n. 1. A beginning; a start.
“Every ending is also a beginning. That is why they call graduation commencement.”
Michael K. 2013 Aligned Flow 200 Hour Teacher Training Graduate
The above is just one of the quotables from the past 6 months in teacher training. Many more of these quotes were printed out and sewn into a giant blanket that is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. This weekend was the official closing of the training. That means 200 hours of training plus countless more of practice teaching, studying and homework outside of class. I was blessed by each and every person who chose to give their energy, time, and resources to this training. I was definitely spoiled with this group of brilliant people, and am genuinely so proud of each one of them that I could burst.
There is something so incredible about the struggle that one willingly subjects oneself to in pursuit of a dream. The decision in each moment to keep going amidst challenges, to pick up, laugh it off and start over, and to stand in the present willing to witness and really see more and more of yourself in order to become more authentic and reflect more light into the world is (a run on sentence, and also) definitely the biggest honor of my job as a yoga instructor. It is unspeakably profound and humbling.
Over the past six months, but especially as I have been wrapping it up over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the process of leading a teacher training. If you love yoga and dare to take on the daunting and, again humbling, practice of teaching other yoga students how to teach yoga, you really need to be able to practice yoga and laugh at yourself. You need to acknowledge all that you don’t know and organize what you do know so that it fits into 200 hours (I know it sounds like a lot, but honestly it’s not), and make it digestible and not overwhelming, yet give them a solid foundation so that they can feel confident going out and standing in front of a room of students sharing their passion which has now also become their business.
Among others here is a list of things involved in a 200 hour teacher training:
1. Teaching your students the postures (asanas) which involves:
A. Teaching an ancient language that no one speaks anymore (Sanskrit), pronouncing it right (AH-sah-na, not ah-SAH-na), and being able to explain what it means.
B. Teaching anatomy in enough depth so students know what you are talking about and can refer to it to understand why these postures are beneficial and make them safe. This involves, of course, another dead language that no one speaks anymore (Latin), which you also want them to understand and pronounce correctly.
C. Alignment Cues. Teachers need to be able to get their students into postures using words. These words should give students the foundation of each posture, offer a safe transition into and out of the pose, protect the risk factors, and allow students a personal experience of the practice, all while instructing breath and not saying too much or too little and throwing some of the ancient languages in. You must also know how to make each posture easier, more difficult, and what the benefits and contraindications are.
D. Adjustments. How to touch people in an helpful (not creepy) way.
2. Pranayama. The breath is central to the practice of yoga. Hopefully you can instruct in a way that encourages students to befriend their breath. From there, you can instruct breathing techniques that cool, heat, balance, still the mind, and either energize or relax the body. These are also in Sanksrit and involve a certain amount of understanding of many other aspects of yoga that are also in Sanskrit: Prana, Nadis, Bandhas, Kumbhakas, Chakras, and Vayus to name a few.
….to be continued.