Yesterday concluded my fourth weekend of Yoga Teacher Training. That means I’m halfway through. NUTS!
I thought I’d share a little bit more about how it’s going and what I’ve learned. I know that before I registered for YTT I was so curious as to what it’d actually be like. Keep in mind that each teacher training is different, aside from the basic 200 hour requirement for Yoga Alliance that most adhere to. Mine is Baptiste Yoga based, so look for a training at a Baptiste style studio if you dig the stuff I share. If you’re local to St. Louis, check out Metro Power Yoga!
What Yoga Teacher Training Is Like
One of the biggest components in my Baptiste style training is the focus on personal growth. The theory is that in order to teach a powerful and empowering yoga class, you have to be in your own power. That means confident, free from whatever holds you back from your full potential, clear in your intentions and focused on your True North. Lots of the terms and phrases we use come from Baron’s books, my favorite being Being of Power: The 9 Practices to Ignite an Empowered Life.
We started each day with a “check in” where we share how we are feeling. Usually just two words – I’m feeling excited and energized or I’m feeling distracted and anxious, etc. No judgment.
We all share what’s going on in our lives too — we’ve taken pledges of confidentiality so we feel comfortable — so we can really SEE and SUPPORT each other. At the beginning people were a little timid and shy, but slowly everyone has opened up and now we’ve shared things with each other that we’ve never shared with anyone (myself included!) I crave those check-ins now because it’s a time to vent, get advice, and work out what’s in my head.
The growth going on is crazy. I’ve reshaped my thoughts, viewed things differently, gotten deep and clear about my road blocks, and been so, so vulnerable. It’s really so amazing and beautiful the way we openly share our fears, struggles, and worries — but also our successes and happiness. My yogi classmates are all SUCH different people, but we have become so close.
Learning About Yoga
We have learned about the history and progression of yoga, which is quite complicated and convoluted, including discussion of what yoga originally was (it wasn’t a physical workout.) Yoga means “unity”, “union”, or “to unite.” It’s a state of being as well as techniques to practice. It’s NOT a religion and hasnt conflicted with my Christianity at all. ‘t’s nearly impossible to define what yoga “is,” and I would do (am doing!) a terrible job if I tried.
We read the Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation and learn The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, both ancient texts that greatly influence the practice of yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas that I’ve written about before come from the Yoga Sutras.
We talk about different styles of yoga and learn some basic sanskrit.
Learning About Baptiste Yoga
Baptiste Yoga is amazing. Obviously I’m biased because it’s my chosen style of practice, but I just think it’s so, so powerful. It’s about being your best physical self, but also your best spiritual self. The three main components of Baptiste Yoga are physical asanas, meditation, and self inquiry.
Baron has studied with nearly all of the recent yoga “masters” and incorporated all he learned into a practice that he believes is accessible and empowering to all people. His five pillars include breath (ujjayi), foundation (udiayana bandha), focus (drishti), heat (tapas), and flow (vinyasa). What I really like about Baptiste Yoga is that while Baron shares his personal mythology, he acknowledges that it is just one way and not necessarily the right way
We meditate each day, practicing and learning about different styles. Just this past weekend I got to lead meditation from the first time and it was so great!! I did a body scan style of meditation because it’s my personal favorite.
The original purpose of physical asanas was to prepare the body and mind to sit in meditation for long periods of time. Obviously now there are other benefits to physical practice too, but when you hear that savasana is the most important pose of yoga that is what is being referred to — the stillness and meditation is the goal.
Learning To Teach!
Oh, that part! Yes, obviously we are learning to teach as well. And it’s hard!!
The style of yoga we are learning to teach is the Baptiste Journey Into Power sequence with True North Alignment. We start practice teaching just a few poses at a time and give each other feedback afterward in a “Keep..Stop…Start” method. We focus a lot on point-to-point essential language so that our instruction is clear and concise. For example: “Right foot to right hand” instead of “Gently bring your foot forward.” (Which foot? How far forward?)
We also discuss the power of language, how to read a room, and how to modify poses. We learn how to assist (which takes strength!!!), how to ensure safety, and how to create a comfortable and empowering space.
My training includes 15-20 hours of anatomy instruction which I love!! The medical school nerd in me is so excited for my classmates to learn the intricacy of the body and see how much it changes and expands their practice.
Once we get comfortable with teaching the sequence, we start to infuse our own personality and creativity. That’s the fun part! I’m just now getting to this place and it brings me so much JOY.
ALRIGHT. That ended up being a much bigger post than I had expected!! I hope it helped fill you in on all that my 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training entails. Email me if you have any questions!!