Advanced Yoga, Living with intention, My YTT

Endings as beginnings

I completed my teacher training last month, and have since been hired by the local YMCA (my “yoga home”) to substitute teach yoga. This past weekend I taught two classes back-to-back, and it felt significant. Sure, physically it was demanding, and I loved that part. But beyond that, teaching beyond a peer group, beyond a beginner class, felt like I had finally graduated to Teacher. Funny, though. You’d think this would mean my journey as Student has ended, my 200 hour training HAS ended… but this is just a start. The first page in a new chapter on this journey. Sunrise/sunset, inhale/exhale, open/close… there is no end. It’s humbling and inspiring at the same time.

Advanced Yoga, Books about yoga

Letting go of assumptions, making triangles (Pigeon as a triangle)

Instagram, TV, and advertising sometimes show images of advanced yoga practitioners in difficult poses. Lithe, bendy people, smiling in the sun, backs arched gracefully, wearing white unitards. The common representation of yoga is that anyone who practices or is successful at practice has a ballerina build. It is unfortunate, because it gives the general population the impression that you have to be in peak physical shape with 6% body fat to do yoga. This is SO not the case.

Example: This morning’s class was mixed level, leaning to advanced. We worked up to camel and then up to this:

(Beautiful photo of Pigeon pose from page 119 of Hatha Yoga Illustrated, by Martin Kirk, Brooke Boon, and Daniel DiTuro. Photos by Daniel DiTuro).

But here’s the thing.

There might have been twenty students in that class. We all had our own variation of Pigeon going on. And THAT is yoga.

You start where you are at the time you are practicing. You breathe and make shapes with your body. I have never before thought of Pigeon as a triangle before looking it up in this book, but now that I am more interested in the building of a pose more than before, I see it. We were all working towards this beautiful triangle. Not to be confused with actual Triangle pose! That is a post for another day.

Anyhow. A fellow student asked, “is this a pose that you would be unable to do if you have a large body?” (I am paraphrasing. What she said also covered people who might generally be considered overweight).

Our teacher affirmed that there are different bodies but we all have ways to get there, and it is more individual body mechanics than anything to do with the size of body.

In all honesty, had I been shown the picture above, I don’t think I would have thought I could come close to Pigeon as pictured. However, with the right guidance, being led into it, I’m proud of how far I made it. (NOT pictured – hahaha).

So here I am, working to let go of assumptions and expectations. Thinking about triangles. And cooking dinner all at the same time. Gotta get everything ready so I can attend tonight’s YTT class!

Advanced Yoga, My YTT

I’m doing it

I said “yes” and I am doing yoga teacher training, beginning this month. I have even launched a Go Fund Me campaign.

I should be folding laundry, but instead I wanted to outline what this version of YTT (yoga teacher training) is, and where your donation is going. Warning, this is super long.

Honestly, I did not know how intense the academic, scientific, and interpersonal a ground-floor, 200 hour YTT is until this weekend, when I attended an open house with three of the experts/teachers (two of them with advanced degrees in anatomy and nursing).
The program is approved by the National Yoga Alliance*
It is a 27 week program.
Residence requirements:
7 weekend intensives. All day, Sat/Sun, with the cohort and teachers at Premier Yoga.
27 meetings (weekly) with the cohort and teachers.
25 hours of weekly contact yoga classes.**
6 private sessions with experts in the field, broadly construed.
10 hours of teaching practicum
6 written homework assignments (one per month)
Weekly reading – required books and manuals will be provided, additional materials and books may be recommended. Not sure how many pages. We’ll see.
1 45 minute teaching session with the cohort. This seems like the dissertation defense part.
Testing – more on this when I get there!
Training and coursework are in anatomy, teaching, all of the asanas (that is the physical part of yoga practice), diet and nutrition, Ayuverdic medicine, breathing, all of the things you have heard about yoga plus a lot more that I will learn about as I go.
So. This is where donations go. To pay the faculty, to pay for the space. Nobody is really profitting from this, beyond making enough to get by.
When I have completed the program and pass the test, by the end of October 2018, I will be certified as a real yoga teacher.
If you have read all this, thank you. If you are able to contribute to this cause, thank you! If you have already supported me here or out in the world, you know how much I appreciate you.
Love, Sarah
** I already take 2-3 hours of yoga classes per week, so this expense does not factor in above the tuition