Wow. Word of the week? “Intense”. Or maybe even “Growth”.
Sentence of the week? “Outside our comfort zones”.
This week we have started teaching yoga classes and it’s been a week filled with nerves and little sleep for many of the yoga teacher trainees. When arriving at the Krishna Village, during our very first class, our teachers told us that this course “is going to chew you up and spit you right out”. While laughing at this comment three weeks ago, the attitude towards the yoga teacher training has changed; though not in a bad way. There is now a sudden urgency and seriousness in the group - everyone has stepped it up a notch.
Diving in at the deep end
Whether you are going to the bathroom or simply walking to the kitchen to make yourself a cuppa, you’ll find eager YTTs practicing everywhere, doing surya namaskar in the gardens, practicing salamba sarvangasana in the yoga hall and even chanting the guru invocation while having a shower. I can’t stop smiling when seeing my fellow students so immersed in their studies. It makes me so proud to think about how far we have come and how much we have all learned in a very short amount of time. This is the beauty of doing an intensive yoga teacher training course living on site - it allows us to be fully focused on our studies and live the yogi lifestyle to the fullest.
Professional & Personal Parallels
On a personal level, there have been other aspects of this yoga teacher journey that have amazed me as well. I have been astounded about the amount of parallels I can draw between these studies and my other career. With a background in start-ups, entrepreneurship and marketing management, I have a passion for creating a fulfilled life (including at the workplace) and am constantly looking for ways to improve my leadership skills and knowledge. In my YTT course I am doing the same, developing my communication skills, my presentation skills and my leadership skills. As yoga teachers, we are practicing those skills on a daily basis, something I didn’t consider when first arriving at the Village. Holding the attention in a room full of people requires both leadership and presentation skills. We have to be mindful of our body language, our intonation and our voice projection. Guiding students safely through asanas, we are using our communication and presentation skills, aiming to be short and concise in our description. We should use just enough words to guide students safely through their asanas but without using any filler words or “waffling” as my university professor used to call it.
In case you are reading this and thinking to yourself: “Holy cow! How can I do that course now? I hate talking in front of a group of people!”, please rest assured that it is not as scary as it sounds. Most of us do get sweaty palms and a racing heart just before a class starts, but that’s part of the journey; we are all in the same boat here. It’s natural to feel this way and it means your body is alert and prepared. Of course you are going to say a word wrong here or there, maybe even forget part of your sequence. I have already sung part of the guru innovation wrong in front of my class and forgot the last chair pose in Surya Namaskar B. Did I die? No. I kept going, smiling at my own little mistakes and moved forward, keeping a steady breath, a straight spine and shining love and compassion towards my students. Because that’s the job of a yoga teacher: to be a grounded, humble and calm counterpart to the busy lives of our students. Students that often seek perfection at the cost of their own well-being. Our job is to give them room and support to make mistakes, to listen to their bodies and to breathe. By showing that you allow yourself to make mistakes, you indirectly allow your students to do the same.
Having this in mind I relaxed a little more before my class this morning, knowing that I am exactly where I should be at this very moment.