The Emotional Journey that is Yoga Teacher Training

As I started my initial post draft, I had one weekend left of 200 hour teacher training. One.

Where did the time go?

Twelve scheduled weekends out of the course of one year – 52 weeks – may not seem like much, but it is so much more than that. From a timing perspective, there are components of individual study and reading, personal practice and reflection. Then there is the emotional journey that also pulls energy, in a good way!

When I think back on what I expected out of teacher training, or what I think I remember expecting, it was…personally emotional. I expected to deepen my practice, learn new poses or ways to try poses I hadn’t yet felt comfortable with trying, and that I would learn more about myself as we dived into some of the philosophies associated with yoga, only barely touching the surface. I also thought I might make some friends after spending so much time with this group of people. All of that came to pass, but it came to pass with a lot of work.

To be frank, teacher training is not easy, nor should it be. The body is complex and there is so much to know, so much to learn. I certainly didn’t expect it to be easy, but it was different when the realization hit of just how much there was going to be to learn those initial weekends of each level as I sat in the studio and began learning about anatomy, transitioning between poses, and sequencing! Most likely, if you’ve practiced yoga for some time, you have been to those classes that just seem effortless. The poses all flow into one another, like a dance, and yes, the class can be a lot of work but taking the class offered no insight into the work that goes into sequencing the class. I’ve had so much respect for my teachers for a number of reasons, and that just amplified once I started trying to sequence my own class for the first time.

Teacher training is so much more than learning to teach yoga. If you go through a course like I did, over the span of a year (and maybe with meet-ups/study groups over the breaks), it’s finding a little sub-community. The group undergoes its own transformation as we support each other. I have expressed my own nerves and fears to my class, remembering how daunting teaching even one sun salutation first seemed! And now I have seen each of my fellow trainees teach a full hour’s beautiful class with grace and confidence. And I have had so many tears of pride at class end’s namaste of each one.

For my own class, it has meant so much to me to see their smiling faces in my class when I started to fall back to nerves and had to take a breath. There they were.

We’ve completed training, and it is hard to admit that we’re done. One thing that was definitely clear, is that I will not stop learning. There were be new guidelines, new poses, new and creative sequences and deeper interpretations of the sutras and philosophy. When we first came back in the fall for summer break, it seemed the beginning of November was still months away. And while it was months away then, the time went by too fast. And there may have been quite a few tears that last weekend. I expected there would be, but I didn’t quite expect when they would happen (for example, when we all sat together to start the day as we did each time before…that last day’s start was tough!).

Thank you to The Mat and Samyama for the training, and to my amazing group of trainnees for, I’ll say, just getting started on this journey: Mudra, Durga, Lola, Bob, KK, KJ and S (and mini-S!). It was a fantastic year and I can’t wait to take more of your classes!

This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat yoga studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own.

Patricia

Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She’s a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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