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.

Living with intention, My YTT, Yoga off the mat

Teacher Training Completed. What’s next?

I passed my final yoga teacher training exam this past Saturday. I studied my sit bones off and that showed in my grade. I’ve become a more calm teacher with experience, and I’m ready to register with Yoga Alliance.

Just about every person I’ve encountered since graduating from my YTT program has greeted me the same way: “Congratulations! What’s next?”

Well isn’t that the million dollar, or perhaps I should say, two hundred hour question.

I have a lot of thoughts and ideas, lined up like the birds on the wires here in this photo I took this morning. But who knows when the ideas will lift and take flight, which will flourish, which will stick.

My best answer today, merely hours out of the program, is as follows.

I will continue to practice. I will teach when I can, as much as I can. I will live yoga. There isn’t a set path, it isn’t a linear process. We shall see! I promise I will continue to share yoga forever. And I know. I sound like a certified hippie. But this is where I’m at today.

Thank you to everyone has helped me get here. For now, stay tuned! Let’s put our legs up the wall, tune into our breath, and see where that takes us.

My yoga teacher said..., My YTT, Yoga for non-yoga people, Yoga on The Farm

You are right where you need to be

When I decided I wanted to teach yoga, I was unsure what that would look like. I knew the population I wanted to reach: “non-yoga people.” People who might not set foot in a yoga studio, or those in recovery, those who need healing.

I am nearly finished with my 200 hour yoga training, and I keep hearing my mentor’s voice in my head: “You are right where you need to be. Always stay true to yourself, because there are people out there that need what you have to offer.”

I have a small group of loyal, dedicated students who have been with me on this journey. These include one who have offered me their land to practice and teach on, one who has pledged to be a student for life and thinks I should open my own studio, and one who admits to not liking group exercise classes at all but loving my yoga classes. They all keep coming back.

My exam to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training is coming up on October 20, 2018. This has been a voyage unlike any other. I am eternally grateful for my teachers, my peers in training, and my students. I still don’t know exactly what me being a yoga teacher will look like, but I’m pretty sure I am right where I need to be.

My YTT, Yoga on The Farm

Flexibility required, but not for asanas

Teaching yoga on a farm poses a unique set of challenges. Are the chickens cooped? Can’t set up there because of ants. The cat is under me in DFD, or he’s eating fresh kill (usually a bird) three feet from a student’s head during savasana. You’ve got to assess the surroundings before setting up, and let go of expectations. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This morning I taught my fifth class on the Farm at Rush Creek. Aside from my Bluetooth speaker not working (I thought it was charged!) it was another fantastic practice. What began as a toe dip in teaching yoga outdoors has grown into a passion. I am so grateful for my friends who have joined me to practice teaching, despite the heat, humidity, and early start time. We even practiced in the rain once, and only had to cancel class due to thunderstorms and soggy ground once.

I’m eager to continue teaching on the farm as the seasons change. We’ve got classes for September and October on the books. Contact me if you’re interested in joining us!

My YTT, Yoga on The Farm

Learning to stand

I taught my first public yoga class this past weekend, on the farm! It was early, not too hot, and just the right amount of “roughing it.” I had six attendees, including my friend J (a fellow student in my yoga teacher training program) who helped me set up and break down.

If reading about yoga bores you to tears, I will only say this: It was awesome! We had a ton of fun. My nerves melted away once we got started, and the environment was delightful and inspiring, and I can’t wait until the next class! If you would compare the concept of sea legs to “yoga legs,” I think I’m developing my yoga teaching legs. I’m learning to stand!

If you’re at all interested in yoga…

We started with a seated warm-up, then a slow puppy pose to a safely aligned Downward Facing Dog, then up to Tadasana (aka Mountain Pose). We learned a sequence I’d call the Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) “spin.” When we peaked at a squat, aka Malasana, I talked about how we have unlearned the squat in daily life. If you’ve spent any time around developing cultures, you have seen a lot of squatting. People squat to eat, to play cards, to complete their bodily functions (aka number II). Here I realized the focus of the class was not really to learn to get to that peak pose, to squat. The focus of the practice was to learn to stand. Have you ever heard of the four corners of the feet? In yoga we use the four corners to ground ourselves, to anchor ourselves for balance in life and in asanas/poses. Early in the class I \ talked about the four corners, and continued to reference them and rely on them throughout the sequence of asanas.

We build our poses, our bodies, from the ground up. I’m starting my yoga teaching career from the ground up. Four corners of the feet. Grounding. Mountain Pose. Malasana. Learning to stand.

My YTT, Pondering

Early summer

We are in that sweet spot of summer here in Texas, where it is hot but not too hot; in fact, mornings are downright gorgeous. Everything is green and happy, kids are out of school… it feels so fresh. Early summer. I am starting to think of this as an entirely different season than the deep, scorching summers we endure in our part of the south.

I am deep in yoga teacher training and, as hippie dippy as this sounds, it feels like I am in early summer in terms of the seasons in life. I am green and happy, soaking it all in, just growing and starting to really root in.

I am teaching my first real yoga class this coming Saturday, and I am but a seedling.

Home yoga practice, Music and yoga, My YTT

Singing can be yoga

We had our May YTT intensive this past weekend. We sang a lot. We learned a ton. So, so much.

Just this morning, while doing laundry, I found myself singing while meditatively folding my family’s clothing into stacked bundles. I decided to go with it, and after singing / folding for about ten minutes, I found I’d worked up quite a bit of heat.

When I finished, I drank a glass of water and my two year-old and I shared a pear. These simple things felt like a full, gratifying morning.

Sometimes yoga is something other than a “workout.” Sometimes it is sitting with friends and and connecting by singing. Sometimes it is doing something for you, even while conducting the most commonplace tasks in life. Whistling while you work, so to speak.

“Don’t worry about how well you carry a tune or whether you know all the words… Come. Sing along. You’ll have the time of your life.” Melody Beattie,”Journey to the Heart,” page 147.