The seven-day advanced yoga teacher training course had consisted of a gradual layering. On the first day, we stripped away a lot of the intricacy of being a yoga teacher, and focused on self-awareness and relaxation. As the week progressed, we added more and more layers to build us back up into full-fledged yoga teachers. The last day was a chance to get a bit more practice and feedback on our teaching, reflect on our strengths, and foster compassion for our weaknesses.
We spent about half the course focusing on personal development, which may seem like overkill, but I learned a long time ago that you can’t give from empty pockets. Dina quoted Sharon Salzberg, saying “the point of practice is to develop a mind so open that it can experience great pleasure and great pain with spaciousness, with compassion, with awareness, with energy.” That’s a pretty tall order, and a yoga teacher has to be a rock in order to hold a safe space that supports this development.
On the last day, we discussed a focus on present moment awareness can actually help you set goals for the future (these things have always seemed to be a bit at odds for me). If you begin with awareness of the present moment and compassionate acceptance of what is, you gain self-awareness and begin to see reality more clearly. Instead of getting caught up dwelling on the past, obsessing about the future, labelling, judging, etc., your energy goes towards illuminating your path.
Dina concluded by giving us a guideline for personal development. She pointed out that, as yoga teachers, we are at our best when we are teaching yoga. Once we leave the studio, we are not always so mindful and put-together. She suggested we strive to be the person we are as a yoga teacher in the rest of life as well. One of my classmates summed it up by spoofing a popular bumper sticker, “Lord, help me to be the person my yoga students think I am.”
This post is part of a series describing my experience with the first module of my advanced yoga teacher training (RYT500).
Advanced Yoga Teacher Training
Day 1: Resistance
Day 2: Acceptance
Day 3: Breath
Day 4: Emotions
Day 5: Energy
Day 6: Asana
Day 7: Transformation