Yoga Teacher Training Weekend #8

I spent the final days of 2012 in the yoga studio.  It is hard to believe that only one weekend remains and this journey is coming to an end.  This past weekend involved a lot of work.  We had both our anatomy exam and our philosophy exam and practiced teaching our community classes.

Saturday morning started promptly with our anatomy exam.  I should mention that these so-called tests are not really hard and fast tests.  We can ask as many questions as we want and by the end it’s more of a group test.  We review them as a group and “grade” each other’s papers.  It’s an opportunity to see how much we’ve learned and create a quick reference guide to yoga and anatomy.  I’d casually studied over the last month, 20 minutes or half an hour here or there.  To say I was prepared for anatomy would be an understatement but considering it has every muscle and bone of the body on it I wasn’t really going for 100 on this test.  I was surprised how much I knew and how much of the muscles and their functions I understood.  I think we were all pretty happy when the test was over.

After our test we took class.  David had to sub for one of the instructors so we took that public class which was a level 2/3  class.  It took about 25 minutes for me to feel the burn, I was definitely feeling my lack of workouts over the holiday week but it felt good to stretch and work my body.  When we finally came down to the mat for savasana I was so happy to rest my body and mind.

After lunch we practiced teaching our community classes.  The group of trainees is divided into two groups, one will teach on Saturday and the other on Sunday.  I’m in the Sunday group and was off the hook to teach on Saturday.  We flowed through another class.  After spending another hour and half on the mat my body was sore and tired. We gave the Saturday group feedback on the flow of their class, playlist and teaching.  It’s truly incredible to see how talented my fellow trainees are!

We wrapped up for the day and headed out in anticipation of the snow storm moving into Boston that night.  By Sunday morning we had gotten about 6 inches and it finally felt like winter.  As I rolled out my mat for David’s class on Sunday morning I looked up at the sky lights covered in snow with the sun glinting through.  As I thought, David had an awesome class.  I was sore and tight from all of the yoga on Saturday but as I warmed up my muscles loosened and the soreness from a good workout in my body felt so good.

After David’s class we took our philosophy test.  I loved this test, seriously.  It was so much easier than the anatomy and I was really excited to see how much I knew about yoga and teaching.  I truly learned and absorbed so much about yoga in the last 6 months.

While we were taking the test David called us forward to take our challenge pose photos.  I haven’t mastered my challenge poses yet but I am definitely much closer than I was before.  Before and after photos to come!

Sunday afternoon we practiced teaching our public class.  It was the first time we had run through it as a group I was grateful for the opportunity.  I think we were able to work out a lot of the kinks and I definitely feel more confident in my flow and the class I’m teaching.  My body was happy to be done practicing yoga for the weekend, I was so sore and tired!

We closed out the weekend with something we had all been looking forward to…truffle making!!  We made organic, sugar-free truffles.  The truffles were amazing and it was so much fun to try the different toppings and combinations!! I loved socializing with my peers and relaxing a bit as a way to end the weekend. It was the perfect was to close out a weekend with a lot of work involved.


For those in the Boston area, I’ll be teaching a community class on Sunday January 13th from 2 to 3:30pm!  It is a beginner flow with an awesome playlist.  We are asking for a $5 donation which will go to buildOn, an organization whose after school youth service programs mobilize urban teens to lift up their communities and change the world through intensive local community service and by building schools in some of the poorest countries on the planet. buildOn has built over 500 schools in Africa, Asia, and Central America. In addition, 95% of students who attend buildOn after school programs go to college.  I’d love to see you all there!


Can you believe this journey is coming to an end? Will you be attending my community class?


Yoga Teacher Training Weekend #7

I love marathons, I love training for them and the excitement building up to them….until about a month from race day.  That’s usually about the point where I just want race day to come, finish another marathon and get my weekends back.  I’ve reached that point with teacher training.  I’m ready to be a certified yoga instructor, to take a break from self-reflection and I’m so ready to have my weekends back.

Needless to say when Saturday morning rolled around I wasn’t thrilled to be heading to the studio.  We started with pranayama (breath work) before diving right into our practice.  I was all up in my head and really struggling to connect with my breath and settle in.  As we shifted to our practice David came over to adjust me, he took one look at me and was like, “what’s going on? I can tell you are all in your head.  You need to shift into your body”.  I told him I couldn’t because if I did it would be a bad day.  Note to self: that is not right the thing to say.  Then David made me repeat after him, “If I move into my body, today will be a good day.  If I stay in my mind, today will be a bad day.” I repeated after him and as I did the tears streamed down my face.  Yep, I’d been feeling emotions and struggling with them all week.  I knew they’d break lose in teacher training and I was trying my hardest to keep that from happening.  

As soon as I shifted into my body I began to connect with my breath.  The practice felt more natural and less forced.  We moved slowly through a hip opening practice and it actually seemed easier than it had in the past.  When we finally came down into savasana I was happy to be connected to the mat and grateful for my open hips.


After class we came together in a circle to share where we are.  So many of my fellow trainees felt like they were in a good place, feeling grounded and grateful for the experience.  Many were making peace with their challenges and some had even found it.  I on the other hand felt like I was struggling with the changes happening.  I’ve been so overwhelmed lately.  Work, training, the holidays, it’s all piled up on me and when I look at the calendar I don’t see a break.  In October and early November I felt as if I’d found my stride.  Enough activities to keep me happy and busy but never too busy.  There always seemed to be a little me time.  But now, that’s not the case.  And with so much going on, I’ve even managed to overwhelm Michael.  I KNOW the right choice is to slow down, to enjoy the moments life gives me.  The right choice is to make time to enjoy the simple things in life; a nice meal, a good conversation with a friend, a good book and time to just be.  To-do lists, and goals don’t always make you happy.  Even though I know I’m making the right choice I couldn’t help but feel that I was losing part of myself.  I’ve always been this Type A person, who says yes to everything.  I’ve always been the person who takes on too much but always succeeds.  Saying no and slowing down is HARD- I was feeling like if I did I’d never accomplish my goals and dreams.  And with so much happening right now I felt torn between my old habits and my new habits.  A huge part of me just wants to Type A everything and figure out a way to get it all done to the best of my ability but then the new habits kick in, they remind me to slow down, pace myself and do what I can just not everything.  I’ve been feeling stuck.  But David reminded me that I am making the right choice and that doesn’t mean I won’t accomplish my hopes and dreams.  It just means I’ll just get there a little slower, it means I’ll enjoy the process and journey more.  It was the reminder I needed and the words I needed to hear to move out of the in-between.

After lunch we reviewed the poses.  When we do this we go through the sanskrit names, the adjustments and cueing for each pose.  Then we continued on with our review of yoga in preparation for our upcoming exams.  We closed out the afternoon by teaching.  I taught abs, and struggled through them.  Teaching abs is hard!  Thankfully, Tim (our instructor) stepped in with some advice.  As soon as I had a better idea of how to teach them it was much better.  Then I moved on to teaching backbends, something I’m far more familiar with and did well if I do say so myself.



Instead of taking David’s class on Sunday morning I assisted.  Part of me was bummed to miss out on the practice but assisting some classes is part of our training and I knew it would be good for me.  As soon as the class started I realized that assisting wasn’t so bad.  I was a part of the class and was able to help practitioners deepen their practice.  Assisting is not easy and I learned that sometimes the best assist is to just to witness the class.

We continued our review of the poses to close out the morning.  David switched it up today and we demoed the poses.  I was able to demo dandasana prep, a pose I’ve been working on since August.  I even kicked up into handstand! I seriously love getting into challenging poses!

After we broke for lunch we continued on with our review. We covered anatomy.  We went through the muscles of the arms and hands.  We’ve finally reviewed the whole body and I definitely need to spend some time studying before our exam.

We closed the weekend by teaching our final class as a group.  We each taught for 5 minutes and adjusted for 10 minutes.  It was a challenging class but filled with some amazing restorative poses to close out the practice.  Our group of trainees is incredible, everyone is really an amazing teacher!

We have 2 more weekends to go before we are done with training.  Next time we will take our exams and prepare to teach our public classes.  Our final weekend we teach a public class before we graduate! It is hard to believe I’m almost at the end of this journey!

Have you ever been stuck between old and new habits? What are your favorite challenging poses to get into?