My woke experiences from Yoga Teacher Training.
Written by Audrey Scharf
Before I completed my yoga teacher training early last year, I had mixed feelings about becoming a certified ‘Yoga Teacher’.
Majority of my interest in pursuing YTT was to further enhance my practice, to learn and to develop physical poses and have an understanding of the knowledge behind Yoga. A secret dream of mine is to be able to teach yoga to young children and teenagers, sharing the gift of how good your mind and body can feel through yoga practice.
In early 2018, I completed my first 200hr YTT. On the first day, we all arrived on an early Sunday morning barely knowing anyone around us, but by the end of the second day- we were a sisterhood, inseparable and strong – with a healthy dose of tears shed along the way.
The way the sisterhood occurred? We all broke down. We were instructed to bring a journal, and the first question we were asked to answer was ‘Why are you here?’ A question that really made us think.
What concerns did we have with ourselves and in our lives? What breakthroughs were we committed to?
I had not thought about any of this, I knew there were going to be aspects of self-development, but to declare a breakthrough? I was not ready, but there was something really powerful in it too. We had to be vulnerable, with ourselves and one another. We had to care for ourselves and one another, providing a safe space for everyone to share their thoughts and feelings with the freedom to cry.
The two-week immersion was life changing. I learnt so much, and most importantly, I learnt a lot about myself. The day started with an impromptu movement/dance class by a student, followed by a guided meditation from our teacher (my favourite ones were read from ‘a course in miracles’).
Then we would move to learning about belief systems and the development and principles of Yoga. After a quick snack, we moved into a 2-3 hour Asana (physical) practice that had a new theme everyday. One day we had to hold the block at all times. It frustrated me; I struggled using the block in my hands all the time. Others loved it. I suppose it’s the way we see and interpret things. I was obviously frustrated with something.
After lunch we would come back and practice teaching, practice handstands; see who could hum the loudest ‘Om’. Our teacher read our minds, facial expressions and bodies everyday. Some days our training went for 11 hours, some days 8. Our bodies were slowly becoming sore, but toned and strong. The skin on our faces began to change- we started glowing. The vibrations in our body were at another level, we felt so free and so happy.
We learnt how important it is to listen to your breath, as it will help you move not only but in yoga, it will help you move through life. We learnt the importance of assisting others when teaching a class to students; you ground yourself to allow someone else to lean in on.
As the 200 hours went by, the metaphors of yoga practice began to sink in. Things showed up in class for each individual student on different days and as the days went by we all accepted our own internal conflicts, becoming stronger than the day before.
Some days my head was screaming inside and I wanted to give up, but as the hours of the practice went on I found a new and great appreciation for my body and myself. I was afraid my legs were going to give up as I had had an accident in March 2017, but my legs stayed strong as my head stayed strong.
Here are the 10 most important take-aways from my YTT:
1) I am loveable, I am enough. If you say that a few times, it starts to stick in and you will believe it.
2) Don’t spend your time teaching a class proving something you’re not: Don’t spend your life proving something you’re not.
3) Understand that not everything is about you. A student’s facial reaction or effort has no personal relation to you.
4) What other people think of you is none of your business.
5) Learn your chakras.
6) Drink lots of water. Always. Everyday.
7) Manage the time of your class and always run on time. Have integrity for your students. Have integrity for the important people in your life.
8) There is a movement happening around ignoring how we feel and wearing a mask. Don’t wear a mask and encourage others to not wear one.
9) There is an intrinsic link between fears and beliefs. Notice this, change your beliefs.
10) Leave students in their own greatness: Leave people in their own greatness.
When practicing yoga, you have to be vulnerable. You’re balancing, wobbling and trusting yourself. You’re guiding your body as you twist and turn yourself into a cosmic pretzel.
I was recently listening to a podcast where two girls were having a conversation and one said to the other ‘yeah it’s cool how being vulnerable and honest are so in right now’ - I think that is a good reminder that neither being vulnerable or honest are ‘in’ they are two things that you should have with you at all times and are two very important things to guide you through this day to day thing called life. Be honest with yourself and others, always.
If you are interested in completing your YTT, please feel free to reach out to me, as it’s something I highly recommend, even if you do not plan on being a Yoga Teacher. I currently live in Melbourne where we are spoilt for choice. As I’m currently not teaching in studios I would be more than happy to recommend these great yoga teachers that I love, and love going to their practice:
@reneecanzoneri (Renee)-now based in L.A, Taught me my YTT, runs amazing retreats and knows what to say in a class (especially in Morocco ;-) )
@claudiawareham (founder of new State of Salt yoga) and teaches at @yoga213.
@maudleger (found at @gertrudestreetyoga)
Check out @vinny.yoga – the go-to IG for the best teachers and classes near you.