“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – E. E. Cummings

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – E. E. Cummings

It’s Official, I’m a Yoga Teacher!

It’s Official, I’m a Yoga Teacher!

As you may know, I started a yoga teacher training program in September 2018.  Since I work a full-time job and still wanted to have a life outside work and yoga, I split up my training between the Fall 2018 and the Spring 2019 terms.  The spring term was from April to June, so as of the beginning of this month, I am officially a yoga teacher and it feels great!  This week, I wanted to recap some of my experiences from the second half of the program and let you know what I’m up to now that I’m certified!

It feels like so much has happened since the Spring term started in April, I don’t even know where to start.  I just reread my post about my Reflections on my First Semester of Yoga Teacher Training and all of that still resonates so much, but I now have even more to share. 

I’ll start with my intention for the program, which was to find my voice.  I’m a very reserved person.  When I’m one on one with someone or in a small group of people I’m comfortable with, it’s easy for me to speak up and be outgoing, but in a larger group or with people I don’t know, I’m often very quiet.  Many times, when I’m asked to speak on the spot, my face goes all red even if I am comfortable with what I’m going to say.  It seems silly sometimes but that’s just they way I am.  That’s why my intention for the program was to find my voice; to be confident speaking in front of a group and figure out what I sound like as a teacher.  Everyone has their own style and it’s often different than they would speak if they were just hanging out with a friend.  One challenge I had was that I don’t really “speak like a yogi” in my day to day life because I’m not usually surrounded by people who would resonate with that.  I had to find a balance and find my authentic voice speaking in yogic terms but in a way that feels natural to me.

I knew I had achieved this when I taught a 30-minute demo class as part of my exam.  It felt so good to create a sequence with a theme that meant a lot to me, and then to share it with others and receive great feedback.  That class really helped build my confidence and realize that I can do this.  I have my own style and I still have areas to improve in, but that will come with experience as I go out there and start teaching.

Other things I learned:

I love creating sequences.  Honestly, even after all of the classroom hours were complete, I still didn’t know if I actually wanted to teach yoga.  I would constantly (sometimes within the same day) go between being really excited to graduate and start teaching and thinking that I actually don’t want to teach.  It wasn’t until during the 2-week exam period that I had to teach a 1:1 class to one of my teachers in order to make up some class time that I missed, that I realized I love creating sequences and sharing them.  I lost track of time creating that sequence and was so excited to teach it.  I realized that I am creative but I don’t get to use it as much as I’d like to in my regular day so it was really fun to let that creativity out and find so much joy in it.

I love teaching beginners.  Part of the requirements to graduate is to observe at least 3 classes.  Basically, that means I attend a class and sit in the corner watching how the teacher teaches and taking notes.  I really enjoyed doing this because you can notice a lot more than when you’re actually participating in the class.  One of the classes I observed was a Yoga Basics class and it really inspired me.  I noticed how kind and attentive the teacher was and how much of an impact she made on the students, many of who had very limited experience with yoga.  It was in that moment that I realized I want to teach beginners.  I’m happy to teach flow classes and experienced yogis as well, but I think there is something so special about teaching someone the foundations and helping them connect to their body in a way that they never have before.  This was confirmed today when I taught my first private yoga session to someone who had never done yoga before.  It was so rewarding to be able to work with her, meet her where she was at, tailor the lesson to her needs, and get her feedback throughout.

I found a tribe of the most wonderful, supportive people.  This isn’t necessarily something I learned, but it was by far the most special part of the experience.  Since I had done some of the first modules in the fall, I was a little nervous coming into the spring program after it had already started because I thought the group would have already bonded and I would not be as close with them.  I was so wrong.  They welcomed me with open arms and I felt so comfortable with all of them right from the start.  We went through so much personal growth together and we were very open and honest with each other.  There’s something really special about going on this type of journey with others, it forms a bond between you that I know will last a lifetime.

What’s next?

This is the question I keep getting asked: what am I going to do now that I’m a certified yoga teacher?  I still have a full-time job, but I have decided to try to teach for free at least once or twice a week for the rest of 2019.  I want to gain some experience, try different things, and then come January I will evaluate what I liked the most and go from there.  So far, I have at least one session a week planned until the end of September, so that’s a start!  I will be teaching a friend private yoga weekly until the end of August, and then in September I will be teaching donation-based community classes at 889 every Monday (excluding Labour Day) at 7:45pm.  If you’re interested, I would love to see you there!  I’m also open to doing more private yoga sessions, if you’re in Toronto and that appeals to you, feel free to message me on Instagram or send me an email by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom of the page!

The lesson:

The biggest thing I’ve learned from this experience is that if you have an intuitive nudge, pursue it.  You don’t need to have a plan or have everything figured out.  Following your gut instinct will never lead you astray.  Regardless of how it turns out, you will learn something about yourself, and that’s the best outcome!

If I think back to where I was last year, becoming a yoga teacher was just an idea that I had.  It was around this time last year that I decided to take the first step and sign up for some open houses at different studios near me.  I wasn’t sure why, or what I would do with the certification, but it felt right so I took the leap and I’m so glad that I did!  It’s pretty crazy what can happen in a year if you follow your heart and believe in yourself.  I’m excited to see where this takes me and what I’ll be doing with it by this time next year!

Namaste,

- Alyssa.

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