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My Journey to Becoming a Yoga Teacher: Yoga Teacher Training Weekend 1

becoming a yoga teacher- Jessica LawlorI’m fulfilling my goal and dream of becoming a yoga teacher. As promised, I plan to document my yoga teacher training journey here on the blog, mostly for myself, but also because many of you have expressed interest in learning about the process.

Have any questions about yoga or teacher training? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer them in an upcoming post!

Yoga Teacher Training Weekend 1 Recap

Saturday:

On Saturday, I arrived at the yoga studio thirty minutes early, super nervous, but excited.

In the beginning of the day, we sat in a circle and introduced ourselves to one another and talked about what drew us to yoga and teacher training. It was so inspiring to hear the stories of 17 other amazing people who chose to be on this same journey. We also got to know our two teachers Lisa and Rachel a bit better.

On Saturday, we spent the day in more of a classroom setting learning about the history of yoga, including its roots and the eight-limb path of yoga. I took pages of notes as we went through PowerPoint slides and discussed some of the readings we did before training began.

We also spent time completing a journal entry. I write all the time for work and here on this blog, but HANDWRITING in an actual journal was a big challenge for me. I’m not used to free-flow writing without editing or rereading something a million times to make sure it’s perfect.

The journal prompt was: What is yoga to you and what do you hope to get out of this training?

Here’s some of what I wrote:

I find this such a challenging question to answer. Yoga started out for me as a form of fitness, but has morphed into truly so much more. Yoga quiets my mind. It helps me be more at peace with myself. It helps me focus on a singular task when in my personal world, I’m often multi-tasking. Yoga makes me feel strong. Physically, of course…I’m amazed at all my body can do. But also mentally and emotionally strong. It gives me confidence I’ve been able to bring to other areas of my life. It has truly changed me for the better.

One thing that surprised me was that we didn’t do ANY yoga on Saturday! I don’t know why I thought we would necessarily, but we spent the full six hours completely immersed in learning, history and discussion. I was amazed at how quickly the day went by and how much information we took in.

The last thing we did on Saturday was learn how to cue the pose Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Prior to teacher training, I thought Tadasana literally meant standing tall at the top of the mat, but after being handed a PAGE full of cues, I had a serious awakening and realized just how much thought, effort and breath goes into every single asana (pose) in yoga. We spent the last part of class in small groups teaching one other Tadasana.

Sunday:

learning how to cue Sun A
Learning how to cue Sun Salutation A! So much more challenging than I ever thought.

On Sunday, we jumped right into teaching! We learned how to cue Sun Salutations (both A and B), which are designed to warm up the body and generate internal fire at the beginning of a class.

I’ve done Sun Salutations literally hundreds, if not thousands of times in yoga class, but actually saying the words out loud was a completely different story. I felt so uncomfortable as I fumbled over words I’ve heard said over and over again.

We got in small groups and learned how to cue Sun A and Sun B in both English and Sanskrit. Obviously, English proved to be much easier and felt more natural, but saying the Sanskrit words out loud helped me feel more comfortable with them, too.

Even though I felt nervous and a little uncomfortable as I cued the sequence, I also found myself super excited to *actually* be teaching! It felt really good and gave me a little boost of confidence that I CAN do this.

While we were in these small groups, we also learned how to assist and adjust to help people do Sun As and Sun Bs more correctly. In our groups of three, one person was the teacher, one assisted and one person was the student. Sunday was obviously A LOT more physical as we did several rounds of Sun As and Sun Bs…I was definitely sore afterward!

Major Takeaways/Lessons Learned From Weekend 1

  • We talked briefly about Ahimsa, one of the Yamas, which translates to “non-violence.” Our teachers explained that Ahimsa is one of the main reasons why so many yogis choose to be vegetarian or vegan. As a meat-loving lady, the thought of even *considering* ever giving up meat never crossed my mind, but after this short discussion, I found myself interested in further exploring the topic and perhaps challenging myself to choose non-meat options when possible.
  • Even in just learning the complete breakdown of Tadasana (a pose I barely even thought of as a pose before), I realized how much correcting of my personal practice I’ll definitely be doing throughout teacher training. We haven’t broken down Downward Facing Dog fully yet, but even a couple of things my teacher told us this weekend made me realize I have a long ways to go to fully do certain poses correctly. This is certainly a humbling feeling, but I’m pumped to have this new knowledge to move forward and make my personal practice stronger.
  • Breathing is a major part of yoga, so naturally we spent a lot of time discussing it. Something that Rachel shared that really stuck with me was the idea that breath is both voluntary and involuntary. Obviously, without thinking, our hearts continue to pump and we breathe. But also, we can make breathing a conscious activity and be aware of it and change it in different ways, too. I thought this was a beautiful metaphor for life- the idea that we can breathe without any effort…but we can also put in effort too.
  • Learning about anatomy is definitely going to be one of my biggest challenges to overcome throughout teacher training. Anatomy is SO important, especially when teaching others, but looking at diagrams and photos of the body just confuses me. I’ve never been strong when it comes to the sciences, so I know that anatomy is something I’m going to need to spend a lot of extra time studying on my own.
  • I can’t wait to get to know the people in my teacher training better! These people GET ME. We are all passionate about the same things and share a love for yoga. The environment was SO supportive, non-judgemental and encouraging. We’re all in a Facebook group together where we’ve continued the support and discussion and this makes me even more excited to spend time with this group again for the next several weeks!

I’ve never felt so sure that I’m doing the right thing as I feel with teacher training. It feels GOOD to make focusing on myself…focusing on THIS, making it my priority. I know I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.

Number of Yoga Classes Taken Since Weekend 1:

As part of my teacher training certification, I need to complete 60 classes by the end of June.

I’ve taken 9 classes since the end of teacher training weekend 1. 51 classes to go!

Teacher Training Weekend 2 is this weekend! Can’t wait to continue learning and exploring. Have any questions? Leave them below!

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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