until I find myself too big to do a chaturanga or just too pregnant to be an effective teacher. As it is, I have less stamina.
I’m not sure if it qualifies as a drawback also, but teaching is an inevitability now and less of a consideration. I am not on a mission to ‘gain back what I invested’, but the feeling is akin to wearing new shoes and wanting to be comfy and sure-footed before running in them. And I want to be able to sprint in this thing.
Teaching is part and parcel of YTT otherwise it would have been just some kind of educational retreat slash workshop. And since I have been doing it for a while, albeit clumsily and amateurishly, I feel the need to constantly improve and be worthy of the title “teacher”. In effect – has YTT turned me into a kind of obsessive-compulsive??!
Going into teaching
Oh, man. Never had I considered myself a teacher or having the capacity to be one. I never had thoughts or the inclination to teach anything. I am too intimidated, so it’s a bit of a shock to find myself here.
Maybe it’s a good thing – to see that mat in the front-centre of the room as an intimidating space. A kind of space that will only let you in once you shed doubts and insecurities you have with you, and will only accept you with your “A” game on.
Today was the first time I crafted a sequence for a class. I was briefed that the participants were mostly new to yoga and have not been physically active much either. I reviewed my favourite Popsugar Fitness yoga videos, checking sequences that were mostly stress-busting and beginner friendly. I cross checked what I had with what was in our manual.
While it’s true (turns out) that you get a better grip of a sequence that you made yourself rather than committing to a sequence handed to you to memory, it doesn’t make teaching any less difficult. It’s also true what our teacher advised about not being too attached to our sequences – to be a good teacher is to be attuned with your students, and being attuned to your students means being ready to turn that carefully prepared sequence into chopsuey at any given time.
My first ever clients! (OMG!) A friend hooked me up with her friends from Azure Urban Resort Residences. It’s my first time to teach outside of Treehouse, and for a fee. There’s a lot to chalk up to experience, but I am so grateful for the truly invaluable experience. Hope to encounter these ladies and gent again. First two photos courtesy of @jenipurr_
I hope to constantly improve on that intuition, that ability to read group energy and adjust to what the situation calls for accordingly. I want to be able to reach that place where I am satisfied and happy with my own teaching (because today I think I just get a passing grade).
A new yoga teacher
I am a newbie yoga teacher, still wrestling with self doubt, clunky with her left and right orientation, and has a tendency to dwell on mistakes and areas of improvement. I am still working on finding my voice. I am wobbly but quick on the pick up, and I promise to always do my best.
My own practice has never been that strong; I still can’t do the crow pose, amongst other things. It was also a tiny bit frustrating to find myself pregnant while I was raring to kickstart yoga teaching and immersing myself in the practice.
The learning never stops, cliche as it may sound, and teaching while pregnant is possible. I finally got around to do something for myself, going ‘back to school’, and trying to learn and do something new. I took care of me this summer. It feels like an achievement. The proud look on my daughter’s face when I do my thing? Even better. That, I get to keep forever as I tread this journey.