It’s hard for me to believe that I am half way through the yoga teacher training program – since we started in January and it goes through November, we are actually a little more than half now…
The certification program I am in requires at elast 200 hours to become a certified yoga teacher. We start our program on Friday nights – usually the Friday night practice is a bit low-key since it is the end of the week and later in the evening. This week, we did a sort of round-robin asana practice, each one of us teaching our peers a pose, and then passing it off to the next student. It was fun and challenging. We finished that up and moved into our regular Friday night fare of philosophy and discussion. We are making our way through the Bhagavad Gita* as part of the training, and there are always interesting insights and interpretations to gather.
Saturdays are usually “asana intensives” and many of the weekends have themes. Last month, we did a whole series of backbending postures – performing them ourselves, and then practicing the languaging in order to teach them. We often turn to our neighbors and practice teaching with them. It is a rich experience. This month’s theme was twists and forward bends. We did a number of amazing twists; twists are like a deep massage for the internal organs, they detoxify the body in many ways, and also give your spine and abs a nice workout. Plus, they just feel really nice
Going along with the theme of twists and detoxifying the body, we also studied some Ayurveda this weekend. Ayurveda is the ancient Indian science of health. There are three primary doshas – or elements – that people fall in to, and once you learn what dosha you are, you can do certain things to bring yourself more in to balance, i.e. exercise, diet, etc. It is quite fascinating and really opens up a whole new research interest for me. (If you are interested, you can find out more about your Ayurvedic dosha with this free online test).
Sunday’s class often starts with a meditation circle and some more philosophy discussion- yamas and niyamas, which I will most likely write about again soon – and then moves in to more asana practice. Sunday focused more on forward bending postures – the primary benefits of these postures may be obvious – they stretch and lengthen your back body, from your spine down to your heels. They also quiet the mind and the central nervous system. We ended the day with a little bit of partner yoga – Cindy and I are demonstrating the “double dog” pose – I am in a full downward facing dog, while she is balanced in a half-handstand on my hips. Many thanks to Hannah for snapping the photo!
In two weekends, I will be doing another intensive workshop at another local yoga studio (in Silver Spring for the locals). It is not part of my teacher training, per se, but the hours that I go can be counted towards another certification, if I decide to go that route. In July, I will begin working with a wonderful teacher (who also happens to be a first-rate knitter!) and apprenticing in two of her classes. She teaches a Therapeutics classes – ideal for people coming back after surgery or illness, or who experience chronic pain issues. I have observed the class a handful of times, and I greatly look forward to working with this group of students and learning more about their unique needs. It is a great opportunity for education and for enriching my own practice.
I look back at all that I have learned in the past few months – and I can’t help but think about all of the wonderful things I will learn in the future!
*We are doing a readalong of the Gita in the Namaste Knitters Group on Ravelry, if you are interested in joining us! we just started so there is plenty of time to catch up!