It’s August. Which means at the end of this month this year, like so many others, I’m going back to school. After a fashion. I’ll go back to my 200-hour teacher training studio, though with a summer full of classes and study groups, it’s not like I ever left.
My interest in teacher training wasn’t so much because I want to teach, but because I want to deepen my own practice beyond weekly classes and the occasional workshops. But it was something I once thought I would do later, maybe a few years from now. And even as the end of last year neared, I attended one of The Mat’s teacher training open houses thinking that “this is great, I’ll see what training’s all about and keep that in mind for later.”
Only I didn’t. I signed up.
My interest in teacher training has been for myself and for the long-term. I want to be one of those people practicing – in some way – over the next several years and into decades, to keep my body moving as I get older and able to enjoy the things I love: travel, walking, hiking and yes, yoga. I wanted to build a strong foundation to learn about poses that may not often be done in class so that should they do come up, I might be able to safely practice them. Or also learn that they weren’t for me. To do all of this and more, I wanted to understand the mechanics of yoga and alignment, and what works with my body. How to modify on a tight day.
And me, being the lifelong student that I am, I wanted to dive deeper into the history and the philosophy. I’ve been rewarded with so much! Not to mention the mythology lover in me has really enjoyed learning about the stories behind some of the poses (look up the story about Matsyendrasana, Lord of the Fishes pose). If you see me smiling in Ardha Matsyendrasana, it’s because I like the twist, but also because I’m thinking of the story.
Teacher training is more than learning how to teach asanas, the poses. I’ve learned history, I’ve learned philosophy, breath work, anatomy, alignment. I’ve learned that there is still so much to learn, and that there always will be. I have also seen my own practice become stronger, and have done poses that I didn’t think I could do at this point – helped on by the strengthening from the last several months and years and the encouragement of my fellow trainees.
Speaking of trainees, that is one more incredibly wonderful benefit of teacher training: the group that you study with. I am going through this journey with a fantastic group of people who have offered so much support to each other in our training, our practice and our lives. While we have a good time together, make no mistake that it’s hard work! But we push each other on and have made time over our “summer break” to meet and study together.
As I enter into these remaining months, I may not know what the future will hold in terms of teaching, but I do know that I am so happy I made the decision to go to that open house.