Hi. I’m Rori, one of Yoga Rhythm’s most recent yoga teacher training students on the 4 x 4 day 200 hour course in Byron Bay. As I’m lucky enough to have just started on this incredible journey, I thought it would be nice to share my experience on the blog to give those of you considering doing the same thing some insight into what’s involved and what to expect.
My path here
Before I get started, as ‘experience’ is a totally personal concept, to give you some context I thought I’d start by explaining a bit about me and what got me here.
After years of contemplation, and with an ever growing sense of curiosity into the world of yoga within which the physical asanas (the only part of yoga I have really experienced up until now) belong, I finally decided to take the first step and embark on my first yoga teacher training course with Yoga Rhythms in Byron Bay.
Although taking my practice to the next level and learning more about yoga has been a long standing intention, I guess I had been waiting for the ‘right time’. If I’m honest, for years I have been using yoga to balance my other exercise and sporting activities – to stretch and rehabilitate my body from intense physical activity like surfing, running etc. Although I’ve been aware of the broader sphere of yoga and I’ve known how integral meditation is to the overall practice of yoga for a while, until very recently I didn’t allow myself time to let anything beyond the asanas into my life. I don’t really know why, I guess maybe I was apprehensive to slow down and look inwards for a change.
Anyway, after a turbulent year I was searching for something to renew my sense of purpose – my ‘raison d’être’ – and my mind kept being drawn back to yoga. After an unseemingly fortuitous turn of events, my stars aligned and I found myself in a position to be able to start my yoga teacher training with Yoga Rhythms. Although I was nervous about finally taking the first step, I felt like I was finally ready to be open, to embrace my vulnerabilities and to start the journey of a lifetime.
So, that’s me. However, having talked to my fellow students, aside from the obvious reason to become a practicing yoga teacher, there are a multitude of reasons people start their yoga teacher training course:
+ To deepen practice
+ Understand more about the history & philosophy of yoga
+ Connect with oneself and a our higher power
+ For physical, mental or emotional therapy
+ Or just to do something for yourself – simple as that.
Forget about being ‘good enough’ at yoga to start teacher training
One of the things I love most about Yoga Rhythms is how they embrace people from all walks of life. It’s totally inclusive and the focus is on Yoga Rhythms being accessible to all. From speaking to the other students, I know a lot of people (including myself) felt anxious that their yoga practice wasn’t as advanced as it needed to be. Well, I can confirm that it doesn’t matter what level your practice is at when you start, the only expectations are passion and commitment. Although daily practice is important, you don’t need to be able to hang out in crow on day 1!
What do you learn?
Although I knew the broad brush strokes of what the course involved from checking online, I must say I didn’t really comprehend the diversity of course content before I started. The curriculum is focused around two main areas 1) Philosophy & Physiology and 2) Anatomy & Asanas and collectively they include:
+ The history of yoga
+ The roots of different types of yoga
+ Sanskrit – the language of yoga
+ Concepts around the spiritual path of yoga – how to live and embody yoga
+ Meditation & breathing – different types & techniques
+ Ayurveda – the sister science of yoga
+ Asanas – the methodology and alignment of postures
+ The practicalities of teaching – cuing, language, safety, and planning classes
I’m only 4 days in and despite having covered a vast amount of content so far, I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface. Although I was eager to learn more about the philosophy and understand the broader discipline of yoga, in my mind I was expecting the bulk of the content to be on the physical practice of yoga. How wrong I was! Although the two sides are inextricably interwoven, there is a lot more focus on the philosophy that I originally expected. This totally makes sense to me now, and it provides the foundations for everything else.
What can you do to prepare?
+ Pre-reading: on the note of course content, although not a prerequisite, some pre-reading of the recommended reading list might be a good idea. It depends how you like to learn, but if you’re like me and you like to be able to get your head around stuff quickly, having a basic familiarity with some of the key concepts and language used will help you digest all of the new information more easily
+ Practice asanas regularly: again, although there is no expectation in terms of your level of practice when you start, but practicing asanas will help prepare you for the physical demands of a high volume of physical practice across the course days
+ Try different types of yoga: as this course paves the way to a plethora of teaching opportunities, trying out different types of yoga to get a flavour for what’s out there could be helpful. Your ultimate teaching style or type isn’t something you need to know at the start, but it maybe useful to keep in mind throughout the course
+ Pay attention to teaching styles & cuing: learning to cue poses and use appropriate language can be quite a challenge so paying attention to how other teachers do it and picking up phrases and styles that work for you will useful to keep in our back pocket
+ Don’t overcommit yourself: I’m doing this in my hometown and I guess it will be different for other people who are staying away from home, but be aware that the course is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding (all in a good way), so make sure you save time for rest, recuperation and homework across the course days so you get most out of it. In fact, for my next 4 day block I’m not going to make any plans so I have all of the morning and evenings at my disposal
+ Be prepared for radical self-inquiry & spiritual evolution: I left this one until last for a reason. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, nothing can really prepare you for the emotional journey you will encounter as you examine yourself, your life and your experience of the world. In our class, tears flowed from even the most stoical students. It’s nothing to be scared of, but it’s important to approach this with an open heart to get most out of it.
If there’s one thing I can say to sum up the experience so far, I’d say that yoga is so much more than the poses that proceed its reputation. It’s a way of life, a union of mind body and spirit, and a way to find personal harmony, one class at a time.
So, that bring me to the end of my first post. I found it hard to keep this post short (I appreciate that it’s still quite long!) because there’s so much to say, but I hope it has provided some insight into what’s involved and what to expect. Please comment below if you have any questions.
More from me soon as I continue my journey.