The teacher training journey…part 2

This week I hit the six month mark of my yoga teacher training (albeit with a two month break over Christmas). So what better time to check in and reflect on how it’s been going, and where I feel I’m headed?

In a word: intense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving every minute of it, but it feels like after the Christmas break, everything amped up a notch. Though that could just be me, seeing as I’m feeling that way about a lot of things in my life at the moment! I’m slowly learning how to be gentle with myself. Missed a practice? Just get back on the mat tomorrow. Or the day after. 🙂

Everything is starting to click and make sense. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of basic yoga philosophy before I started the course, but applying it to my practice and my life off the mat was harder. Anatomy scared the pants off me. However! I feel like I’m finally starting to get my head around it. Taking the knowledge back to my mat has been the most helpful. My asana practice has become harder – so many more alignment points to think about! – but better. My increased knowledge of physiology, combined with my recent health issues, has taught me how to tailor my yoga practice to best support my physical, emotional and mental needs. I’ve made lifestyle changes as yoga has become more prominent in my day to day life, and I’m confident that I’ll be making a few more changes before the next six months are through. Ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), and isvara pranidhana (surrender) have never been truer for me than now.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the next six months unfold, what new teachings are to be found there. I’m also starting to think more about post-graduation – because that’s going to come around before I know it! I’d love to start teaching as soon as is practicable, maybe just one evening a week to start with, plus private classes. I’m not getting too caught up it in. The future will unfold as it should.


Sitting with my Self

Meditation has never really been a big part of my practice. I’ve always liked the concept of it – I even bought myself a meditation cushion a while back – but somehow it just hasn’t seemed to translate into action. Asana has always been my meditation. Dropping back into my body for 60-90 minutes has been the only way I’ve been able to temporarily switch off my mind. It’s what works for me.

Now, however, seems a good time to dust off my meditation cushion. As I wrote in my previous post, after my health went a little haywire, my practice changed. I slowed it down. I replaced many of my usual strong, heating postures with cooling, seated forward bends, gentle hip openers and plenty of Viparita Karani. I had to. I often found myself without enough energy to get through a long series of standing postures. My practice supported me. But I was still looking for more.

In a recent teacher training lecture, we talked about how an overtaxed nervous system can impact on the endocrine and immune systems, leading to all sorts of autoimmune diseases and other stress-related conditions…including skin issues. I already knew my skin flare ups were a stress reaction, but it wasn’t until this lecture that the light bulb finally clicked on. And meditation suddenly became terribly attractive. 

I’m starting gently – 10-15 minutes once a day. Sometimes I forget, or find myself needing to do something more “important” than meditating. I don’t beat myself up over it. I’m aiming to work up to 15 minutes, twice a day. And if it ends up being longer, then awesome!

I end up spending around 10 minutes watching and getting caught up in my thoughts, and only a few minutes in a semi-quiet space, but it’s in those few minutes that something starts to shift. I find it difficult to tell where my body ends and begins. There’s a sense of detachment and, at the same time, a connection that wasn’t there before. It feels like I’m sitting with my Self. A peaceful homecoming.