Yoga teacher training can be challenging, hard and amazing. Last weekend was hard and challenging and left me doubting my abilities. This weekend was amazing, uplifting and nourishing. It left me smiling all weekend.
Saturday we got to the studio and started our day with a share session. We had some heavy things to share like death, relationships and more. There were quite a few tears shed well before 10am but I think everyone felt a sense of relief. Here’s the thing about teacher training…when someone asks you, “how are you?”, you don’t just say “I’m good!”. No, you tell them exactly how you feel, if there are tears behind your eyes you let them go, if there is a smile to share you let it shine bright and if you are just ok you are reminded once again that there are 13 people there for you. It makes you feel incredible.
We started our practice with chanting, we chanted to Shivya to help ease our problems, then to Vishnu for welfare and finally to Durga for victory over obstacles, pain and enemies. We chanted to each 108 times, which is a form of meditation. It’s calming and peaceful to get lost in a chant. After we moved in to a restorative class with body work. We worked the front line of the body, starting with gentle massage before getting deep into the muscles. I think most of us feared it might be another “I Hate You David!” kind of practice but it wasn’t. It felt good and was honestly what I needed. My body needed to be reset and released. It felt incredible. The balls we used for the massage get so deep and take out so many of the knots in my muscles. David reminded us when resting in Savasana that when we come on to the mat we leave our problems behind but when we leave the mat we don’t need to pick them up. We can leave them behind us. I loved his savasana, his words were comforting.
Who you think you are is not who you are.
After lunch we got started on pre-natal yoga. The easiest way to do this is to practice as if you were pregnant. Yes, lots of giggling occurred as we all shoved pillows up our shirts. The most noticeable thing to me was the way in which you are forced to move your legs, as a yoga instructor I’ll definitely be very in tune to this. I certainly left with a new appreciation of the pregnant women in our classes.
After our pre-natal class we went back to basics. We each taught for 10 minutes and went through a basic flow. I taught the cool down and savasana sequences. I felt really comfortable teaching on Saturday, I felt like a real life yoga teacher. I LOVE that. We even taught with music which really helped. I love the impact music can have on yoga. Music can literally change a class…much like it did for our class that afternoon. We were quiet and tired, but David put on some good dance music with a nice beat. We were all instantly uplifted and empowered in our teaching. It was amazing, I love how incredible my fellow teacher trainees are. I really can’t wait to take their classes!
Sunday morning started with David’s Sunday morning public class. Michael was there which always makes me happy and my friend and fellow teacher trainee Emily was next to me. It’s becoming a tradition for us to all practice together on Sunday mornings. The class got going with some beautiful chants and then moved into a flow. David had a killer playlist for us to flow to, a little Aretha Franklin anyone? I felt so good in this class, solid and strong. Emotionally I felt present and in the moment and I KNOW I was smiling the entire time.
After class we painted the chakras. David read aloud to us what each one meant and we painted with watercolors how each one made us feel or what we thought it looked like. Sitting, painting and listening to his story was peaceful. I never take time to just stop and “be”. For that hour, I felt calm. I had nowhere to be, nothing to do and was content. I even surprised myself with my artistic ability! After we put our art on display for everyone to see and talked about how it’s important to spend time being creative. We can use our work in a ton of places like websites, shirts, promotional items and more.
After lunch we spent more time working with pregnancy and yoga. We went through a class for new moms and their babies. It’s amazing how much of a class you can can do with a baby right by your side or in your arms. And then we were re-birthed…
The birthing exercise was interesting yet profound at the same time. We laid on a pile of meditation seats and everyone circled around the person, we each put our hands on the person in the middle to simulate the womb. David talked us through what was happening in the womb, how it can feel safe and warm and can be a place to explore. Over time as the baby grows it becomes harder to move and they rely on other body parts to change position like their hips and shoulders. The person in the “womb” explored the space and tried to move with everyone’s hands on them and pushing back. As David said, the space can feel safe but eventually we must accept the challenge and struggle and leave the space for something new. In this moment, the person in the middle left the womb, in any direction they pleased. They were re-birthed. Someone from the circle caught them, and held them for a moment like they were a mother holding their new baby. Each one of us has a place inside of us made up of complete innocence where we can reconnect with that feeling of being in the mother’s womb. It was really quite an experience, but being caught and held was amazing. The support from the group felt incredibly uplifting.
As we were being re-born the sun began to shine into the studio. The weather had turned from rain and clouds to the most beautiful warm, fall afternoon. We closed out our weekend with a simply amazing activity….I’ll be back tomorrow to share…